CAPA Sydney: Study & Intern Abroad

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About

Sydney is just like the Koala bear that comes to mind when you think of Australia. They’re both independent, wise, laid back, and super cute (but don’t worry—the city won’t sleep for 22 hours of the day leave the other 2 for eating). Be carefree as you spend a day on Bondi Beach, or head to your internship to get hands-on experience in your major. Even though the main language is English, don’t think that you won’t get a taste of a different culture when you study abroad in Sydney. The excellent school you’ll attend will help you find your independence in a setting where you’ll be comfortable and challenged at the same time.

Get out of the typical classroom and turn your study abroad city into a place you can learn from. CAPA specializes in customizing your experience— from everything to what classes you’re interested in to what kind of housing you’ll live in. Our internships will give you the skillsets you’ll need to succeed in you’ll need to succeed in your career.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

94%
based on 51 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 9.4
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 46 - 51 of 51
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Lindsay
10/10

TAKE ME BACK!

CAPA changed my life. The staff made my life way too easy, from arranging our living situation to finding our internships for us, CAPA did it all. Sydney was an incredible city filled with positive people, outrageous nightlife, and plenty to do at every second. I met lifetime friends and felt completely safe, especially considering how far I was from home. Traveling with other Americans made the experience easier to adjust to, and it felt good knowing that 60 other people were going through exactly what I was going through. You have to make an effort to meet natives, but it's all part of stepping outside of your comfort zone. Having an internship made the experience what it was: unforgettable. It gave me the chance to fully integrate into the Australian culture and lifestyle. Bottom line: GO CAPA!!!!!

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing it would be to extend the program. I NEVER WANTED TO LEAVE!!
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
cbi90
10/10

The BEST experience ever!

I can't even begin to explain how much I enjoyed my time and internship in Sydney, Australia! I am so blessed that CAPA was able to line me up with an internship that was my first choice option. The CAPA Sydney staff is wonderful and was always there to help anyone if we needed something.

A typical day for me in Sydney consisted of taking the public transportation system from Waterloo to Potts Point. I worked in a real estate office in Potts Point and I was responsible for a great amount of prospecting. I was also responsible for assisting with open houses by helping set up and get contact information and comments from guests who were visiting the property. I really enjoyed my internship and know many other people who I went with that enjoyed their internships, as well. The internship is a great way to network with people in Australia and is a giant boost to your resume. I find myself still talking about my internship and my trip to Australia. It is just a great experience.

When I wasn't working, I was out and about exploring the Sydney beaches, checking out museums, different parts of the city, shopping, and hiking the trails from beach to beach. The beaches were definitely my favorite thing outside of working because they are simply amazing.

I also had the opportunity to take part in various trips to other parts of Australia, including the Great Barrier Reef! It was great to be able to get away from the city for a weekend and go exploring the reef and the Daintree Rainforest.

When it comes to difficulties that I encountered, I would say my main struggle was when I first arrived in Sydney. I was aware of the bus system but I accidentally got on the bus going the wrong way. I ended up on the other side of town but a kind bus driver was able to help me get to the proper stop to get me back home.

Another difficulty I encountered would be the different terms some Sydney-siders use that we don't use in America. However, the other employees in my internship site were able to fill me in and it really helped me out. I thought everyone in my office was extremely nice and treated me with respect and they were always willing to help me out.

Overall, this experience was simply the best experience I have ever had in my entire life. I got to open up to a new culture and a new country. However, at the same time, I was able to get some valuable work experience that will separate me from others when I find a job after graduating from college.

How can this program be improved?
I know some students traveled very far to get to their internship sites. However, not all students had to travel far.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Mollie
10/10

Most Incredible Experience of My Life

Through this experience, I learned to be independent. In the Sydney program, you live on your own and have to get yourself to your internship through public transportation. Learning to use public transportation and learning my way through the city was my biggest accomplishment. I was so proud of myself by the end of my time in Sydney, because I could get myself absolutely anywhere in the city. I always felt completely safe using the public transportation. Everything was clean and everyone was very friendly.

Difficulties:
I struggled to stay on a budget in Sydney. Everything is very expensive and I always wanted to go out and do things. I spent more than I had wanted to, but in the end I do not have a single regret. It was all worth it and every experience I had was incredible.

A few of the things that I got to do including: surfing, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, climbing the Harbor Bridge, and seeing a show in the opera house. And these are just the big things. My day to day life was just as exciting. We never had any down time, and the CAPA program was great about providing some activities for us to do. The staff was always very friendly and helpful, and I always felt very supported by them.

