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I came abroad to study at a top-notch institution. I came abroad to learn about a new culture and form new connections. I came abroad to develop independence and gain skills that will help me in school and my career. I came abroad to learn about myself.

Not every experience regarding learning and growth during exchange needs to be directly related to academics. As I mentioned in a previous post, much of my learning thus far has come from experiences outside of the classroom. My fairly flexible schedule this semester has given me the opportunity to travel often and attend a wide variety of sessions and events hosted by the institution to expand my knowledge in many areas. For example, I have been greatly involved with the Global Citizenship Award, the Career Development Program, and Sydney Abroad, to name a few.

Since Sydney Abroad is run through Global Student Recruitment and Mobility, where I do my internship, I have had fun being on both ends of each event—the promotion and the participation! Outside of Breakfast with Koalas, Sydney Abroad has run two other events: the Sydney Footy Game, and the Barrenjoey Head Lighthouse hike. I was lucky enough to attend both!

The footy game took place on April 19 between the NSW Waratahs and the Melbourne Rebels. Over 60 USYD exchange students showed up to watch the game together! I can’t say I fully understood the rules to the game, nor could I follow each play, but it was an extremely fun atmosphere to be a part of nonetheless. I admired the passion and dedication that came from the fans sitting around us. In my head, I couldn’t help but compare and contrast the sports culture in Australia to that in America!

Last Sunday, I did the Barrenjoey Head Lighthouse hike with three other Sydney Uni students. The trek out to Palm Beach was around 1.5-2 hours, but it was well worth the morning of travelling. There were two separate pathways to get up the lighthouse. One was a path that was smooth and at a friendly slant, and the other was a steep set of stairs right up to the top. The stairs would be a harder yet quicker way to the top than the other path, so we decided to take that route. Once we were up there, not only could we see the lighthouse, but we had a gorgeous view of Palm Beach and the surrounding area. While up there, we even ran into a couple other USYD students! We took some nice pictures, admired the beautiful views, and embraced the breeze. When it was time to hike down, we took the smooth path to gain new perspectives from the way we came up.

I certainly look forward to my weekend trips to come, even though it is sad to think that there are only so many left. It just hit me the other day that I only have three more weekends in Sydney itself. I can’t fathom the thought of leaving this beautiful city!