It’s crazy to think that the GBI Sydney program is over, and six weeks have flown by that quickly. I have done two prior study abroad programs at Pitt and this one was by far my favorite. When reflecting upon my six weeks, I would say that I learned a lot, not only from my coursework but also from my internship and my daily experiences. I learned about another global city and what constitutes a global city. I kind of feel like I know Sydney decently well when it comes to the history of the city, development, immigration, and the connection with the Aboriginal people of Australia. I also learned a great deal through my internship including just the way a corporate setting functions and what it’s like to work in an office from 9-5. There were also the day-to-day tasks that taught me a lot of abbreviations, basic accounting skills, and the process of reconciliation which is something I’ve never tapped into before. One thing that surprised me was the large amount of diversity I encountered in the workplace, a majority of the people that I met at my internship were from all different countries, including a fellow American all the way down under.
When it comes to personal growth through this program, this short experience has allowed me to further my development. Professionally, I learned how to function as an employee of a company, ranging from completing audits to proper email etiquette in the workplace. I worked on properly engaging with different individuals depending on their status in the company and how they related to me. Academically, I worked with a more rigid grading system which was an adjustment for sure but made me ensure that my work was of higher quality if I wanted to do well. I also shifted to understand a different type of learning that was more reflective upon experiences. A lot of my work in my courses based on analyzing real life experiences mixed in with research to understand a greater perspective. Personally, I really had to master my time management, there were so many things that I needed to do that I had to balance with things that I wanted to do and determining that balance definitely taught me how to manage your priorities correctly.
Lastly, there are a few things I want to take from this trip and bring back to Pitt. I discovered a new found appreciation for being surrounded by a diverse group of people, not just from different backgrounds but also from different walks of life. I loved meeting people that were so very different from me and people from other countries that exposed me to different perspectives. It made me feel like I was learning so much more when surrounded by diversity and this is something I hope to continue to seek in my future endeavors. Another main takeaway was to push myself to do things I am not necessarily comfortable with because those may end up being some of the best experiences of my life. I was hesitant to pursue scuba certification because of the required swim test but the result was so rewarding. Scuba diving was probably my favorite thing I did on this trip and a hobby I also hope to continue in the future.
With that said, I am eternally grateful for this amazing experience and Australia was an adventure that I will never stop talking about. Aside from getting to hold hands with kangaroos, I genuinely learned so much about global cities, finance and accounting, and water activities like surfing and scuba diving. I also created bonds with people that I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for this program, which I am so thankful to have. My advice for anyone who is considering the GBI Sydney program is go for it because I had the time of my life. You without a doubt will not regret going down under.