Junior pitcher Julia Moore spent the summer in Australia, taking classes, attending sporting events and learning about the culture down under (Julia Moore).
When I look back at my summer, it seems unreal that I spent six weeks exploring Australia. My trip began with enrolling in two classes through the Boston University Sydney Program and ended with adventures I didn’t even know were possible. My experience studying abroad “down under” was worthwhile and one of the greatest encounters of my life.
One of the main reasons I chose the Sydney program over other programs were the course options. The first class I took was on entertainment promotion and offered me an opportunity to explore the business side of entertainment and particularly how to promote sporting events, movie premieres, concerts, and television programs. The second class was on cinema in Australia and was enforced by attendance at The Sydney Film Festival. We were each given a pass to see 22 movies over the course of two weeks. At first I thought this meant way too much time sitting in theaters, but I found that many of the movies were the best I’ve ever seen and will soon be premiering in the U.S. In addition to attending the festival films, we got VIP tickets to the opening night and closing night. I got to walk the red carpet, enter VIP rooms, see all the Australian stars surrounded by paparazzi, and attend all the evening’s events. Both of my classes were taught by amazing professors and guest speakers from related fields and the credit I received through the program will transfer back to Harvard, giving me more room in my schedule to take other classes in Cambridge.
I was certain to make the most of my time in Sydney by exploring the culturally diverse city. I attended a performance at the Sydney Opera House, climbed to the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, shopped my way through the streets and the weekend markets, and went to wildlife facilities where I got to hold koalas, pet kangaroos, and feed Tasmanian devils. I used my weekends and holidays to travel beyond Sydney. I explored the scenic Blue Mountains, toured the alleys and laneways of Melbourne, snorkeled at the Great Barrier Reef, and skydived from 14,000 feet over the vast Australian land.
While softball was nowhere to be found in Sydney, I did immerse myself in sports. Sydney hosted one of seven World Cup FIFA Fan Fests and projected all of the games live on giant floating screens on the harbor. Because of the time difference, the games were at 9:30 p.m., midnight, and 4:30 a.m., but enthusiastic fans came out to cheer on their teams and to celebrate despite the times. I also attended a National Rugby Union match in one of the famous stadiums and watched the Wallabies take on England. For my personal fitness, I found time to work out at a small gym conveniently located across from my lodging. However, I had to leave my softball glove at home knowing that there would be no one to pitch to in Australia.
I’m returning to Harvard this fall with a greater appreciation of the confluence of cultures and economies in the global arena. I experienced more similarities between the U.S. and Australia than differences. My biggest challenges were adjusting to the time difference, the reversal of seasons, and the slight nuances of the language. However, Aussie hospitality, laid-back attitude, and unique sense of humor made it easy to immerse myself into the culture. The classes I took were meaningful and informative, but it was the experiential learning which made studying abroad a not-to-be-missed opportunity. I feel extremely fortunate to have had the chance as a college athlete to travel abroad. I know that one day I will return to Australia for more adventures, but in the mean time, my eyes are set on the 2011 Ivy Title!