It didn’t really sink in that I was living and studying in New York until one afternoon a few Norwegian girls that I had met at college (Adelphi University) took me to the rooftop of their apartment in Brooklyn. The sun had just started to set and I found myself looking towards the New York City skyline as it began to light up. In that moment, I realised just how far I was from my sleepy little Sunshine Coast and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face- I think I screamed a little bit too.
I learnt more during my 6 month exchange than just through the classes I took at college. I learnt that some Americans think Australians don’t speak English and that you can trick them into believing we really do ride kangaroos. I figured out how to navigate the subway by myself and that walking through Central Park in the middle of January is a sure way to get frostbite. I discovered that American cafeterias and fraternity parties are exactly what they seem like in movies… maybe even better! And that lost luggage and delayed flights will make for the funniest stories. But I think the most important lesson for me was that I really can achieve whatever I set my mind to. And that is the best thing about traveling- it puts a thirst in you to make the absolute most of your life. To explore this crazy world and grab a hold of every opportunity that comes your way.
I am forever changed by my experiences in New York. The electric energy and excitement of that incredible city will always be a part of who I am today. I couldn’t be more grateful that the G.O program gave me the opportunity to see such an incredible part of the world through my studies in journalism.
By Sophie McDonald