Joe Christian - 2015 Program Participant
What inspired you to go abroad?
During my sophomore year, I was required to go to my school’s study abroad fair. While there, my interest to study abroad sparked. Since I am a pharmaceutical science major, it was very difficult to study abroad during the regular academic year. During my first two years at college, it was drilled into my head to do as many internships as I could. As I began exploring possible internships, I remembered the study abroad fair and realized I could kill two birds with one stone by doing an internship for credits in another country.
Why did you sign up with CAPA The Global Education Network?
I choose CAPA for multiple reasons, but the biggest one was their internship placement. They could not have placed me in a better internship.
What was your favorite part about living in Sydney?
My favorite part about Sydney, Australia was how clean it was. Unlike walking through cities such as NYC, Sydney was spotless. I enjoyed taking public transportation everywhere. Another part I loved about Sydney was how friendly everyone was. Anytime someone thought you were having a problem navigating, they would quickly help- even if you did not ask for it!
What made your study abroad experience unique?
My internship made my experience unique. This was the first time I had the opportunity to work in a real research lab. Not only did I learn valuable techniques for my future career, but I also gained life-long friends that I still talk to today.
How did you like the local staff?
The local staff was great. They were there to answer questions at any hour of the day. On arrival, the staff made sure to give us a full tour of the important parts of Sydney. They also gave us valuable tips on what to do in emergency situations, such as getting lost or sick.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
If I could do anything differently, it would be to go for longer. When my seven weeks were up, it was the most depressing day of my life. I still, to this day, wake up sad that I'm not in Sydney anymore.
Describe a typical day in your life in Sydney.
A typical day started by waking up at 8:30 a.m. to get ready for my internship. I would get to my internship around 9:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. and sit at my desk until all of my team members got there. Once everyone was there, the day would begin by going down to the lab room and watching different experiments being done, while bonding with my co-workers who were only a year older than I was. Around noon, we would all leave and go get lunch and continue to talk about the differences between the U.S. and Australia. After lunch, we would go back and continue to make solutions or watch experiments.
Around 5 p.m., I would then leave to go back to my apartment, where I would cook with my suitemates and talk about our days. After we ate, everyone from our program would get together to plan what we wanted to explore that upcoming weekend and what we wanted to do that night. Every day was like living with a family of 70+ people and I miss every second of it.
What did you enjoy doing in your free time?
There were two things in particular I really enjoyed doing on my free time. They included going to the Opera house to look at Sydney Harbor and exploring the Botanical Gardens. Both of these places are unlike anything I have seen on the East Coast of the U.S.
What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?
My accommodations were amazing. The apartments were brand new and supplied with everything needed to live. They also allowed us to become a very close family with how the rooms were set up.
What is one thing every participant should know before going abroad with CAPA The Global Education Network?
My best advice is: don't do the same thing twice. Sydney is so big that in seven weeks, I don't think I saw one-third of it. Also, don't be afraid to explore on your own.
What was the biggest lesson you learned while studying abroad?
Studying abroad opened my eyes up to a lot of things about myself and about how I view school. I am very thankful everyday that I had this opportunity to grow in a positive way through a positive experience. This program helped me to realize that I learn exponentially better in a lab as opposed to in a classroom. I also made me realize that I could live outside the U.S. if I ever choose to do so.
Would you recommend CAPA The Global Education Network to others? Why?
I would and I do recommend CAPA to everyone and anyone. CAPA provides students with a big enough group of students to make friends without feeling lost. They also provide excellent staff that just want your experience to be as great as theirs was.