My Study Abroad Experience: Karla Carruitero

Where and when did you study abroad/off-campus?  

I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia Spring 2018.

What did you do for your internship and what kinds of projects were you assigned (if you had one)?

I was a marketing intern for Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific. If you’re familiar with Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, or even TLC, then you know what “product” I was working with! As a marketing intern, I was rotated amongst different departments – communications, digital, creative services, media planning, and programming. While I had several different tasks depending on what team I was on, a few examples of things I did were:

  • I created a press release for Mama June Season 2 premiere
  • I inputted show ratings for several channels
  • I pitched a commercial that would integrate Mazda and Discovery’s sports channel – Eurosport

What are two things you learned from your time abroad/off-campus that you may not have learned otherwise?

  1. I learned how to be more adventurous! Being abroad means taking advantage of the little time you have in that new city. Rather than always saying no, I had to have an open mind to trying new experiences.
  2. Time management! The idea of travelling within Australia was always a must-do for me. I had to be able to balance classes with my weekend outings. All of my classes released project and essay deadlines on the first day of class, so planning ahead was crucial.

What surprised you most about your time abroad/off-campus?

I was most surprised as to how I could be so far away from home, but not feel that distant at all. The staff is awesome and the friends you meet end up making in Sydney feel like home. You also get to know the city incredibly well, especially when you start your internship and you have to commute there every day.

What was the hardest part of your experience?

The hardest part of my experience was budgeting. It’s easy to want to do everything, mostly because it feels like everyone else is doing so much, but staying level-headed about expenses is most important. My advice to everyone is to save up big-time before the semester begins!

What was the best part of your experience?

Being able to travel was the best part. I was able to go to different cities within Australia, but also Thailand and Indonesia. Seeing new cultures and meeting new people was wonderful. I have many pictures and videos that I know I will cherish forever.

What are your best tips for those planning to study where you did?

Do all the coastal walks! They’re beautiful and a great time. You typically start off the semester with a cohort Bondi to Coogee walk, but make sure to do one at the Royal National Park and the Spit to Manly coastal walk. The views are incredible; it really makes you feel like there’s no place more beautiful than Australia.

Are there any hidden gems that your classmates should check out?

Get good food in Newtown! I’m Peruvian, so I looked for some Hispanic food and found great arepas at La Reina Queen of Venezuela Arepas in Newtown. Also, swim in the Olympic pool and then walk a few minutes to get to the Sydney Harbor Bridge – you’ll get amazing skyline views. But probably one of the coolest experiences I had was in Tasmania. It’s a 2-hour flight and worth your time if you like outdoorsy stuff — such a magical place.

My Study Abroad Experience: Steven LaDine

Where and when did you study abroad/off-campus? 

Sydney, Australia. Fall 2017.

What did you do for your internship and what kinds of projects were you assigned (if you had one)?

I worked at the Rivendell School/Hospital unit that is geared toward helping students who have psychological disorders.

What are two things you learned from your time abroad/off-campus that you may not have learned otherwise?

My semester abroad helped me learn how to better structure my time on my own initiative. It is no secret that academic demands are not as intense (usually) while abroad. However, I learned to fill my daily and weekly schedules with my own interests and hobbies. Because I was so used to the BU campus environment—where I’m constantly being told where to be and what to do—I was not accustomed to having so much freedom to learn and explore independently.

What surprised you most about your time abroad/off-campus?

I was surprised by how easy it was to stay busy. Because everyone in the program lives in the same building and working on similar academic/work schedules, it is very easy to coordinate activities. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to find people interested in a pickup game of soccer, cooking, going to a restaurant, or to the beach.

What was the hardest part of your experience?

The hardest part of my experience was just the first few days of getting oriented to a new place. Luckily, the BU Sydney program has a phenomenal staff that will make learning about your new home very easy and streamlined. There is nothing to be concerned about.

What was the best part of your experience?

The best part of my experience was developing relationships and routines with my local community, outside of the BU Sydney Academic Program. For instance, my roommate and I took boxing lessons at our local gym twice/week, meeting and befriending some of the trainers at the gym. I also attended a weekly 5K run put on by a nearby sporting goods store. My roommates and I also began our own running club with other people from the program, which was a great way to discover and explore the city. Lastly, my friends and I frequently visited nearby parks, where we play SpikeBall or Frisbee with locals.

