Senior Year in Sydney: An Interview with a CAPA Student

Mar 8, 2019 12:11:00 PM / by Elizabeth Westermeyer

After writing about her own study abroad experiences over the last few weeks, Lizzy interviews fellow CAPA student Callie Schapekahm to get a different take on studying and interning in Sydney. Check out why Callie chose Australia, how she juggles her academics and internship, and the one thing you must absolutely do while in Sydney!

In this interview with a fellow CAPA student you get to meet Callie Schapekahm, a senior at University of Minnesota Crookston!

Callie Eating AcaiCallie's enjoying a quick stop for an açaí bowl on one of our Tuesday adventures

LIZZY WESTERMEYER: Why did you choose to study abroad and specifically in Australia?
CALLIE SCHAPEKAHM: I chose to study abroad because I needed to complete an internship, since I’m a senior, and I thought why not do it in another country! I chose Australia because I was here last May and knew I needed to come back because I loved it so much. It’s also warm here and Minnesota is experiencing a polar vortex right now!

LW: How has it been trying to acclimate to being a Sydneysider compared to where you live?
CS: Besides the weather, it’s not terribly different from any other city. The biggest difference is walking everywhere and trying to figure out public transport because I’ve never done that before.

LW: What’s your favorite thing about study abroad/Sydney so far?
CS: Being able to explore the city and meeting new people. It’s also cool to be able to work in a new environment across the world.

WollongongHere's Callie, me, Jill, and Caroline at Wollongong Beach. It was a time of exploring and getting to know new friends.

LW: What do you miss most about being home?
CS: I miss my friends the most and family but everyone here is in that same situation so more people are open to making new connections with other students here.

LW: Do you have an internship, and if so, how has it been juggling 20 hours a week plus school work?
CS: Yes, I have one. It’s with Me&My Wellness. I am doing marketing and doing a project involving children’s health. It hasn’t been that hard juggling everything but I have to make sure to be proactive to be able to intern, work on schoolwork, but also explore while we’re here! It was harder in the beginning but it’s gotten better.

LW: What do you try to do during your free time?
CS: I try to see new areas of Sydney and the surrounding areas like exploring new beaches and restaurants, all that fun stuff.

Blue MountainsOverlooking the Blue Mountains on our CAPA excursion with Pangkou, me, and Callie.

LW: What’s one must-do thing you would tell a future Sydney study abroad student while in the country?
CS: Definitely do the coastal walks like Bondi to Coogee and Spit to Manly. Walk the Sydney Bridge and the Sydney Harbour area. And also try to explore the areas that are less populated and just walk around, get lost.

LW: What’s one piece of advice you would give to a future student studying abroad (either in AU or not)?
CS: If you’re on the fence about going, just do it! The time goes by so fast and you gain so much independence by being on your own in another country. You also learn a lot about yourself, so it’s a good experience overall.

LW: Any spring break plans?
CS: Yes! Going to New Zealand with the person writing this blog :)

Milford SoundGabby (my roommate), myself, and Callie on a boat cruise at Milford Sound in New Zealand.

Here are some of Callie and Gabby’s must-see places in NZ!

  • Mt. Cook (Sealy Tarns 2,000 step Track)
  • Milford Sound
  • Wanaka Lake and surrounding hikes (Roy’s Peak @ sunrise)
  • Queenstown hike up to Bob’s peak (instead of the gondola!)

QueenstownBy Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand, with Gabby, Callie, and myself.

Lavender Farm
Wanaka Lavender Farm.

Callie and Gabbie @ Tarns
Here are 
Callie and Gabby after a 2,000-step climb up on the Sealy Tarns track.

Thanks, Lizzy!

Lizzy Westermeyer

Lizzy Westermeyer is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2019, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Business Management major at Providence College, she is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.

Lizzy's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Sydney Program

Topics: Sydney, Australia, Why Study Abroad