How can this program be improved?
I would change the way the classes are set up. I wish we had classes with locals, and not just Americans. But other than that, I would not change a thing. This was an incredible journey and I am thankful for CAPA for providing it for me.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Amanda
10/10

Adventures down under

As it goes with any study abroad trip Australia has given some of the best experiences of my life.

The day to day life in Aussie i can say is pretty much like America. The internship placement for me was spot on in providing me valuable experience in the PR field. Having an internship while abroad really emerges you into the culture and daily life of the Aussies. The night life was great and there was always something to do. Traveling to other destinations in the country was easy to do but was a bit expensive as was a lot of things. You may be a little shocked when looking at the prices but after a week or so you'll understand their standard of living is a bit higher. The living arrangements for CAPA Australia (if you're not doing a home stay) was really nice. The serviced apartments took the stress out of worrying about security and the little things so you can really enjoy yourself. Transportation was easily accessible and once you get the hang of it came to be second nature.

How can this program be improved?
The campus were classes were conducted and the CAPA office is a bit far from where you are staying which made commuting from internship to classes to the office a bit annoying.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Mitch
8/10

Living in the land down under

Sydney was a great experience. The CAPA program was very focused on the internship and I got a ton of experience in my field of study. The classes were fun and enabled us to learn through an australian viewpoint. The accommodations were only 10 minutes away from the beach, and close to the bars and clubs. The program staff was very nice and went out of their way to help us out. Not many people get to say they worked and lived in the land down under. I would highly recommend using CAPA for studying in australia.

How can this program be improved?
The distance to class was around 40 minutes. Public transportation was not reliable and cabs were expensive.
Yes, I recommend this program
Rachael Taft
Rachael
8/10

Guaranteed fun, but you might have to put some effort into getting what you want out of it (professionally)

WARNING: This is going to be a long and thorough review. I just want to get all the details out there so you can make an informed decision on whether you should intern abroad with CAPA in Australia, and how you should prepare for it.

Let me start off by saying, you are paying a lot of money for this experience, so don't feel bad being a little pushy to get what you want. Australia is awesome, and I will get to all the fun stuff about living there later but the internship is supposed to be the most important part of your experience.

If you are set on a certain field, do not settle for an internship in a different one. Once you have been accepted into the program, pick up the phone and call someone at CAPA and discuss what you really want from your internship and what experience you are looking for. Maybe they will even have to direct you to someone in Australia, but I believe it is really worth doing this. As I said, you are paying a lot of money to them, they should be able to help you get what you want from the experience. Once they have assigned you to a place, ask if there have been other interns that have worked there and see if you can get in touch with them. If they tell you they were just fetching coffee all day every day, then ask to be put somewhere else.

I say this because I didn't do this. I was living in Asia for the whole semester before my program, and when I saw I was placed in a PR agency (as opposed to my requested advertising), I just accepted it because I didn't have reliable access to phone or internet at the time. I probably could or should have said something when I arrived in Australia, but I didn't want to cause problems. Well, sometimes you have to cause problems or you might regret it later! (Not that I regret my experience overall.)

The reason I say this, is because I felt CAPA got a little lazy in placements. I don't feel that they actively sought out new places for interns. In my case, I was placed in a PR firm that basically had a new intern every few months. The agency was attached (literally) to an advertising agency. They were under the same parent company and were on the same floor of the building. All CAPA really had to do was make a phone call and I probably could have been placed there. They actually shared a printer and I would sometimes sneak materials out of the recycling just to get a glimpse at how such things from a real ad agency looked! Pathetic, I know, but I didn't at the time feel I could do anything about it. Looking back, I could have brought this up to CAPA or even just asked to spend some time across the hall in the other agency just to learn a little bit.

Again, I don't necessarily regret anything. It is good to have some PR experience (though I had other friends in the program who were placed in PR agencies where they got to do much more interesting work), but the atmospheres between the PR and ad agency were like night and day. My agency was extremely high stress -- I had one co-worker that was always crying -- and the ad agency... they had a foosball machine in their common area, just to give you an idea.

This is all why I recommend trying to get in touch with a past intern from your placement. Or pushing CAPA to find you a new place. Some people in my program must have been the only intern their company had had, because I couldn't believe some of the gifts they were showered with. Very expensive free dinners, experiences like climbing the Harbor Bridge. This of course isn't what the experience is about, but it's definitely a nice bonus! I, on the other hand, being one in a string of interns, couldn't even rely on my former supervisor to give me a recommendation when I moved back to Australia a couple years later. I had emailed with him and he agreed to be a reference. When a potential employer called him, he said he couldn't remember me!