Getting to know the people who lived in Sydney, and taking part in local, community-oriented activities allowed me to fully appreciate my experience abroad.

What are your best tips for those planning to study where you did?

The weekends go by fast, especially once the internship period begins. To get the most out of your time in Sydney, plan something to do or somewhere to go every weekend. Don’t waste away beautiful Sydney weather being hungover in your apartment watching Netflix. Get out and do something, even if its just a local farmers’ market or a nearby beach.

Are there any hidden gems that your classmates should check out?

Greyhound racing at Wentworth Park—Free admission.

For the athletically inclined: Royal National Park coastal walk. The 30 kilometer trail from Bundeena to Otford makes a great, full day of hiking.

My Study Abroad Experience: Ashley Jenq

Where and when did you study abroad/off-campus?

Sydney, NSW, Australia; Spring 2017

What did you do for your internship and what kinds of projects were you assigned (if you had one)?

For my internship, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to intern at Australia’s first and oldest bank, Westpac. At Westpac, I was a project management intern, so I spent a lot of time analyzing risks imposed by the project and determining the controls that would be implemented to mitigate them. In addition to the project with my immediate team, I was also given company culture responsibilities regarding “diversity and inclusion.” One of these responsibilities included drafting an anonymous survey, in which Westpac employees could answer truthfully about their feelings of being valued and included.

What are two things you learned from your time abroad/off-campus that you may not have learned otherwise?

As an accounting student, I was really surprised when I was selected to be an intern at a major Australian bank. I had little finance work experience, so I was nervous and hesitant to start my internship. Despite my nervousness, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed project management. In fact, I’m starting to consider post-graduation careers in project management (in addition to accounting ones, of course).

Another thing that I learned from my time abroad is that the work culture in each country differs. Although the companies perform the same tasks, the work environment is very different. For example, in the Australian work culture, work-life balance and personal wellness are more heavily integrated into the daily lives of its employees, whereas companies in the U.S. still struggle to find that balance.

What surprised you most about your time abroad/off-campus?

Throughout my time in Sydney, Australia, I have been consistently surprised at how incredible the Australian hospitality was. In fact, during my time abroad when I was homesick, my coworkers welcomed me into their families with open arms. One great memory that I had was with my boss, Jennifer. Because she knew that I was having a difficult time being so far from my family, she invited me on one of her family excursions with her husband and two sons. In addition, another coworker, Stirling, invited me to play on his local community football (soccer) team, so I could meet his friends and other locals. Overall, Sydney was a beautiful city, but it truly was the people who made my abroad experience so wholesome and unforgettable.

What was the hardest part of your experience?

Originally, I applied for a study abroad program because I wanted to travel and experience living in a foreign country. However, when you are physically 10,099 miles away from your home and loved ones, your exciting adventure gets overshadowed by feelings of nervousness, culture shock, and, sometimes, homesickness.

What was the best part of your experience?

During my internship at Westpac, I was given an internal project where I would create a new category for the company-wide Risk Awards. From this project, I was able to pioneer a new category called the “Risk Inclusion & Diversity Champion of the Year” award, which will honor an employee who has significantly and consistently increased inclusion and diversity within the workplace. As a result of my work, an individual will be recognized for his or her excellence for years to come. It’s awesome that even though I’m no longer at Westpac, I was able to leave a legacy behind.

What are your best tips for those planning to study where you did?

Extend your abroad experience so that you can visit other countries in the Pacific Rim! (Some popular destinations include Bangkok, Thailand; Bali, Indonesia; Auckland, New Zealand; Singapore, Singapore; etc.)

Although Sydney (and the rest of NSW) is beautiful, definitely make time to visit other cities in Australia. In fact, Melbourne, which is located in the state of Victoria, is one of my favorite cities in the world. Melbourne is quirky, eccentric, and soulful, so for young individuals, like myself, it’s an awesome place to check out restaurants, bars, and art galleries.

Befriend the locals! I promise you they will show you the most beautiful hidden gems in Sydney and NSW.

Hugging a koala is illegal in NSW, so when you travel to other states, try and incorporate that into your itinerary.

Are there any hidden gems that your classmates should check out?

