Internship: I spent my seven weeks interning in the merchandise planning department at The Iconic, an online fashion startup founded by an SMG alum. My tasks ranged from forecasting and budgeting different products based on past sales and creating spreadsheets on Excel to track competitor prices and match our prices to theirs. I spent one week in the finance department dealing with invoices and another in the marketing department sitting in on meetings. One day we took a field trip to the company’s warehouse to see the operations side of things and helped pack and ship out orders. This internship definitely helped me prepare for future courses and especially will prepare me for Core next year.
I Learned: I learned that while the world does not revolve around the U.S., American policy decisions have such large repercussions that Australian media covers U.S. issues.
I also learned that there is life beyond digital media by seeing that Australians do not rely on WiFi and the internet as much. I got used to not checking Facebook and Twitter as frequently and even opted, after returning to America, to delete my Twitter account and rarely go on social media anymore.
What Surprised Me: What surprised me was how in tune Australians are to U.S. affairs, even more so than I was. It made me feel really self-centered as a U.S. citizen, and often I ended up not telling people I was American upon meeting them although they say they could tell with my accent!
Hardest Part: I had a difficult roommate experience, and it escalated to the point where I had to move out. There were times when I felt the program was very cliquey and times when I couldn’t connect with people in the program like I could with my friends back at home. I learned, however, to accept that the other people on my program were probably going through the same thing and admitted that it took more than four months for me to be open with my best friends at home. What I learned from this is that if you’re feeling alone, it’s alright. It’s a common feeling when you’re thousands of miles and numerous time zones away from your friends and family.
Best Part: The best part was the freedom to travel wherever I wanted. I would take weekend trips all around Aussie because our class and work schedule allowed it. To say that I went skydiving, bungee jumping, white water rafting in New Zealand, fed kangaroos, cuddled a koala, saw a wild platypus, scuba dived in the Great Barrier Reef, visited the Olympic Stadiums in both Sydney and Melbourne, went zip-lining in the Daintree Rainforest and climbed Mt. Wellington in Tasmania is probably the best part of my experience. Being in Australia made me feel alive.
My Tips: Save money because Sydney is expensive, and you’re going to end up broke. Be your best self and be social within the first few days no matter how jet-lagged you feel. Try to get acclimated and talk to the locals at your internship or when you go out! You’re going to be spending all your classes with people in the program, so the only time you’ll meet locals is when you’re out or working in the Aussie workforce!
Brooklyn Hide and Gelato Messina in Surry Hills have the best food. There aren’t any bagels in Aussie, and Brooklyn Hide is the best substitute for a New York bagel. Paddy’s Market is open Wednesday-Sunday, and it’s basically a flea market and produce market. Get all your produce there to save money. Your Opal Card (like a Charlie Card) will tap out after spending 15 bucks on weekdays, but on Sundays it’s 2.50. Consequently, you should go to all the beaches and far away places on Sundays to save money.
Here’s a link to my blog that I wrote chronicling my time abroad. It goes more in depth about everything I mentioned: www.jesswong94.wordpress.com