How I Knew Sydney Was the Right Choice

Jul 1, 2018 11:30:00 AM / by Marianne Zarzar

Marianne Zarzar

Marianne is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance major at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, she is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.

In this week's post, Marianne discusses how she made the decision to study abroad and why Sydney is the right city for her.


I still cannot believe I made it to Sydney! I wake up every day and feel excited about having been given this amazing opportunity to not only visit Sydney, but also be able to complete an internship and experience the Australian workplace.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Sydney_Summer2018_From Marianne Zarzar - One of My First Photos of SydneyThis is one of the first pictures I took once I arrived in Sydney. T
his is the view with my back toward the Sydney Opera House.

A lot of people I have talked with have told me that they had planned to study abroad in Sydney for a long time, which wasn’t really the case for me. I knew I wanted to study abroad, but I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I went to an international school during my senior year of high school, which gave me the opportunity to interact with people from countries I didn’t even know existed. That experience has made me want to travel more and learn about other cultures. Despite knowing I wanted to study abroad, I waited until the last minute to apply to this program, and it wasn’t until that moment that I decided to specifically apply to come to Sydney. I say this not to encourage people to make last-minute decisions, like I did, but rather to reassure you that if you are still undecided about where to go, or if you should study abroad at all, you can still do it and have time to decide. Use all the resources available to you! I talked with my parents, academic advisor, and friends before deciding, which definitely helped.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Sydney_Summer2018_From Marianne Zarzar - Sister and Brother-in-Law Dropping Me Off At AirportMy sister and brother-in-law dropped me off at the airport on my way to Sydney!

Personally, studying abroad did not seem like a big feat when I was applying. I am an international student in the U.S. from Mexico, and have lived in Minnesota by myself for the last six years. I thought that if I had been able to do that, going to another country would not be as bad. I was, of course, mistaken. Every experience is different and exciting in and of themselves and no matter what you have experienced before, each time will be different and unique.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Sydney_Summer2018_From Marianne Zarzar - Layover in Doha, Qatar, Seeing the Huge Teddy BearI had a layover in Doha, Qatar.
The airport was amazing with a huge indoor playground for kids
and a huge teddy bear in the middle of the airport!

I ultimately decided to apply to the Sydney program for 3 main reasons. First off, I knew that I wanted to complete an internship and get to experience the workplace culture in a different country. To be able to do that, I needed to have a good handle on the language of the host country, and the only other language I speak is Spanish, which helped narrow down my options. The financial aspect was also important to me since I wanted to be able to afford most of the trip, despite having my family’s economic support. Lastly, the recent gun control protests in the U.S. spiked my interest in gun control policies in other countries. I have a lot of respect for how the government and society in Australia have reacted to previous shootings both through displays of solidarity and policy changes. It was because of all these reasons that Sydney seemed like the best option for me.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Sydney_Summer2018_From Marianne Zarzar - Before I Get On My FlightBefore I got on my flight.

During my flight to Sydney, I remember having doubts about having made the right choice. I was worried about not knowing anyone coming here, and not knowing what to expect. Landing in Sydney was as scary as the first time I travelled alone, and the excitement and nervousness of being in a new place was still present. Homesickness is also something that I am constantly having to deal with, especially living so far away from home. However, keeping busy and looking for new and exciting things to do and adventures to go on is always a good way to distract myself. My experience so far has been incredible. I am happy that things worked out the way they did since I cannot imagine not being in Sydney. I cannot wait to share with you more about my adventures and the wonderful humans I have met along the way.

Thanks, Marianne!

Marianne's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Sydney Program

Topics: Sydney, Australia, Practical Study Abroad Advice, Study Abroad, Why Study Abroad