However, if you maintain a good relationship with your supervisor and coworkers after you leave, it could be hugely beneficial to you. And one last note on the internships themselves... if you have any interest in journalism and writing, this could be an amazing opportunity for you. There were a couple interns at travel magazines who got all-expenses-paid trips to write about places in Oz! Can't beat that!

CLASSES
Also, your internship is four days a week and you have class one day a week (most weeks). Sometimes the classes were helpful at giving you some perspective on your internship, what you wanted to get out of it, etc. Sometimes you learned interesting things about Australia. Sometimes the class feels a bit useless. We had to do projects on famous Australians, which seemed a little bit like we were in third grade again or something. It was interesting to learn about some people, but kind of a waste of time. I'd rather have spent time doing a worthwhile project related to my internship, or getting us involved in the community.

Ok, I know this is getting long, but moving on.

HOUSING
We had an issue where the normal student housing was canceled on us (apparently maids were stealing?) and we were moved to this other building which sadly no longer exists. At first everyone was upset - we're paying all this money for this nice housing downtown (with maids) and suddenly we're dumped in a slightly sketchy part of town in a ragged building where there most certainly are no maids. People complained for a few days, then we realized this was actually the best thing ever. We instead were in almost a hostel like place (and all had our own rooms, though shared bathrooms) with students from all over the world. There were people from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and South America. Everyone was friends - cooked dinner together in the shared kitchen, went out together, etc. This MADE my experience.
I'm assuming CAPA has probably moved back to the boring all-American housing (worth asking about), but this doesn't mean you can't make some friends outside the American-student-bubble. Befriend your coworkers. Go out to bars, footy games, coffee shops in other neighborhoods around the city and meet people. Get involved! Volunteer at the pet shelter or participate in that Guiness-Book-World-Record of most people to eat a pizza as long as a cruise ship. (Yes, this happened when I was in Oz!)This will make your experience so much better.

COST OF LIVING
Australia has gotten very expensive. From the time I interned there in 2008 to when I moved back in 2010-11, prices had skyrocketed and the AUD and USD had become even. Even though CAPA gives you gift cards for grocery shopping (which I never seemed to use all of, but that may have changed with the prices) and a metrocard each week, there are still plenty of other expenses. You're going to go out (warning: drinking is really expensive!), you're going to want to maybe do a little travel, buy some souvenirs, buy a cell phone/get a SIM for your iPhone (the minimum phone card is $29/mo. with Vodafone), etc. Make sure you have plenty of money. I'm sure CAPA can help you with this. On a high note, they do have a couple nice meals for you at the beginning and end of the program (so just cook your meals and save your money!), plus a day trip or two, included.

SUMMARY
You are guaranteed to have fun in Sydney. It is an amazing city. It's likely the other people in your program will be great - you all are there for the same reasons (hopefully). The city is full of an incredibly diverse mix of super friendly people. It's hard not to love it. There is so much to see and do in Sydney (and in Australia, if you have the time and money to do a bit of traveling). Just a few things to leave you with.

(Our) summer in Australia is actually (their) winter. It isn't going to snow, but it WILL be cold. And there will be rainy days. Bring appropriate clothing. That being said, there will be really nice days too so don't fret.

Traveling during your internship isn't impossible. You do have three day weekends, and could possibly even get a day off from your internship. Budget airlines like Tiger and Jetstar (even sometimes Virgin and Qantas) can be affordable. In the beginning of the program, STA or some similar agency presents to you a bunch of options. Most people go to the surf camp. I didn't, but in the end I found that booking everything on my own was cheaper. I was able to fly to Aerlie Beach and take a weekend sailboat cruise to the Whitsundays/Great Barrier Reef, as well as a weekend trip to Hervey Bay and the Gold Coast to visit Frasier Island and the Australia Zoo. It's possible.

Finally, my biggest recommendation: do the longest possible option. I did the two-month version of this internship. I do believe they offered a three-month version. DO THIS. You will get so much more out of your internship (many of the people who got do the coolest things at their internship were on the longer option), and you will be glad you have more time to spend in Australia. I can guarantee you will not regret it! And perhaps you will love Australia as much as I did, that you will move back after you graduate. It's easy on the Work & Holiday visa, or maybe your company will love you so much they'll sponsor you! ;)

How can this program be improved?
I would require a more in-depth discussion (or any at all!) with an advisor at CAPA about your internship and what you want to get out of it. I would like to see them put more effort into getting you exactly the kind of internship you want in the field you want, even if they have to go find new companies. And I would like there to be more of a process in place if you come to Australia and find your internship is not fulfilling.
Yes, I recommend this program

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