Sheena Chatterjee - 2014 Program Participant

Sunset on the Bondi Coastal Walk, NSW, Australia

Sunset on the Bondi Coastal Walk, NSW, Australia.

Why did you choose to study and intern abroad? Why Sydney, Australia? 

When selecting colleges, a wide selection of study abroad programs was an important criterion for me. I had always wanted to study abroad in order to learn more about myself and grow my skill set both personally and professionally. I traveled to Sydney because of the program that BU offered where I would partake in both an internship and one semester at the University of Sydney. I felt that this in-depth experience for six months would allow me to understand Australia and its people.

Boston University Students at the 12 Apostles in Melbourne, Australia

The 12 Apostles in Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

What were your living situation like?

The BU Sydney location was located right at Central Station. It was right on the edge of the CBD (Central Business District) and the suburban-esque parts of Sydney. Walking within the city was an easy way to get around, with star attractions such as Darling Harbour and Sydney Harbour only a 15 and 30 minute walk away, respectively. All forms of transportation were available to us: trains, cabs, buses, etc. Overall, it was in a great location!

The facility was more than secure, with multiple entry points where you would have to use a special ID card to swipe in. Furthermore, there was a security guard that patrolled the space during the night time. I was on a floor consisting of five apartments, each housing three to four students. We had an RA on our floor and elevator access to the whole building. I had three other roommates, each with our own room, a common room, kitchen area, two bathrooms. Overall, the living arrangements were more than ideal, where you could socialize out in the common room or have some time to yourself in your own bedroom.

Gateway to Luna Park in Sydney, NSW, Australia

Gateway to Luna Park in Sydney, NSW, Australia. Photo by Sheena Chatterjee

What was the biggest challenge about living abroad?

My biggest challenge was being far away from home for the extended period of time of six months. I happen to be very close with my parents and had only traveled abroad with them. To be in a new environment for such a long time without their direct support was a real adjustment for me.

What advice can you give to other students going abroad to Sydney? 

Make sure to save up your money beforehand! Australia may be a bit more expensive than you might assume. Also, I recommend taking Sydney on by foot. It’s such a beautiful city and I can say half of the places that I deemed to be “favorites” ended up being the places I found on foot. Finally, make sure to wear sunscreen when you go outdoors!! 

What is a main reason you’d go back and do the BU Sydney program all over again?

The main reason I would go back is to experience the total immersive element that the program provided within the Sydney culture. I was introduced into my internship within the first week of being in Sydney and was given projects by the end of the week to work on! Additionally, by enrolling directly in Sydney Uni, I was able to learn from professors from all around the world and collaborate with Australian students on different business projects. 

What have you learned from studying and interning abroad in Sydney?

Studying and interning abroad made me realize how lucky I am to live and go to school in the United States. I realized that I shouldn’t take Boston University for granted in ways and appreciate the little things like having a comprehensive online database for the library. I also realized that different countries have different work styles. Personally, I came to realize that in order for me to achieve all of my goals, I might find more success in America.

A colorful sunrise in Bischino, Tasmania, Australia

Sunrise in Bischino, Tasmania, Australia. Photo by Sheena Chatterjee 

Did you notice any kind of reverse culture shock when you came back to the U.S.?

One thing that I did notice was difference in the level of “politically correct” language. In Australia, there doesn’t seem to be any concept such as “PC”, but in America, the idea of “PC” is very prevalent within our culture. On a lighter note, I ended up missing things in Australia such as Tim-Tams, the smooth coffee, the natural beaches, and the cheap Macca’s cones!