Studying American-Australian relations in Sydney
Elaine Girardi (second from right) studied American-Australian trade and investment relations in Sydney.
December 11, 2019

I will forever remember my experience in Sydney, Australia, as a fundamental moment of growth. I learned an extensive amount about the world around me, culture, travel, and most importantly, myself. Australia is a beautiful country with a lifestyle like nowhere else in the world. The people, history, climate, work-life balance, opportunities, and love is felt within every aspect of the Australian culture. The University of Sydney is a vibrant, urban environment that cultivated success and learning, and I enjoyed every minute I spent studying there.

There were many events that carried meaning throughout my time in Sydney. Some of these include surf lessons, learning how to scuba dive, becoming good friends with my local barista, weekly taco nights with my roommates, and backpacking through the Blue Mountains with my Outdoor Education class. Although there were many events that were meaningful to me, these specific events stick out when I reflect on my time abroad. They all included spending time with authentic people and experiencing something new.

Remembering all the incredible opportunities as fun while simultaneously learning will always be a special memory for me. These events lead me to realize that spending time with others is something I prioritize in my life. Traveling and experiencing the beauty our world has to offer will now be a priority in my life moving forward because of the positive experiences I had in Sydney.

I had the wonderful opportunity to intern at the United States Studies Centre through the University of Sydney during my time abroad. It is a university-based research center that opened in 2007. This center is committed to analyzing American and American-Australian foreign policy, economics, politics, culture, and much more. I was lucky enough to be an intern for Jared Mondschein and Elliott Brennan at the Centre. These two individuals worked under the programs Trade and Investment, as well as Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The Trade and Investment program examines trends in the investment relationship between the United States and Australia, as well as challenges or opportunities within the trading world.

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship program specializes in understanding the United States as a world-renowned innovation leader, with a viewpoint of how New South Wales, and Australia as a whole, can benefit from the United States. My responsibilities included assisting with research projects; editing the weekly newsletter; reviewing reports; scanning important documents; and researching and writing pieces of my own in areas of study that interest me. From this internship, I realized I love the topic of international relations and policy, which may be a path I follow in law school. This experience is one that was central to my experiences in relation to my academic and career plans for my future.

The people I met and the experiences I had all helped me to grow personally and academically. I can honestly say I am a different person now, and I can attribute almost all of it to the amazing experience I had in Sydney.