CAPA Study Abroad Alumna Interview: Jada Green
We love checking in with our former CAPA bloggers and vloggers a few years later to catch up on where their lives have taken them since their study abroad days. If you've been following along since summer 2014, you'll remember reading about Jada's adventures in Sydney. Below, she tells us what she's up to now, two years after returning to the US, a few of her best tips and favorite memories from Australia, and one activity she'd recommend to anyone spending time overseas.
CAPA WORLD: Tell us a bit about yourself.
JADA GREEN: Hi! My name is Jada. I studied in Sydney in summer 2014 after my sophomore year at Lehigh University. I graduated Lehigh in May 2015 with a degree in journalism and started a job as an assistant editor at a magazine. I was at the magazine for a little while, but decided to return to Lehigh for grad school in January 2016. I am currently pursuing a master's degree in school counseling.
CW: Why did you choose to study abroad with CAPA and why Sydney specifically? What was interesting about your program?
JG: I decided to study in Sydney because I felt like Australia was a place that I probably wouldn't have many other opportunities in my life to travel to. I considered places in Europe, but knew that I would have other chances to travel there later in life. I loved the combination of structure and flexibility that CAPA offered. There were some organized activities for us, but we also had lots of freedom to explore the city ourselves.
CW: What, for you, were the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a summer program rather than a full semester?
JG: I preferred choosing a summer program because I was able to study abroad without disrupting my life at Lehigh. For me, six weeks felt like the perfect length of time to get accustomed to a place without missing out on what was going on at home. One disadvantage to spending a summer in Sydney was that it was Winter there. Although it was still between 50 and 60 degrees most days, it wasn't as warm as it was back in the states at that time.
CW: Where do you see yourself taking your career over the next few years? Did your experience abroad in any way shape your career goals and aspirations?
JG: My internship abroad was at a magazine and I really enjoyed it. It helped me get my full-time job in the states at the US version of that same magazine. Although I didn't choose to pursue journalism ultimately, getting experience working in the field both in Australia and in the US led me to realize what it was I truly wanted in my life.
CW: Where were the places you carved out as "Your Sydney " - the places you found outside of the tourist sites, the places that were most meaningful for you? What was special about them?
JG: One of my favorite spots in Sydney was at the North Sydney train station. It was a comforting spot to me because I would take a break there on days where I had my internship, get delicious food and work on homework in peace. I also loved Bondi Beach and Manly Beach. Both of them had great food, shopping and scenery but didn't feel overly crowded with tourists.
CW: You were an official blogger for CAPA during your summer in Sydney. What did you learn from this experience in terms of understanding how you grew and changed while abroad? Would other students benefit from blogging while abroad?
JG: Blogging while I was in Sydney was an awesome experience. It gave me a reason to really think deeply about what I wanted to achieve while abroad and created a space for me to reflect on what I'd done in Sydney and what I still wanted to do before I left. It also helped me realize that I wasn't taking enough pictures to document my experience! Now that it has been two years since I was in Sydney, going back and reading my old posts brings back so many emotions. I would recommend documenting your trip this way to ANY student. Whether your posts are published or if you keep them private, you'll love looking back on them in the future--promise!
CW: When you think back on your time in Sydney, what memories make you happiest? Would you do anything differently if you studied abroad again?
JG: My happiest memory while in Australia is actually snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns. The clear water, beautiful reef and the hilarious crew on the boat made the day so fun. I would recommend this trip to any student who goes to Sydney! If I went to Australia again, I'd try to visit other cities like Melbourne on the weekends.
CW: If you could offer a piece of advice to the new group of students studying abroad in Sydney, what would that be?
JG: First of all--try Gelato Messina in Surry Hills. It's amazing and you can walk there! Also, try to adopt the "yes-man" attitude when you're presented with new opportunities. Go surfing, skydiving, whatever it is that seems scary to you. Do it! The more you push your boundaries, the better your experience abroad will be.
CW: What did it feel like to go home again when you first returned to the US? And now, after some time has passed? Have there been any difficult moments?
JG: The hardest part about returning home from Sydney was realizing that I most likely wouldn't be back in Australia for a long time. I wanted to share all of the new places I'd been to with my friends and family, but the logistics of traveling across the world make it hard to do that. Also, it was hard saying goodbye to my roommates, who I became really close with. We actually had a 2-year reunion this summer and took a trip to New York City together!
CW: What changes have you seen in yourself since you began your study abroad program? What has your experience taught you about yourself, the world around you and some of the larger global issues?
JG: I definitely realized while I was abroad that I need to push myself to take more risks. I am somewhat reserved and have a tendency to turn down opportunities that intimidate me. There are a couple things I regret not doing while in Sydney, and having that regret makes me want to push myself to live every day to its fullest. Being abroad also helped me put into perspective how the rest of the world views Americans.