Sara Martin is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A biological sciences major, she is studying abroad in Sydney this semester through the custom program at the University of California, Davis.
In this week's post, Sara writes about different aspects of Sydney's culture that she's explored so far.
Sydney and Its Diversity
If you know anything about Sydney, you know that it is one of the most international cities in Australia. As you can imagine, this makes it pretty easy to meet people from different countries all over the world. On the plane back to Sydney from Cairns, I had a great conversation with a man from England. He has been working and living in Sydney for about 15 months now and is in the process of obtaining citizenship here. I love Sydney not only because it’s so great that people all over the world want to move here but also because it’s a place that is very accepting of others that do take the leap.
The ANZAC War Memorial
One of my classes had the opportunity to tour the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) War Memorial and learn about Australia’s history in the wars. Even before Australians defined themselves as having their own nationality, they were a proud people… never afraid to fight for what they believed in and never backing down until they achieved their goals. Seeing the Dome of Stars in the memorial brought feelings of solemn respect for those fallen soldiers, commemorated by over 100k stars attached to the ceiling.
Photo: “YININMADYEMI Thou didst let fall”
As sad as it is, the ANZAC War Memorial doesn’t indicate the huge presence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers fighting with the Australian forces during World War I. Tony Albert, an Aboriginal artist, completed this remarkable sculpture in March of 2015 to honor those fallen soldiers who have been outspoken and overlooked throughout the years. It is located in Hyde Park, adjacent to the ANZAC War Memorial. These grounds were once ceremonial grounds for contests and other gatherings which is why Tony Albert chose the location for the art piece.
Art Gallery of New South Wales
The Art Gallery of NSW focused much more on Australia’s history than the Museum of Contemporary Art, mentioned in my post about “The Big City”. Some of the pieces are simply wondrous, such as the one in the bottom right corner which focuses on how the Sydney Harbor used to look depicted through a dreamlike effect. However, some pieces are heart-wrenching like the one by Colin Hunter in the upper-left which references the way the First People used to be treated as specimens of study rather than humans back when Australia was first colonized by the British.
Becoming One with the City
Australia may not have a pristine past but many other countries are marked by overcoming inhumane habits. Having been here for five weeks, I feel as though I should finally understand the insider’s perspective on Australian politics and regulations more. However, I have gotten just enough to deduce that the elections are mandatory and are far from America’s bipartisan standard. Everyone who votes is able to choose from a wide range of options and the elections don’t appear to have been taken over by any major national parties. Although there is still progress to be made in human rights and environmentalism, I can see efforts being made to achieve these strides. The longer I stay here and the more locals I meet, the more I want to stay in Australia permanently.
Sara's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned.