My time abroad in Sydney was beyond my wildest dreams. I have been back in the states for six months and Australia is still all I talk about-ask my parents or any of my family and friends! I think of Sydney as my home now, and I long for the day I can go back. I knew I would love studying abroad, but I had no idea how significant of an impact it would have on my life. I hope all students take advantage of this incredible opportunity to go abroad and challenge themselves.
I would do it all over again in a heartbeat! The CAPA Sydney program allowed me to gain professional experience, independence, cultural awareness and much more. I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of. After studying abroad and living independently in a foreign country for more than three months, I am confident that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. I cannot wait for my next Australian adventure and look forward to moving back and working and living there one day.
I loved my CAPA classes and my educational experience while I was abroad. I felt challenged by my courses but not overwhelmed, and I feel like I was able to learn a lot about the Oceania region through my classes. While I did had projects and papers to complete, I did not feel like my workload was too intense and I was confident in my ability to complete my work on time. The resources and support that CAPA offered me were a tremendous help as I learned to navigate the education system abroad. If I needed help with anything, from finding a fax machine or printer to navigating the online submission system, CAPA staff were always willing to help me and ensure that I had all the resources I needed to succeed. I felt like I had a really good balance of class assignments, internship duties and free time. I still had plenty of time to explore Australia and integrate myself into the culture, but my studies came first. I will always remember the help and support that my professors provided me with and the neat experiences I had within the classroom. My overall educational experience far exceeded my expectations and I would recommend CAPA to students who want to have an educational experience that enables them to interact with their host city and country.
I felt like I always had a safe place to go if I had questions or any concerns while in Australia. The CAPA support staff always encouraged students to stop by the office just to chat or try a yummy Australian snack. If I needed help finding a printer or fax machine, I could go there, and if I were to have had any issues, I am confident they would have helped me. It was so lovely to feel so welcome and at ease in a foreign country. The CAPA support staff planned many fun, optional activities for students as well-my favorite was the food crawl through Newtown! I have never ate in one evening ever, but it was so worth it and a wonderful bonding experience!
I really liked the Urbanest apartments we were assigned. They were much better than I expected, with many amenities I really appreciated it, including a fitness center, computers and laundry room. The apartments were really nice and very big-especially the kitchen and the living room. I was surprised by how big they were! I always felt very safe in my urbanest and I enjoyed my living experience and getting to know my roommates! I'm a country girl, born and raised, so living in the city was an incredible experience for me. I never felt homesick or culture shock, but rather Sydney felt like home, like somewhere I had belonged my entire life.
The food in Sydney was absolutely to-die for. I have never eaten such a variety of cuisine from around the world! On every street, there is a dazzling variety of food-from fast food staples to Thai, Mexican, Spanish, South American, Chinese, Italian and everything in between. One of the neatest things about Australia is that the country does not have a lot of chain restaurants. In America, we have Applebees, IHOP and a million other sit-down restaurants you can find across the country, but in Australia, almost every cafe and restaurant is independently-owned and operated, often times by families. I absolutely loved this, because I never knew what to expect and the menu was always different, featuring delicious food that I had not tried before. I must say Sydney's bacon&egg rolls easily became my favorite food of all time. I highly recommend stopping by a breakfast cafe (Newtown's Cafe in Newtown is my top choice) and trying a bacon & egg roll with barebeque sauce. I miss that meal everyday-it was my go-to while I was in Australia!
Australians are so friendly and welcoming in general, so I felt it was easy for me to integrate with the culture and meet Australian friends. I have some lifelong friends in Australia now, including some of my co-workers from my internship! I definitely did a lot of exploring in the small towns and suburbs in order to get a feel for everyday Australian life. There is always something going on, and it's easy to get involved and meet Australians, whether it be at the Manly Beach Surf Competition or the weekly markets in Glebe.
I think about going back and repeating this amazing experience all the time. It was absolutely incredible to go to school, work and live in Australia, and it has completely changed my future. I want to move back one day. Studying abroad in Australia was always a dream of mine, and accomplishing it was absolutely incredible. Going abroad and traveling and experiencing another culture inspired me to always shoot for the stars and achieve my dreams-I want to continue living an extraordinary life and I look forward to the future. CAPA Sydney was the perfect mix of support and independence-I truly felt like I was a professional adult, working in Sydney and taking classes. I felt so independent, with my own apartment, grocery shopping, money management and much more. I feel like, now that I lived across the world successfully and independently, I can do anything! I would love the chance to do it all over again, but I know I will be going back one day because Sydney is now home for me.