Course: Biomedical Science
Country: USA University: George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
UTS Year and session: Spring 2017
REFLECTIONS ON MY UTS STUDY ABROAD EXPERIENCE
Biggest Cultural Mistake:
The hardest thing to adjust to was that they drive on the left side of the road. I always forgot to look the right direction
while crossing the street and could never remember to walk on the left instead of the right. It made escalators and shopping malls pretty difficult. Funny enough, I finally got it right my last weeks in Sydney and then kept walking on the wrong side when I got home to the US.
I was on a tour in Tasmania and quickly became friends with everyone on the tour. One day we jokingly said the last one on the bus had to eat a spoonful of Vegemite. Our friend Mike was the last one to board the bus and we said, "haha you have to have the spoonful of Vegemite!" Now, poor Mike did no know what Vegemite was and willingly agreed to try a whole spoonful of it. So, sure enough once we got back to our hostel for dinner, Mike asked where the Vegemite was. We tried to keep him from eating a whole spoonful at once, but he insisted, so he did. Mike made the funniest and most outrageous faces as he tried to swallow the overly salty spoonful of Vegemite.
It was my first week in Sydney and I was hiking the Spit Bridge to Manly bushwalk to see Aboriginal rock carvings. I turned a corner and all of a sudden there was a snake in the middle of the path! It was not even that big, but I was so scared because I had no idea if it was poisonous or not. All of these thoughts were running through my head about how I had just gotten here and was already encountering dangerous wildlife. In the city no less! I just stood there while it crossed the path and then ran behind it. I have never been so scared while hiking.
Favorite Sydney Hangout: The Royal Botanic Garden was by far my favorite Sydney hangout spot. I was not used to living in a city so I loved escaping to the garden and being surrounded by so many beautiful plants. My favorite was to bring a blanket and a book or a journal and sit on the lawn facing the Opera House enjoying the sun and the view.
Most Thrilling Memory: My most thrilling memory was visiting Uluru and camping in the outback. This was the last trip I went on right before heading back to the US. Flying into Uluru was such a breathtaking experience as the ground just turned red beneath you and you could catch glimpses of the rock from way out. I had only been there for a few hours and the tour group I was on was doing a walk around the base. A thunderstorm came out of nowhere and it started to pour on us! It was incredible though because all of sudden we were surrounded by tons of waterfalls falling off the rock. Our guide later told us it only rains hard enough for waterfalls a few days out of the entire year. It was magical and a sight I'll never forget.
What do you miss the most and the least about your experience?
I miss Australia everyday! What I miss most though is the weather and the people. I loved how it was warm and sunny almost every day I was in Sydney. I also miss how close I was to the beach or the mountains and could take advantage these sights every weekend with the weather. I also miss how nice everyone I met was. I still talk to my friends from Australia today and miss hanging out with them!