You are here

Pre-Departure Reflection

21 Jul 2014

So it’s T-2 hours until my flight and I’m seated anxiously near my gate waiting for boarding. I figured this would be the perfect time to reflect and share my thoughts. After spending my entire summer in Botswana, it was hard to say goodbye to family and friends for four whole months. But I know that the experience will outweigh whatever nerves I’m having right now!

Waiting for my flight!

I checked into Delta curbside (who knew you could do that?!) and thankfully made all weight requirements. For those interested in knowing what a girl from NY packs for four months in Australia… A LOT. Aside from the basics like clothes, I packed a whole lot of bathing suits, my brand new Fujifilmx Finepix XP70 that’s waterproof (which will make for awesome pictures in my blog posts), and a TON of books. (I really need to invest in a kindle because physical copies really way down the bags lol) On the topic of clothes, I’ll be in Sydney for the last few weeks of winter, all of spring, and the first few weeks of summer apparently so the clothes I packed had to work for all seasons! Let’s hope there are more warm days then cold.

As I was checking in, a Delta Airlines employee asked what I would be doing in Sydney and I shared with him that I will be studying abroad. He asked if I was a marine biology major to which I responded no, political science. He then asked, “Well why Australia?” I thought for a second. It isn’t a location one typically associates with politics or government. So why Sydney? Well, I compiled a list of ten reasons why I chose Sydney (in no order or importance):


  1. I chose Australia for its indigenous population and the history surrounding them. I have found that it is an often under-discussed part of history that few Americans know much about. I hope that after a semester in Australia, I will have a greater understanding of the indigenous inhabitants of Australia, their history, customs, and relationship with the British.
  2. Nemo! I’m so looking forward to a weeklong excursion to the Great Barrier Reef and to see a lot of the fish and sea animals represented in the film! (And I’ll secretly be on the lookout for P Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney)
  3. Sydney Opera House. It’s a must see and something I’ll finally get to cross of my bucket list.
  4. All of the awesome water sports I’ll be able to try out like paddle boarding and surfing. (Speaking of water… I’m from New York. So an opportunity to spend 4 months will crystal blue warm water is a dream I had to make come true.)
  5. Australia is interesting in that it is located relatively closely to Asian countries such as China and Japan (see: SUSHI), and I wanted to see the influence this has had on it’s culture.
  6. I wanted to go to an English speaking country but with a culture distinctly AND significantly different from that of the US. (Sorry London but you didn’t make the cut.)
  7. Minimum wage is over $15! I had to experience this sorcery for myself.
  8. Somewhere deep down, I’m hoping to come back with a cool accent.
  9. When deciding to study abroad, I wanted to go someplace where I could grow as a person, experience and learn a lot, and make memories to last a lifetime. I figured that for the latter part to occur, I’d have to go somewhere that I probably wouldn’t be travelling to typically. For me, that meant no Central America or Europe.
  10. From a political science standpoint, I am excited to take a look at the political and economic infrastructure of Australia and how it has evolved over time allowing Australia to become such a factor in global politics. Moreover, Australia is a very developed nation and has one of the wealthiest, the 12th largest, economies of the world.


With that said, here’s to an awesome semester full of new people, food, and places.  Next time you here from me I’ll be down under :)

From Our Blogs

Apr 19 3:00pm

Sustainable Living While Studying Abroad

by Victoria Bruick

Whether you’re a long-time environmentalist or a budding recycler, interning or studying abroad offers you an opportunity to gain insight into how different communities approach sustainable living.

Learn more
Apr 18 9:19pm

From International Internship in Italy to Pursuing Public Health

by Shaina Moran

IES Internships alumna Michelle Wagner (Rome Summer Internship 2015 | Penn State University) wears many hats: graduate student, world traveler, public health enthusiast, and blogger, to name a few. In a previous role as an IES intern in Rome, Michelle participated in hands-on work, came face-to-face with social issues, gained a professional mentor, and paved her path to graduate school. Read on Michelle explains her international internship in Italy.

Learn more
Apr 18 5:39pm

Wine and Cheese For Thought

by Bo

This past weekend, I went on the IES Abroad led trip to Cremona, Parma and Modena. And let me tell you that IES Abroad did not disappoint!!!

Learn more
Apr 17 5:23pm

A Day in My Life in Granada (As Told by Michael Scott)

by Emily

Here's what Michael from The Office would have a to say about a day in my life in Granada!

Learn more
Apr 17 1:41pm

The Power of Advocacy: Mobilizing the Study Abroad Community

by Hernando Sevilla-Garcia

Hernando Sevilla-Garcia, IES Abroad Diversity Relations Manger, visited Capitol Hill to speak with Illinois representatives on the importance of study abroad programs and international students.

Learn more