Personally, I knew from the day I arrived in Sydney, the “success” of my study abroad experience would rely heavily on the circumstances and priorities that I set for myself. Although there were some absolutely fantastic times in Sydney, I can’t help but admit I likely should have branched out a bit further and tried to travel to see different parts of Australia. Sydney may have some of Australia’s best offerings in terms of beach destinations, the arts and sporting events, but there is inherently much more to learn about Australia and its culture from witnessing and experiencing all types of the Australian landscape.
In many ways, I am grateful that I was my typical proactive self and secured a two day per week internship in Sydney. At the boutique firm I interned at, I gained an intimate knowledge of the Australian industrials sector and, more importantly, an overall sense of what a career in M&A entailed. However, just like my past spring semester, interning for two days per week means that you have two days less per week to explore, get ahead on studying and or homework, or hang out with friends and meet new people. When cutting out that time to intern every week, I soon realized that it would be essentially impossible to travel to overnight locations in Australia. In the end, I would absolutely choose to intern again during my semester abroad; not only has my internship certified my interest in M&A, but it also worked to help me secure a position in the same field for the upcoming summer. Although I was not able to travel to far away locations like Bali and New Zealand (the two most frequented locations by NYU Sydney students), having less time has taught me to make the best use of the time that I do have available.
By far, my favorite experience while studying abroad, occurred during the middle of the semester, on a night spent sleeping on a clifftop overlooking the ocean. After going on Sydney’s famous Bondi to Coogee 8 mile hike, a few friends and I found a small cave built into the side of a cliff (around 30 meters high) overlooking the ocean. We quickly came to a consensus that it would be an amazing place to camp out and watch the sunrise. A few weeks later, at around 9pm on a Friday night, we made the spontaneous decision to go back to the clifftop and spend the night. Once we arrived at our spot, we were amazed at the array of stars cast across the sky and sparkling off the ocean before us. By 12:30 in the morning, we saw an orange glow start to creep over the pitch-black horizon. Although our main intention was to witness the sunrise, which we knew would be amazing, we had no idea that the moonrise could be as spectacular as it was. The moon rose in a distinct orange color and was larger than I had ever seen it. After falling asleep around 1:30 AM, we woke to our alarms at 5:40 AM as we prepared for the sunrise. The sunrise over the ocean was one of the most beautiful experiences in my life and is certainly something that I will remember (with help from the videos I took) forever.
When I return home, I hope to continue seeking out experiences like the one I had that night on the cliff. In addition to exploring the natural environment of my home state of New Jersey, I hope that I will have the chance to travel throughout the United States and explore similar opportunities. As reinforced by my experience on the cliff, I’ve realized that some of my most memorable moments in life have been while experiencing different elements of nature.