I chose to study abroad in Sydney this summer because I have always wanted to travel to Australia, I knew that I wanted a summer program, and I wanted the option to complete an internship abroad. Luckily, the Learning Abroad Center at the University of Minnesota had the perfect program for me! My program was called "Study and Internships in Sydney" and lasted six weeks. I had the choice of taking classes over the six weeks or interning, and I chose the internship. I was placed at a fashion PR firm, Adam Worling PR, and I loved it! As a Marketing major, I never completely understood how a public relations firm operates until I completed this internship, and now I am considering adding PR classes to my curriculum. It was an amazing experience to work in high fashion and see stylists and editors of well-known publications in the Adam Worling showroom every day.
Another part of my experience was choosing to do a homestay during my time in Sydney. I lived in an apartment building in the suburb of Chatswood with a woman named Marcia. She was an amazing cook and took great care of me. I was also able to meet her children, and I am thankful to have had constant exposure to the completely new culture. I would definitely recommend the homestay option to students who are studying abroad in the future. I learned so much from the family I stayed with, and I became very independent within the city.
In addition to interning in Sydney during the workweek, I also had the opportunity to travel around Australia on the weekends. During the first weekend, I went hiking in the Blue Mountains. I also went to a wildlife park where I saw kangaroos, koalas, dingos, and many other native animals! A second weekend trip was north of Sydney in the city of Port Stephens. There, I fed sharks and sting-rays, went whale watching, took a hike, went dune boarding, and road a camel on the beach! It was an adventure-filled weekend. I also took a trip to Surfers Paradise, which is a part of the country close to Brisbane. I have a friend who lives there, so it was great to visit her and go to the beach all weekend long. Above all, though, my favorite part of the six weeks was going to surf camp. I learned how to surf over the course of three days at Mojo Surf Camp with real surfer dudes. It was a blast!
On my last day in Sydney, I climbed the Harbor Bridge (a famous Sydney landmark) with a couple of my coworkers. What a way to end the trip! I would recommend studying abroad to anyone, especially because the number one regret I hear from most college graduates is that they did not study abroad. The Learning Abroad Center makes it very easy for U of M students to get the most out of their experience abroad, and with more than 70 countries to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect program for you--I know I did!