Ashley Whittington - 2016 Program Participant

What inspired you to go abroad?

I wanted to do something crazy, adventurous, and completely out of my comfort zone. What could be more adventurous than going half way across the world to Sydney and for an internship? Crazy right?!

Why did you choose to intern with the CAPA Sydney program?

CAPA is the program offered at my school at D'Youville College in Buffalo. I could not have asked for a better trip, better staff here at school, as well as at CAPA Sydney either. CAPA Sydney Staff was legitimately the most amazing people I have ever met.

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge
The iconic Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge

What was your favorite part about Australia?

Do I have to pick? I enjoyed absolutely every single part of my host country. The food, the people, the sites, the things to do, EVERYTHING!

What made your experience abroad unique?

I found out a lot about myself, plus I met many incredible people on my trip who I am still close with.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

In every way possible. They are amazing, talented people and I am so lucky to be as close as I am with them. They definitely were key parts to making my study abroad trip absolutely amazing!

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

I wish I would have traveled around the country a little more. I did go explore Sydney and its surroundings, and I headed up to Cairns for a vacation, I just wish I could also have had more time there.

An intern meets a koala in Australia
Meeting a koala.

Describe a typical day in the life of your program.

During the weekdays, I went to my internship at Five Dock Physiotherapy. I would be working with patients, assisting the physiotherapist with whatever they needed, along with answering phones, taking payments, and making appointments. I loved the people I met, the patients and even my other co-workers. Then I would go home and enjoy dinner with my roommates and relax. Then get up and repeat the same routine every morning. Weekends were spent adventuring through the city!

What did you enjoy doing in your free time?

Went out with friends, explored the city, found fun (FREE) things to do!

What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?

We stayed in Urbanest in Central Sydney. These are student accommodations and they were great little apartments! I had seven other roommates and shared a room with one other person. They were very spacious and I loved being around my best friends everyday.

What is one thing every participant should know before participating in your program?

BUDGET! Talk to your friends who have gone and get an idea what you are looking to spend.

What was the hardest part about interning abroad?

I think the hardest part definitely had to be someone of the language barriers that were in Australia. That was most difficult!

Sydney Olympic Park, Australia
Sydney Olympic Park.

What surprised you most about Sydney?

EVERYTHING! The city was gorgeous, the people were incredible, I just didn’t think I would fall in love with a city and I did!

What is one thing you wish you would have known before interning abroad in Australia?

I wish I had known more about the costs of things, how expensive it can be, and also that I would fall in love with Sydney.

If you could intern abroad again, where would you go?

I would, IN A HEARTBEAT, be back in Sydney or head up to Cairns and intern there. I want to go back and potentially do a longer internship there.

What do you feel the biggest benefit of interning abroad is?

I learned so much about other cultures and what it was like to live in a different country. Australia is completely different from America and I just fell in love with the way that they are. Also, I feel I have brought back more independent skills, as well as leadership skills, helping me prepare to go into internships for my major of chiropractics.

Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to Sydney?

Definitely pack as much as you can (by rolling your clothes). Also I suggest bringing your own shampoo and conditioner. I also brought a backpack as a carry on and a large tote bag. I brought one suitcase and one HUGE LLBean duffle bag.

Now that you're home, how has your program abroad impacted your life?

I have actually joined a volunteer fire company since I came home: I wanted to volunteer my time helping and saving the lives of others. Also, it has turned me into a bigger, better person than I was, and made me realize so much about myself. I still say some slang from Australia and I adore it!

The Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia
The Blue Mountains

Would you recommend CAPA to others? Why?

YES! I would say GO with this program! They host a lot of free touring events such as getting to pet a koala, free dinners, and a food crawl. Everything is amazing, the people handling this program are incredible, the staff in Sydney are absolutely amazing, and you will realize once you come home, you will miss that staff ever so dearly. Also, meeting new people from all over the country is amazing! I now have friends in Arizona, Utah, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, everywhere. I love CAPA Study Abroad and can not thank them enough for the amazing opportunity they have given me!