ShirtBar in Central Business District (CBD) is a coffee shop located inside of a men’s dress shirt boutique. Think about how awesome it would be to have cappuccino in the suit department of Bloomingdale’s.

The Grounds of Alexandria is a beautiful, outdoor marketplace that offers all types of delicious (and beautiful) foods. The Grounds is decorated with an abundance of flowers, vintage farming tools, and antique fountains.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship is a hidden oriental garden tucked away in one of the busiest areas of Sydney. Within the garden, you’ll find a quaint Chinese tea house where you can enjoy hot tea and authentic dim sum. This is one of my favorite places in Sydney because it reminded me of my favorite Disney movie, Mulan.

Looking for a place to cliff jump? The Manly Beach jump rock is a popular cliff jumping location for locals. It offers two cliffs, one for the more squeamish, and another for the daredevils.

My Study Abroad Experience: Spencer Bolling

Where and when did you study abroad/off-campus?

I studied abroad in Sydney Australia during the spring semester of 2017.

What did you do for your internship and what kinds o  f projects were you assigned (if you had one)?

I had the opportunity to intern at PwC as a Financial Advisory Intern. I had a very unique experience because my manager had more of a transitional position so I had the flexibility to work on a wide array of projects over many business sectors. Aside from familiarizing myself with their internal systems and working with more managerial data sets, I was able to help roll out a new enterprise solution system to all of the Australia office locations, publish articles on key business trends on PwC’s international app, PwC 365, and develop the curriculum for a program that is designed to assist young professionals in learning business and communication skills.

What are two things you learned from your time abroad/off-campus that you may not have learned otherwise?

To explore every day. Everyone has a natural tendency to establish a routine. No one enjoys the feeling of instability at first –It’s a foreign concept that we tend to repel if we can. Although I promised myself to try to be more independent while abroad, it is much easier said than done. I found myself gravitating towards people, places and things that I already knew, especially when I first arrived. The most important thing I learned was to always set yourself up to take new risks. Even if it’s as small as taking a detour home, going to a different coffee shop in the morning, or networking after work with coworkers you don’t know well, it will always be worth it. Even if you find nothing of interest on that detour, you don’t enjoy the coffee that morning, or feel out of place with your colleagues, the ability to open yourself to opportunity will always serve you well in life.

How important it is to immerse yourself in culture. Whatever city and country you find yourself in, take the time to learn about the foundation of each place. Visit the best historical museums, talk to natives, try the food, and stay informed –understanding the socioeconomic climate will allow you to be more engaged and insightful. I believe that you learn the most about a city by learning from its people, so take the time to make conversation with your staff, employers, or anyone you may meet along the way!

What surprised you most about your time abroad/off-campus?

How much you will learn about yourself. I understand how cliché this sounds but trust me when I say that you become almost overly self-aware. Your strengths and weaknesses will all unfold over the course of your semester abroad especially if you decide to challenge yourself enough. Though this was intimidating at times, it is invaluable because it allowed me to understand what I value both personally and professionally.

What was the hardest part of your experience?

I would say that it was being so far from home. The time change can make it difficult to talk to family and friends some of the time so I would suggest scheduling in daily/weekly times that are best. It’s funny because although the time change was the hardest part of my experience, half the time it was more frustrating for my parents because I was constantly travelling and exploring and struggled to find time to call them. There will be moments that you miss home, but knowing that your time abroad is so limited makes you cherish the time that you’re there.

What was the best part of your experience?

Having the opportunity to travel. Australia is absolutely enormous so you won’t have time to go everywhere on the continent, but the places you are able to go will be unforgettable. I was able to go to so many places in Australia, and in and around Sydney, but the highlight of my trip was definitely going to the south island of New Zealand. There were three of us who decided to backpack around the island for about a week and it was the best getaway I could’ve imagined. New Zealand is one of the places that you may never get to go to again if you don’t do it while you’re in Australia so I highly suggest it, especially if you love to hike!

What are your best tips for those planning to study where you did?

Be very open minded and stay flexible. Though studying abroad in Sydney was unbelievable, it is important to maintain realistic expectations for your semester. There are classes, mandatory events, and you are required to go to your internship every day when you start working. If you want to make the most of your experience, commit yourself to doing the best work that you can. Learn from your classes, ask your professors important questions, reach out to your advisor, and make meaningful relationships with your co-workers. Even if you don’t find the class particularly interesting or your internship isn’t what you had expected, find ways to enhance your experience instead of deciding it’s not worth your time.

