Nicolette G. Sydney, Australia


March 18, 2014

My first two weeks in Australia have come and gone, and this Sunday marks a month I have been in this wonderful continent. I have so much to report that I don’t know where to start (I should probably start journaling daily, maybe every few hours. Time and happenstance have no rules here.)

First and foremost, I really, truly love it here. Sydney has provided me with a playground, a place to get lost (but small enough to find my way back), an outlet to learn in (via the classroom and by experience) and has challenged my comfort zone. I think that come the end of June, it will be hard to leave. I look forward to continuing making the most of my time in Oz.

Because I am on the Sydney Internship program, my program is comprised of interning three days a week, with an Arcadia class and Sydney University class as well. I am taking an Australian outdoor education course at University of Sydney that I am thrilled about. The course is based on experience education psychology as well as two major hikes and camping trips in the Blue Mountains. I have only heard incredible things about the hikes and canyoning activities that the Blue Mountains afford. More pictures to come once those are completed!

In terms of my internship, I am working with The Big Issue magazine, Time Out Sydney, Y-Gap and potentially the Australian sector of Indiegogo. It sounds like a lot but it has been manageable and thrilling, to say the least. The Big Issue is a magazine that is sold by homeless vendors throughout Australia. They receive half of the magazines profits (i.e. each magazine sells for $6 and they gain $3 for each magazine they sell.) My job is to interact with the vendors in regards to any of their concerns or just to share a laugh and a snack (crunchy M&M’s) and helping the office managers, Petra and Peter, with anything they may need. I am also in the process of putting together a project for the vendors to share their stories in a unique, non-intrusive way. But more on that when it fully comes to fruition!

Time Out Sydney, in comparison, is the leading entertainment magazine in Australia, as well as in NYC and London, to name a few other branches. As an intern, I help write listings for daily events and this Thursday, will be interviewing a local street artist for a feature article. Despite the fact I am stuck in a cubicle, the staff is small and everyone is witty and youthful. I am excited to try my hand at entertainment writing, especially when writing a profile piece on a woman who has worked with the famous graffiti artist, Banksy.

In terms of Y-Gap and Indiegogo, both are start-up and social entrepreneur related. These are two things I am very passionate about! Indiegogo is contingent on an upcoming phone call. But my work with Y-Gap began last week when I volunteered at a meditation and social awareness event hosted by Conscious Club.

I had never meditated or had a full vegan meal (it was wildly delicious) but more than that, I was able to do those things with some of Australia’s leading meditation guides, Steve Balbi, guitarist from the famous song “Reach Out and Touch Somebody” and Sebastian Terry, the man who created the 100 Things campaign throughout Australia. Conscious Club’s mantra is about asking its participant to seek full awareness– of themselves, of others and the world around them in the context of personal impact. Meditating does get one in that mindset of considering personal impact. To turn off a chattering brain for just five minutes is liberating. It puts life in perspective and makes life seem new again. I think its because sometimes the petty things in our everyday lives builds up and becomes a weight we can’t let go of. It affects our happiness and therefore, how we interact with our peers. When I meditated, I felt like I could let go of that unnecessary weight and go forward a little lighter. Try it, people!

On a touristy, non-meditation guru note, I have visited the three major, Sydney beaches– Coogee, Manly and Bondi. Coogee and Manly are my favorite ones. Today, my roommate and our friends went to Coogee. The sunshine quickly turned into an unexpected, thunderstorm. After we got breakfast for lunch (breakfast is often served all day here = my heaven) and waited out the storm, the waves were HUGE. We spent the rest of day playing in the waves, ignoring sunscreen because it was overcast and staying too late because if we weren’t in the water, the people who struggled to navigate these tsunami-esque waves entertained us. Even the surfers just hung ten on their boards in a pack, not sure what wave was safe to take. That clearly didn’t stop us four girls. We made it out of there with all bathing suits still intact!

I think, as a final note, being abroad has reminded me to enjoy happenstance, to embrace the unexpected, like waves that made me body surf and crash into shore like I was five years old again.