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Four Months to Find Home

Four months. In the grand scheme of things, a single semester may not seem like a whole lot of time. I have not spent even half of a year in Sydney yet I have gained more knowledge and experiences than I previously thought possible in double the time. As I near the end of my time in Sydney, the beginning feels like a lifetime ago.

 

I believe that one of the best ways to experience any new culture is through their sports. It worked perfectly when I first arrived it was in the middle of the exciting Women's FIFA World Cup that Australia and New Zealand were hosting. Every opportunity that I had I would gather some of my friends and head to Tumbalong Park where there would be a crazy crowd of people glued to the big screens. With a city as diverse as Sydney, there would always be large groups of supporters no matter which country was playing that made every match electric. Although each game did garner a large crowd, it quickly became clear that seats (and oftentimes any standing room at all) had to be reserved hours before any Matildas match, and for good reason. You could feel the energy in the crowd shift with the momentum of the match as the Matildas were attacking or dealing with an opponent threatening into their territory.



As exciting as the Fan Festival was, it was even more exhilarating to attend one of the matches myself. Although Australia was not apart of the match it was till very exciting to see world class athletes compete at an event they have spent their whole lives training for. 



During this time, my UTS experience was just beginning. One of my first, of many, memories at UTS is from the club fair. The first thing that stood out to me about the fair was the scale of it all. I come from a school over five times smaller than UTS so it was amazing to see so many different clubs catering to such a large student body. I was also impressed with how clearly each student involved in the clubs were as some even went as far as dressing up in huge costumes relating to their club. The club fair was a great time to see all of the opportunities that UTS had to offer. 



After the club fair, it was time for classes. As I am studying civil engineering back home, I am taking four core classes. It was an interesting development when I realized that because the seasons are opposite in Australia from what I am accustomed to, it is already the second semester of the academic year. This meant that I was technically a semester behind the other students in my classes. Although this initially worried me a bit, I soon realized that most people were taking classes with generally new material or prerequisites that aligned with what I had previously taken. The students were also very welcoming as it was soon apparent that we would need to band together to get through the difficult courses. As time went on, I became closer with both my lecturers and tutors. This helped with classes as they were ready and available to provide any necessary assistance. Once a proper routine of preparation for the lectures and then reviewing the material before the assignments was established, classes moved quite smoothly. 

 

Halfway through the semester I had the opportunity to travel to New Zealand during a break from schooling. As we were in our final descent into Queenstown, the sights through the window were incredible. The vast mountains and lakes were mesmerizing and foretold a great trip to come. I went with a couple friends and we went on various hikes and explored the south island. 



This has been an amazing experience throughout the semester and UTS has been no small part of that. I have done far more than I ever imagined and met some amazing people. Although I am about as far as possible from my given home, I have definitely found a new one in this community over the past four months. 


Pablo M Esteve Spring 2023 Study Abroad student from Villanova University, United States

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