Are there any hidden gems that your classmates should check out?

For this question I’ll do a few hidden gems for food, activities, and travel opportunities. Honestly, the food is beyond belief. You will find incredible food everywhere in the city from acai bowls to the best Thai food you’ll find other than Thailand; but my two suggestions would be to go to the Sydney Fish Market for sushi and to try kangaroo at least once while you’re there. Before you think I’m a psycho for eating the national animal, kangaroos are overpopulated and it’s actually good for biodiversity, so start small and try a kebab.

For activities, I’d highly suggest signing up for Surf Camp, going to a Sydney Swans game, travelling to Palm Beach, frequenting the Glebe markets and consistently checking local news for upcoming festivals and events to attend. Though a lot of people go, Manly was my favorite place to go on the weekends. It’s a great beach town with food, music, and even cliff jumping, but it is the perfect place to relax for a day.

Finally for travel, the biggest hidden gem I discovered was Tasmania. A lot of people dismiss the island because there isn’t much going on, but I think that is part of the allure and charm of it. A small group of us ended up renting cars and booking an Airbnb in debatably the middle of nowhere and ended up having the best time. From hiking, travelling to vineyards, walking along empty beaches, and experiencing the wildlife, it was the perfect place to go for a two day weekend.

Jessica Chen – Sydney Summer Internship

ICONIC_InternsInterned in marketing at THE ICONIC in Sydney in summer 2015.

Internship: I interned in the Buying Department of THE ICONIC, Australia’s leading online fashion retailer. My responsibilities included managing order information between internal inventory systems and Excel, analyzing sales data, and writing sales reports. I also sat in on my manager’s showings, where representatives from different brands would introduce next season’s line. For someone pursuing a career in fashion, this experience opened my eyes to the processes that take place behind the scenes of a retail company. On slower days, I would head to the Productions Department and help out with photo shoots. I loved my workplace because everyone was welcoming, and I was given the opportunity to observe other departments.

I Learned: I learned about the prevailing influence that the United States has abroad. American media is everywhere from magazines to movie screens. Every song you hear a bar or club is played in the States as well, so you will have no problem singing along. Australians have an impressive grasp of our pop culture and politics since everything that happens in America has a ripple effect on other countries. Ironically, working at a foreign company gave me a better understanding of the American workplace and why we are such a dominant economic power. While the Australian workplace has an easygoing “work to live” mentality, the American workplace has a much stricter “live to work” lifestyle that is more efficient but at the expense of employee happiness. Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses.

Studying abroad also challenged me to be a functioning adult in a short amount of time. Between class, work, exploring the city, and travelling across the country, I had to find time for basic tasks like laundry, grocery shopping, and cooking (if you want to try it, kangaroo steak is best prepared medium rare). While balancing all of this may seem overwhelming, it becomes second nature before you know it.

What Surprised Me: Australia has a vastly different culture from America, but after a few weeks of living there it almost felt like home. Experiences may vary, but I found it surprisingly easy to adjust to the Australian lifestyle.

Hardest Part: The hardest part was going home after two months. Packing all the cool things you’ve accumulated after two months. The lack of authentic American food (namely pizza and brand name cereal).

Best Part: The best parts were the people you meet and the places you go. Watching Australians’ eyes light up when you tell them you’re American never gets old.

My Tips: Save money and leave the apartment as much as possible. Every neighborhood in Sydney has a different atmosphere that’s worth discovering at least once. Also, don’t be afraid to explore by yourself! Australians will be impressed by the independence. As long as you practice good judgment, it’s an exhilarating learning experience to wander around a new country on your own—it’s the best way to break out of the American bubble.

Hidden Gems:

Sydney – Manly Beach and the Bondi to Coogee walk for quintessential Australian beaches; Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for the most stunning view of the Sydney Harbor; Mary’s for a good burger Newtown; Paramount Coffee Project for Instagram-worthy brunch; Emperor’s Garden for famous Chinatown cream puffs; World Bar for boozy teapots; Standard Bowl for drinks, dancing, and bowling; Pancakes on the Rocks for 24-hour breakfast food; Paddy’s Market for cheap groceries; the Glebe and Rocks Markets for all of your outdoor shopping needs.

