It has been a few weeks now and I am starting to get more and more comfortable around the city. At first, it was all one big rush coming to a new city and meeting so many new people. It was hard to transition for the first week, but everything eventually calmed down. I can get around the city without a map for most locations, unless it is somewhere completely new. I have also gotten more comfortable with the people I am living and working with. It has been amazing meeting all my classmates, program members, and roommates. We have all meshed as though we have been best friends for years. My friends and roommates have made the transition 10x easier over the last week or so. The same goes for my co-workers at my internship. The team I am apart of is very friendly and helpful. Everyone always has a smile on their face, which goes a long way when working long days.
As for the school itself, I am greatly enjoying the classes and workspace. The professors are also very helpful and thoughtful, just as they are back home at Pitt. You can tell they are genuinely excited to teach us and learn more about our culture and differences. The one class I am apart of is an Urban Studies class, which was been wonderful. The professor included many hands on activities and field trips for us, creating more ways to explore the city. Because of this class, I have learned about areas of Sydney that I would never have imagined going to otherwise. We get to learn more about the culture and background this way, making the class very enjoyable. The university program here feels very similar to Pitt. The professors are hands on and help when needed, while still allowing the students to take initiative and learn on their own.
For one of our projects, we interviewed some locals in a nearby neighborhood. This was an eye-opening experience as well, as we got to hear first hand from a local who grew up in Sydney. The culture has its similarities and differences compared to Pittsburgh. While there are many different neighborhoods, each one has its own identity. In a matter of minutes you can be in a loud, bustling are such as Darling Harbour, and take a train to a quieter, reserved part of town such as Surry Hills. This feels like Pittsburgh, taking a PAT bus from the South Side to Squirrel Hill. These kinds of connections have made it easier to relate to the city areas and the people living in them. It feels as though no matter where you go, there is always a connection somewhere or somehow.