Sarah Bielski – Global Correspondent
Hours spent filling out paperwork, packing, working extra shifts, and getting everything organized has finally paid off. When I first got on the plane in Boston I could not believe I was finally on my way to Australia. The place I had been dreaming about for years was finally within reach. Although nervous about leaving home, the excitement of living in a different country for four months squashed all of the butterflies.
After 20 hours of flying and a stop in Los Angeles, my program members and I finally landed in Sydney and were thrown right into the thick of it. We began our one-week orientation in Sydney by visiting the famous Darling Harbor, taking a walking tour of the city, learning about Australia’s history, and climbing to the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. This was followed by visiting the Featherdale Wildlife Park, feeding koalas and kangaroos, visiting famous beaches, eating my first meat pie, attending a dinner boat cruise in Sydney Harbor, special events at Sydney Fest, and finally an Amazing Race around the city on our final day.
We packed up our things again and headed to Bond University on the famous Gold Coast. After throwing our bags in our room we all headed straight to the beach. When our toes touched the soft sand of Broad Beach we all looked around in amazement. To our left was the city, beautifully outlined by the setting sun, and to the right were miles of coast line. It took a moment for me to realize that this was where I would be spending the next four months of my life.
I have only been here for a month but so far I have traveled to Byron Bay, planned trips to Whitsundays, the jungle and the outback, attended interesting classes, spent many days on the beach, and made amazing new friends. The classes here have been very eye-opening. The semester is laid out by week. For classes, you attend a two to three hour lecture and then a one hour tutorial with the professor or graduate student. The lectures have been very informative and the tutorials have provided lively and opinionated discussions.
I knew that studying abroad would be a life changing experience but I never realized how much it would actually impact me. I have learned so much about the Australian culture, history and politics. I have met some amazing people who come from all over the world and I have learned so much from them as well.
Even though there are times I miss home, I’m glad I decided to study abroad. It has been one of the most important choices I have ever made and I know that I will never regret my decision to come to Australia. I have grown personally as well as academically and I know that I will grow and experience even more in the next three months.