Melbourne –
The graffiti in hidden alleyways (check out Hosier Lane); Brighton Beach bathing boxes; St. Kilda pier for wild penguins!

Supriya, Sydney Internship

Interned in Marketing at Staples Australia, Spring 2015

Internship: I was a marketing intern at Staples Australia and did all kinds of projects. My favorite one was the time I organized an office wide event called “Friday Night Drinks” in which about 300 employees came to our cafeteria, paid $2 to get in, bought raffle tickets to win a laptop, and all proceeds went to an amazing charity that helped indigenous children get through high school/college. I organized all food and drinks, sold over $3000 worth of raffle tickets, marketed the event through both internal and external means, and more.

I Learned: The first thing I learned would be to make the most of your days. If you’re in a country where you may not ever be in again, take advantage of that: explore the museum you’ve been passing by, venture out to that beach that might be kind of far, and don’t waste precious time! The second would be to try to interact with locals as much as you can. If they speak a language besides English and you aren’t that fluent, you should try to learn. If they go to certain restaurants or activities you’re not used to, bring some friends and try it out.

What Surprised Me: Just how fast it ended. I had a giant bucket list of things I wanted to do in Australia, and I couldn’t get to all of them because I didn’t realize how fast the time went by.

Hardest Part: Balancing schoolwork and traveling and expenses all at once.

Best Part: The best part was definitely all the cool cities and countries I traveled to with my friends. It was so enlightening seeing other cultures and participating in activities that are famous to a certain place.

My Tips: If you can, try to go in Spring because Australia’s seasons are switched with the U.S., so you’ll have the best weather. Another is to visit as many beaches as possible- each one is unique and has its own beauty. Lastly, try not to spend too much time in your dorm/apt because there is so much to see.

Hidden Gems: Some places I recommend are Manly Beach, walking along the Sydney Harbour Bridge, taking a visit to the Shangrila Hotel top floor, and doing the Bondi to Coogee Walk.

Raushan, Sydney Internship

Interned in Consulting and Information Systems at Happily Organised, Spring 2015RaushanatTheReef

Internship: I worked at a small firm called Happily Organised, which was founded and is still run by Laurel Grey, a BU alum! It’s a consulting firm that helps small business clients looking to develop an effective web presence, migrate their business to cloud systems, and market their products or services online. While I was there, my projects included developing websites for clients, providing support to existing clients, and managing the CRM system.

I Learned:

  1. Don’t be afraid to try something new. It can only make you more of a well-rounded and experienced individual.
  1. Traveling is one of the best mediums of education.

What Surprised Me: How much I loved Australia. Up until a few weeks before my application was due, I was sure I would be going to Europe for the “classic” European study abroad experience. For a few reasons, I ended up applying to Sydney and was never really sure how much I would like it. Now, I tell everyone that, out of the 13 countries I’ve visited, Australia is undoubtedly my favorite.

Hardest Part: The hardest part of my experience was adjusting to being in a completely new country where I had to form new relationships. I got into such a routine in Boston with my friends and my activities that when I went to Sydney it felt like I was starting college all over again. That, coupled with the fact that there was a 16-hour time difference separating me from my family, made it extremely hard for me to adjust and be happy during my first few weeks in Sydney.

Best Part: The best part of my experience was being able to be fully independent. Because of how far I was, I wasn’t able to call my parents with every little problem or question. I had to solve many things on my own and learn to provide for myself. It was sometimes scary, but looking back I can already see how it has helped me mature and learn to embrace unfamiliar situations.

My Tips:

  1. Your semester will fly by – get out of your dorm and make the best of it. Go to new places and meet new people.
  2. Travel as much as you can – you are in a part of the world many from home wish they could be in. Take advantage of it
  3. Immerse yourself in the culture – it can be easy to surround yourself with Americans and essentially be a tourist on an extended stay. Immerse yourself in the Australian culture and meet Australian people. It allows you to see the U.S. culture and customs through new eyes.

Hidden Gems:

The Skywalk at the Sydney Tower Eye – it’s affordable, and you will get unforgettable views of Sydney. Go early, and it will excite you for the semester that lies ahead.

