CAPA Sydney alum Minh Ta is back to share why the best part of his college life was studying abroad in Sydney! With this city being a home to different cultures, Minh took this opportunity to dive head first into life as a local—both personally and professionally—and soak in the range of academic courses that enriched his experience.
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! I’m Minh Ta, an alumnus of Augustana College, class of 2020. Thanks to CAPA, I had the chance to live a Sydneysider lifestyle for 3 months in the fall of 2019. In this post, I will share how grateful I am about my decision to step outside of my comfort zone to travel halfway around the world and spend the best part of my college life in Sydney. Let’s go!
An Unbelievable Cultural Experience
A kayak excursion with the team!
Believe it or not, almost every suburb of Sydney is home to a different culture. Sydney also has a robust subway system that can take you to any corner in a heartbeat. From where I lived, I could take a 30-minute train ride to Bondi Beach, one of the largest beaches in Sydney, to enjoy the sun to brush off any stress that I had. One time when I was craving some dim sum, I took a 5-minute train ride and found myself at one the largest Din Tai Fung restaurants in Sydney. Another 5 minutes and you can find some of the best tacos you’ve ever had. The best thing is that CAPA provided us free transit passes so I could skip the planning and get onto the exploring.
My favorite dish: Ramen noodles!
Another aspect that I really enjoyed about Sydneysiders, and Australians in general, is that they take pride in their diverse cultural backgrounds. Before any of my classes or events that I have been in, everyone always spent a few minutes in the beginning to acknowledge the original indigenous tribes who owned the land. It was very exciting for me to observe how well a group of people celebrate their multicultural roots to become a unified nation.
A Chance to Debunk Myths
From my short time in Australia, I learned how I should not judge a book by its cover. I believe a lot of us have heard about how dangerous and mysterious Australian wildlife could be. For me, I once came across a picture on Reddit depicting a snake in the toilet in Australia. It didn’t stop there; I read a lot about black widows and other dangerous animals that exclusively inhabit Australia. I am so glad to learn that it is a tiny bit of the iceberg; in fact, Australia is indeed an amazing continent that is filled with beautiful exotic species.
You can’t find quokka, kangaroos, or this two-headed Shingleback anywhere else in the world.
There’s also a myth about the unique Australian dialect and slang. That statement only holds during the first few weeks of the program. I got used to the Australian accent quite fast and was able to grasp what people said to me for the rest of my time in Sydney. People didn’t get offended when I told them I have trouble understanding some phrases, and sometimes they even passed me the wondrous knowledge. Learning Aussie slang was quite a ride, but it was a fun one.
Academic and Professional Experience
Everything else aside, my main goal of traveling to Sydney was to have a fulfilling academic and professional experience. I was really lucky to have the opportunity to work with my internship supervisor, Evelyne Wilton, an entrepreneur specializing in marketing and business strategy. She invited me to come along to find solutions to some difficult problems she was working on. One of those was to build a game to teach young children about environmental issues. In a short time span, I am glad that we were able to come up with a wireframe for the application and to implement a basic demo of what was on our minds. From my time working with Evelyne, I gained so much experience, especially in the start-up domain.
In terms of academics, CAPA provided a wide range of courses for students to take. For me, I took a class in International Marketing, Gender Studies, and Intercultural Communication. I greatly enjoyed those classes, especially on the diversity component embedded in each of them. They made me appreciate the diversity of the globalized world even more.
Thanks for coming this far. Enjoy this photo of my peaceful afternoon.
Thank you for coming along this far! If you like what you’re reading, you can check out my series of blogs I wrote when I was in Sydney here. Please reach out to me if you have any questions and I would be happy to have a conversation.
Minh Ta is an alumnus of CAPA Sydney and Augustana College with a major in Computer Science and Applied Math. He studied abroad in fall 2019 and blogged about his Sydney experience in frequent posts on CAPA World.
See more of Minh's journey in Sydney.