As his summer abroad in Sydney comes to a close, Anderson stops for a moment to relish all the experiences that have taken him several steps forward in his college and personal life. He gains more motivation to finish his final academic year and is more than ready to apply the life lessons he picked up from studying abroad. He might head back one day, but until then he won't forget the Australian sunsets, skies, and beaches.
All good things have to come to an end. Before I knew it, my six weeks in Australia were up. Time passed so quickly. Maybe it was the 4:50 PM sunsets. Maybe I was having too good of a time. Whatever the reason, time seemed to move a little faster in Sydney.
I can’t say I long to go back immediately. If anything, my time at BIS Oxford Economics and in the classroom have me itching to start the next semester. I am one school year away from finishing my degree. Now that I had the chance to have such an experience, I can see the tangible rewards of graduating: money, freedom, and self-determination. If I ever want to go back to Sydney, it will be due to my labor and discretion.
There are still some things about Sydney that I can’t replicate in landlocked Arizona, namely beaches and the Pacific Ocean. As beautiful as Arizona sunsets are, there is something wonderful about watching the water glisten as the sky turns to orange. I won’t soon forget taking the ferry around to Manly Beach, Watsons Bay, Balmain, and so on. That was my way to find tranquility.
I really have to go back to a landlocked state. How could I take the ocean for granted?
Tranquility—that’s what it was all about. Going to Australia for six weeks was an incredible form of escapism. Leaving behind my obligations and concerns for a little while was a peaceful catharsis. I really had nothing to worry about. I won’t say that I loved the work I was doing at BIS or in my Sports Marketing class—but that’s okay because rarely does anybody truthfully enjoy work. What I enjoyed was feeling a sense of accomplishment through a completed project along with having the freedom to learn what I wanted to on the job.
There was no better sight than the sun setting over the water.
No, I did not like spending time in an office or classroom, but I did like what I got out of these times: a sense of community, lessons I could take back to America, and feelings of achievement. I honestly didn’t expect to make friends with my coworkers, but I found myself accepted rather quickly. That meant being invited to a symphony orchestra with my supervisor, Australian Rules Football games, and drinks after work. Six weeks is not a lot of time, but it was enough to make authentic connections.
The acoustics were not great from my seat, but seeing There Will Be Blood’s score was well worth the free ticket.
That made me want to put more effort into my work-suddenly I actually cared about not letting my coworkers down. The morale boost lit a fire under me; work became a reflection of myself. As a result, I rarely felt apathetic about my internship. Even though I wasn’t getting paid, the intrinsic rewards were very much worth the labor.
When I think back to Australia, the best memories were the ones where I could find a quiet park, lie down in the grass, listen to an album or two, and clear my mind. I could easily do the same in America, but there was something about the laidback Australian culture that made it so easy to just lay back.
Perhaps my favorite backdrop for listening to albums.
Coming back to America, I can see that so many people desperately need to feel self-important—more than their peers at least. Pride runs rampant, but I don’t need to compare myself to others. I’m happy with sitting in a park listening to music alone, irreverent to what others think. That should not be exclusive to me.
Anderson Wray is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2019, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Accountancy major at Arizona State University, he is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.
See more of Anderson's journey abroad.