Haymarket Hotel – one of the most relaxing atmospheres to go and chat with some friends for a while over cheap steaks and drinks

Jessica Wong, Sydney Internship

Jessica Wong Internship_The IconicInterned in Merchandise Planning at the Iconic, an online fashion startup, Fall 2014

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:

Hilary Bokoff, Sydney Summer Internship

hilarybokoff-koalaThe decision to study abroad was not easy for me to make. I did not want to miss out on life in Boston for an entire semester, but I really wanted to experience what else was out there in the world. The study abroad opportunities offered over the summer were the perfect solution to my dilemma, and I would highly recommend this option to anyone else in a similar position.

I chose the Sydney Internship Program for several reasons, but mainly because of the internship component. I was really excited and nervous to work in another country, but I was so lucky with my placement that after my first day all my nerves subsided and more excitement took their place.

By working in the office four days a week, I felt fully integrated into the company’s culture and team. I was trusted with work that any other employee would have done, and, in turn, I learned so much and gained invaluable experience. As a senior in SMG, I have participated in my fair share of team projects and have polished the skills necessary to be a good teammate; however, I was able to apply those tactics in the real world and can now rely on that experience in future job settings.

I was most impressed by the laid back nature of the Aussie workplace. “Laid back” is something everyone will say to describe the Aussie work world, but it impressed me so much because everything still got done even with the relaxed nature. There is such a balance between work and play, friend and colleague, and relaxed and focused, which makes for a much more enjoyable career experience.


My internship really was the highlight of my summer abroad, but, of course, being able to travel in a foreign place was just as exciting. Australia is a place I have wanted to go to since age 10, and this gave me the chance to do so. I held a koala bear, snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, learned to surf, and fed a baby kangaroo. I had a once-in-a-lifetime summer, and looking back, I would have been crazy not to go.

Felicity Chen, Sydney Internship

Felicity SkydivingI’m writing this on the plane from Sydney to Hong Kong and I suppose this is my reflection about by time studying abroad—my experiences, learning, and self-actualization.

I’ll begin with experiences. Sydney is a beautiful, beautiful city. Modern and historic architecture meld effortlessly as one, and the sparkling water brings peace of mind. It is not quite too large, not quite too crowded. There are tourists, but they weren’t obnoxious. The prices of things did freak me out for the first week or so, but I got used to it. The program itself was the perfect size, allowing me to have my own choice of friends, but being able to at least meet once or recognize everyone in the program. We went out quite possibly to every recognizable bar, club, and lounge in Sydney. I made new friends, some of which included owners of restaurants and bars that we frequented, and natives from Sydney and Melbourne. I saw the most beautiful fireworks in Darling Harbor, learned how to Surf, and sky dived across a beach. I had the opportunity to travel to Melbourne, Tasmania, and Cairns (The Great Barrier Reef). And finally, I did a 24-hour last harrah, where I showed my father all the touristy things to do (see my photos) and even brought him to Lednyak and Associates in Chippendale, where I had interned for the last two months.

I learned to budget in order to experience the land down under as fully as I could. I improved my negotiating skills, and taught myself how to stand up for myself, as well as clearly think through delivering my ideas in ways that people can fully understand, both verbally and in writing. I figured out that I’m not very witty, but my friends still accept me anyway. I also realized that every relationship takes time and effort to build, and each one you have, whether it be a significant other or a good friend, truly deserves your time.

And yet with so much that I experienced and learned, I haven’t quite felt like I said goodbye. Usually, I have this overwhelming sense of sadness, regret, and separation anxiety from the people I became friends with over the course of a program. This time is different. I feel like I have developed that blasé attitude that CGS taught us in Social Science, where copious experiences leave you feeling indifferent. At first, it made me feel insecure, as I am used to a wave of depression signifying an awesome trip that I’ll never forget. But I suppose now I realize that being underwhelmed by the end IS really quite beautiful. It may be because I’m still thousands of miles away from home, and haven’t gotten that chance yet to be by myself. It also may be the fact that I just watched Divergent on this flight (awesome movie, watch it if you haven’t), that I’m feeling even more ‘unfactioned.’ I leave Australia with beautiful memories and amazing friends. Those relationships that I have built will last a lifetime, and those that don’t will decide to be a part of my life when they wish to. And in the blasé, I find myself divergent. And perhaps it’s because this plane ride to my next destination is not a farewell to the charming encounters in Australia, but a see you later.