It's in the stars

Sierra Kreft Sydney, Australia


July 22, 2015
By Sierra K., Sydney Internship Program Summer, Australia

The count is officially over: 84 hours and 24,466 miles of traveling and I am back in my homeland of North Dakota. I may not technically consider myself an Aussie yet, (even though I drove on the left side of the road the first day I was home) but I do miss Sydney and the people of my program more and more every day. I’m not going to lie, it feels exceptionally nice to be home with my family back in a familiar city where there is about 3.5 million less people, my own transportation, and home cooked meals but there will always be a piece of me left in that city. I didn’t only grow a year older in Australia but I grew as a person- gaining confidence, maturity, independence, and appreciation.

Since I’ve been home, the one question I keep getting is “what was your favorite part of the trip?” My answer every time is just as cheesy as it was the first time I said it but it’s genuine- the stars. The cool thing about being in the Southern Hemisphere is that the sky is completely different at night. There is no Big or Little Dipper, Orion’s Belt, or Northern Star; but there is the Southern Cross and most nights you can even see the Milky Way. The stars revealed to me that I am right where I should be, even though I doubted that for longer than I should have. The stars emphasized the giant step I took out of my comfort zone to travel solo many miles away from home. Most importantly, they reminded me not to take my time in Australia for granted. Because let me tell you- I’d do almost anything to see that clear night sky one more time.

Even if I didn’t come home with the attractive Aussie accent, I managed to pick up a few tips and tricks along my way and I decided to share the most important ones for any potential travelers. Or if you just want to see where I went wrong:

  1. Always carry an umbrella. Even if it’s sunny and cloudless on your way out the door, you’ll be sorry when you’re on your way home and completely drenched. Take it from someone who learned by experience.
  2. Don’t ever ask an Aussie which rugby team they are rooting for. “Rooting” doesn’t mean the same thing in Australia as it does in the States. Look it up.
  3. A large pizza in Australia is equivalent to a small in the States. If you’re hungry, order accordingly or prepare for disappointment. Also, pizza in Sydney sucks. Just avoid it.
  4. And while you’re eating your pizza, don’t even think about counting calories. First of all- you’re in Sydney, it doesn’t matter. Second- food is tracked in kilojoules. Like wuuuuuut? I’m a science major and I’m not sure if I even understand how that works.
  5. Know what season you’re heading into before you leave. The southern hemisphere and northern hemisphere are not the same. And though the 60 degree winter days had nothing on a ND winter there is no need for 8 pairs of shorts in June down under…
  6. Save a kilometer/kilogram/Celsius converter on your phone. You wouldn’t believe the frightened stares when you tell Aussies you’re use to driving 80 miles an hour.
  7. Try to blend in. There are two dead give aways when it comes to Americans: our loud, “accented” voices and walking on the right of the side walk. At least you can control one of them.
  8. Learn to love boxed wine. Trust me, it’s all you can afford.
  9. Public transportation is your best friend. As a girl who misses the university’s bus like it’s my day job- the best part is that it’s perfectly acceptable to run after a bus or to a train platform in Sydney. No one judges and once in a while there is even someone cheering you on as you sprint through the stations.
  10. Voltage converters are God’s gifts to travelers. I wish I would have known that before my blow dryer started on fire but I guess you live and learn.

And finally, do absolutely anything and everything you can possibly do. I have no regrets from my time in Sydney. I have not looked back at one experience, adventure, or excursion and wished I wouldn’t have done it. I took my own advice from the start and lived by the words of my first assignment- “We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth.” I saw the Great Barirer Reef, tasted wine in Hunter Valley, skydived over the coast of Wollongong, surfed the waves of 7 mile beach, bungee jumped in Queenstown, New Zealand, got a tattoo (sorry mom and dad), celebrated my 21st birthday, sat off the cliff of Clovelly Lookout, ate my body weight in gelato, and walked through the rainforest of Cairns. I’d say im pretty close to knowing what my time was worth, and it’s defiently more than just my credit card bill.


Sierra Kreft

Sierra Kreft is a student at North Dakota State University and is blogging from her summer abroad with the Sydney Internship Program Summer in Sydney, Australia.