A Summer in Sydney. How one Internship can change your life.
Travel pushes you out of your comfort zone, and it’s all good!
Life brings us certain significant experiences that we will look back on as moments that shaped us into the people we are today. Adventures that excite, charm and awaken us and change our outlook for the better.
Studying abroad is one of those experiences and Anna Baerman could not agree more. Miss Baerman’s experience stood even higher on uniqueness because she chose to spend last summer interning abroad in Sydney, Austraila. Here is her story:
Why did you choose Sydney, Australia?
“Honestly, I chose to study abroad in Sydney because it was the best location offered by the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State for summer programs. There would have been a language barrier in many of the other locations, and Australia has always been somewhere that fascinated me (especially after Mary Kate and Ashley’s “Our Lips Are Sealed”!!! The top 5 sites to see (in my opinion) are:
1. Bondi beach.
The shops and restaurants on the strip, the beach itself, and the walk from Bondi to Coogee beach…gorgeous!
2. Sydney Harbor Bridge.
I climbed the bridge, and the view from the top is UNREAL.
3. Darling Harbor.
It’s an area on the water with amazing restaurants and bars, gorgeous views and lights that shine on the water at night.
4. Gold Coast.
Even though a bit trashy and Panama City Beach-esque, it is TRUELY an amazing time and has a lot of natural beauty/pretty beaches.
5. Great Barrier Reef.
In Cairns, not Sydney…absolutely gorgeous snorkeling, tropical weather even in the winter, and such fun night life.”
How did you live like a local?
“Because I was there for over 2 months, I was really able to settle in and feel as if I was a local. Although I lived in a hotel suite with 3 other girls and had maid service every day, we worked from 9-5 p.m. each day at respective internships. My journey to work was about an hour (15 minutes on bus to the train station, 30 minutes on train, 15 minute walk from train station to internship location). We had a bus and train pass and so we were able to travel the city this way for other reasons than work as well. Having this ability to travel around the city allowed us to find favorite restaurants, bars, etc. We had a full kitchen in our suite, so we frequented the local grocery store (their ketchup is brown and eggs are not refrigerated…)”
What was the most amazing cultural experience you had in Australia?
“My most amazing cultural experience while in Sydney was definitely gained through my experience at my internship at Emerson Network Power. Aussie work culture is SO different from American work culture in that the atmosphere is extremely relaxed. Aussies “work to live” while Americans “live to work.” Whether or not things were going well that day in the office or not, my coworkers were light hearted, happy, kind…I seriously loved them. Although my internship role was not always fascinating (Emerson sells Uninterruptible Power Supply systems and air units to cool data centers), I sobbed on my last day because I met people that have impacted my life forever. I have never felt so cared about in my life (bringing me medicine when I was sick, my boss making sure that I was doing meaningful work, telling me the things I HAD to do and see while in Sydney, throwing me a going-away lunch and giving me generous gifts, etc.)…and I am not so sure that I would have this same experience at a fortune 500 company in the U.S. “
How did studying abroad impact your personal growth?
“I grew SO much while in Sydney. I was forced into situations where I was extremely uncomfortable, intellectually, socially, and physically. I am not someone that likes to be pushed out of my comfort zone, and have never really been forced to, so my growth potential was HUGE. Starting my internship at Emerson having never been in an office-environment before and being asked difficult tasks was terrifying, and using Sydney’s public transportation by myself (and getting lost multiple times/getting off at wrong train stations and having to connect trains to get home) was equally scary. Doing dare-devil activities such as climbing Sydney Harbor Bridge, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and going on a boat tour through an alligator swamp pushed me out of comfort zone once again. Even living with 3 girls that I hardly knew, and eventually making 8 life-long girl and guy friends was something that helped me grow as a person socially, because I have had the same group of friends since the beginning of college and this probably would not have happened otherwise.”
If you had the chance to do it all again, what advice would you give yourself?
“My advice would be to ENJOY, embrace, and live every single second because in a blink of an eye, you will be back in the Cleveland airport feeling as if the entire thing was just a dream. I am literally tearing up right now after writing this. I am so incredibly thankful to have had this experience, to have seen the things I was able to see, and to meet the people I met. I would kill to go back in time and experience it all over again.”