Updated: Aug 6, 2020
A seemingly universal observation, this year has proved incredibly tumultuous for almost everyone on the planet. Being abroad during the outbreak of a global pandemic created numerous stresses and challenges to overcome, yet I find myself incredibly grateful for my experience as a whole. More than anything, my short stint in Sydney provided me with numerous opportunities to explore both the world and my own self, providing me with a souvenir far more valuable than any physical possession.
Having arrived in Australia several weeks before my first scheduled class, I took the opportunity to explore all that Sydney and the surrounding area had to offer. It seemed that every day brought new adventures, whether it was exploring the Blue Mountains or traveling to Byron Bay with a group of friends.
With my home being in a fairly suburban area, I was awestruck at nearly every aspect of the downtown city life, from Sydney’s efficient and cheap public transportation (a rarity back in the States) to the wealth of nightlife events and venues. Additionally, I was amazed at the cultural diversity, spending time engaging in events like Mardi Gras or taking trips to see the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. For any prospective students looking to travel abroad, I would highly recommend taking every opportunity to break outside of your comfort zone to explore your surroundings; Sydney offers a truly unique and diverse range of experiences.
While my in-person interactions were unfortunately limited, I did gain a wonderful sense of the diverse and vibrant community present at UTS. O’Fest provided numerous opportunities to meet with new students as well as partake in UTS’s lively social scene. Registering with many of the on-campus clubs also provided me with strong connections lasting throughout my return to the United States, as many shifted their activities online during quarantine.
Class-wise, I found the on-campus facilities and resources incredibly helpful for my short stint. While not traditionally interesting or exciting, I was relieved and delighted at the mental and physical health resources provided through the university, giving me a sense of comfort in dealing with the physical and mental stresses of moving halfway across the world.
The first few weeks back at home were tough; quarantining in my childhood bedroom for two weeks after a month of exploring was a difficult transition. However, with the resumption of courses, I found engaging with my classmates and professors to be a constant source of joy. Hoping to use this experience as a time of growth, I had enrolled in classes outside of my typical course selection.
Being an animation major, I decided to take more STEM-heavy courses, involving interactive game design and software development. Nervous at first, I found this break from my traditional art-heavy course load to be fascinating, aided greatly by my wonderful professors who helped me along my way. Beyond a simple shift in tone, these new courses have introduced me to a new-found love of the scientific method and more research-oriented career paths, opening up the possibility of returning to UTS for graduate school in the near future.
Despite the numerous challenges put forth by the global pandemic, I find it hard to wish for this semester to have gone any other way. Online classes provided me a great way of connecting with my peers halfway across the world, and my explorations of Sydney prior to my leave showed me the true wonder of this city. Hoping I may one day return, whether for continued education or travels, I am incredibly grateful for this wonderful adventure as a whole.
Thanks for the memories,
Name: Cameron Bossalini
Course of Study: Animation, Games, and Computer Science
Country: United States
Home University: University of Texas at Dallas