Jada Green is CAPA's Official Blogger for Summer 2014, sharing her story in weekly CAPA World posts. A Lehigh University student, she is studying abroad in Sydney this term.
For this week's post, she brings us an interview with fellow study abroad student Darien Ruschy.
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Darien Ruschy is a student on the CAPA Sydney program. She is an interior design major and did a 6-credit internship at Leffler Simes Architects.
She talked to me about her time in Sydney and shared some of the things she learned from the experience.
JADA GREEN: What made you decide to study abroad in Sydney?
DARIEN RUSCHY: I thought it would be a great experience. My friend was signed up for the program and joked about me also going to do the program after I finished my semester in Denmark. I mentioned it to my mom and she told me to do it, so I did!
JG: What was the adjustment process like when you got to Sydney?
DR: I think it went pretty smoothly. It was kind of interesting because I think I was experiencing reverse culture shock from being in Denmark, while at the same time sort of experiencing a different kind of culture shock. Switching from biking every day as main transportation to taking the bus for two hours every day was a big change.
JG: How did your expectations of Australia compare with the reality of living here for six weeks?
DR: I kind of thought it was going to be all sunny and beaches and outback, and then it rained a lot when we first got here. For some reason, even though I knew we were going to Sydney, I didn't picture such an urban place.
JG: What were some of the main cultural differences between the U.S. and Australia that you noticed?
DR: It was surprisingly hard to understand Australians sometimes, which is something I didn't expect at all. I think a really big thing is how influenced Australia is by other countries. At my internship site, it seems like everyone is from somewhere else and it makes this really cool mixture of food and activities and such.
Photo: Urban Sydney by Richard Taylor
JG: What are some of your favorite things that you've done in Australia?
DR: I think one of my favorite things was just hanging out with my roommates and walking around the city. I really liked surfing and just hanging out at the beaches like Manly and Bondi. There were awesome sunrises every day too!
JG: What didn't you do that you wish you had?
DR: I didn't go to the Sydney Fish Market. I wanted to go there because my high school teacher would show every single class of his this video about teamwork and it took place there.
JG: How was your internship with Leffler Simes Architects? What did you learn from it?
DR: My internship was great! I learned a lot about working in an office environment, what goes into designing a building and how to integrate into the culture of a workplace.
JG: Do you see yourself travelling in the future?
DR: Yes! I want to travel around the U.S. and I wouldn't mind going to Southern France.
JG: Has studying abroad taught you anything about yourself?
DR: Definitely. I learned that it really helps to reflect on my experiences and it pieces things together that I wouldn't have noticed otherwise. I also learned to just do things even if it scares me.
JG: What advice would you give future CAPA students about doing a study abroad program?
DR: I would say if you’re at an internship, don’t be afraid to ask questions and take the time to talk to everyone about their job, even if it’s hard to approach them!
Thanks Jada and Darien!
Applications for Fall 2014 are now closed, but if you're interested in becoming CAPA's Official Blogger for Spring 2015, fill in an application as soon as you've been accepted on a CAPA program.