Putting the 'Study' in Study Abroad

Oct 17, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Martyn Megaloudis

In this week's post, Martyn goes over what his course load at CAPA Sydney is comprised of, discusses how Globally Networked Learning is woven into his class projects, and takes us on a virtual tour of the CAPA Sydney Center.

Mid-terms have come and gone for most of CAPA classes, so I figured that this week’s blog post should cover my academics while studying with CAPA. Along with my internship I am taking three classes this semester abroad. I am taking International Marketing, Advertising and Sales Promotion and Australian Cinema: Representation and Identity. All courses abroad take place in the CAPA Center which is located in an old TAFE NSW building (Technical and Further Education NSW) and is only a quick five-minute walk from Urbanest Housing. Since it’s hard to capture the day-to-day of classes and studying I’ve included some photos of the CAPA center in this blog to help get a sense of the environment where I work and study.

CAPA Sydney CenterThe exterior of the CAPA center where all courses are held.

There aren’t too many discernible differences between American style of teachings that I am accustomed to in Pitt and the teachings found in Sydney. I will say that the size of the classes are significantly smaller than those found at Pitt. For Example, both my Advertising and Sales Promotion and my Australian Cinema: Representation and Identity courses have only five students enrolled. These are the smallest classes that I have ever been enrolled in and this small size allows a more personal connection with each professor and an opportunity to truly get a unique and personalized learning experience.

CAPA Sydney Center ClassroomThrough coincidence all of my classes take place in the Gadigal classroom (named after one of Australia’s many indigenous groups.)

One of the most defining aspects of CAPA courses (try saying that three times fast) is that they offer something called Globally Networked Learning. This is where you are paired up with other CAPA students at other locations around the globe. Globally Networked Learning is the bulk of the projects that I have to complete this semester. For International Marketing my group and I are working with CAPA students in London to work on exchanging cultural briefs and using the info provided about one another’s countries of residence to create a report that would hypothetically and realistically introduce an Australian/English product into the opposing country’s market. One of the reason’s that I wanted to study abroad was to study international business classes in an international setting. International Marketing not only lets me do this but lets me practically apply what I have learned in class to the real world. The Global Network Learning aspect of this class really helps to create a unique leaning experience that I would not have been able to receive at Pitt.

CAPA Sydney Center Longe SpaceThe CAPA Center offers lounge spaces for work and relaxation.

For my Australian Cinema course, I was paired up with two CAPA students studying in Florence Italy. We’ve been instructed to work together on creating a synopsis of a short film that encapsulates motifs and themes found both in Italian and Australian cinema. We then need to film and cut together a trailer for these films and present them to our class. I’ve spoken and worked with my group and I can already see the issue of working with one another across the globe. While my group was planning to go to sleep I was hopping on the morning train ride to my internship. At this moment in time I have absolutely no bearing on how we’re going to cut together and film a project from a world away. Whatever we end up doing is definitely going be subject to the constraints of time and distance. Hopefully these constraints lead us to create some truly creative ideas and shots. As the world becomes increasingly connected, learning how to work efficiently with groups stationed around the world will undoubtedly be an invaluable skill to have.

Stained Glass Windows in CAPA Sydney CenterThe CAPA Center, like most of Sydney has moments of quiet beauty.

To be honest, other than the small class size and global viewpoint, studying in Sydney is not much different than studying in America. I’ve touched on how oddly similar the overall experience of studying abroad can be previously and studying runs much of the same course. However, for me, there’s a certain weight of guilt that studying carries while abroad. Even though I obviously should study and be committed to my education, every time I’m studying whether for class or for something like graduate school I feel like I’m throwing away my time to really explore this country and culture. It’s a feeling of not getting the most out of your experience abroad because you have to devote so much time to studying. However, that feeling is really just something to ignore- it’s important to find a balance while abroad. You need to make time for studying but also make sure you carve out your time exploring this culture that you traveled across the globe to see. While academics do carry a heavier weight than at home, the unique spin that they offer through CAPA is something of immeasurable value and perspective.

Thanks Martyn!

Martyn Megaloudis

Martyn Megaloudis is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Marketing major at the University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.

Martyn's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Sydney Program

Topics: International Education, Sydney, Australia