Australia 2018

Wow this has been a long overdue travel post! I’ve been meaning to talk about my trip to Australia for the longest time, but never really had the chance to do so, until now!

So please, sit back and relax as I share with you the trip that changed my life.

Why I Traveled to Australia

I traveled to Australia because at my local community college, I was a part of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. Which meant that through the organization, I was given the opportunity to travel and study abroad after graduation in May.

There were like 4 or 5 different delegations (as they called them) and they consisted of:

  • STEM
  • Medicine
  • Business and entrepreneurship
  • Politics and leadership

Since I was a communication studies major with high hopes of going into something like marketing at the time, I chose business and entrepreneurship. Within each delegation, you could also choose between 2 countries and it was either China or Australia. So we can guess which one I chose, CHINA!!!!

Haha, just kidding. But for as long as I could ever remember, I’ve always wanted to travel to Australia. It’s been on my bucket list for a while and when I got the opportunity to go, I was a little reluctant at first, but with the love and support of family and friends, I went.

What were the flight(s) like?

I flew Qantas to both LAX and Melbourne. The flight was relatively fast to LAX, and even though I was set to have a layover of an hour and 40 minutes, my flight got delayed. By the time I arrived to LAX, I had to run and hop on to my next flight and that was a 16 hour flight.

I remember being next to a young Australian couple and one of the questions I asked was “what was there to eat in Melbourne?” And they simply said “lots, what are you in the mood for?” “Anything” I said, to which they responded “well, there’s this really good place called chin- chins”

“But don’t worry, the 16 hour flight will be worth it” and with that they put on their sleeping masks and fell asleep.

If anyone’s been on a 16 hour flight before, I’m sure you can understand how I felt on that flight.

I tried falling asleep and staying asleep for those whole 16 hours. Spoiler alert, it can’t be done haha.

I tried reading, looking at my phone, watching movies, listening to music, you name it.

Where did I go in Australia?

I went to Melbourne and Sydney. All in a matter of 8 days. For the first 4 days, we were in Melbourne. On the 4th day, we had to wake up early to catch our flight to Sydney and we spent the remaining days there.

After those 16 hours, I was finally in Melbourne. I went through baggage claim, and met up with the people I had been talking to on WhatsApp for months.

From there we hopped onto the shuttles and were taken for a tour of Melbourne. While there I met a couple of the people in my groupchat.

While on this trip, I quickly realized that the program wasn’t limited to just PTK students across the nation, but it was open to students from all over the world!

This is me and my friend from South Africa!
(from Left to right; starting with me): New Jersey, Washington, Texas, British Columbia, South Africa, California, Nevada.
This is all of us at the University of Melbourne!

Around this time, it was Australia’s fall, so it came as a surprise to me, where summer was just starting, to transition to sweater weather in May.

In the daytime, we had a schedule set for us to go to workshops and opportunities to network like crazy.

We learned how the politics and history of a country affect businesses. We did pitching to real-world clients as well, which was so cool!

There was this one workshop we did, where we learned about brand planning and how the right brand could generate more awareness to a product. That’s what ignited my love for all things PR-related.

So one of the projects that I did involved a PSA on binge drinking with my group

I could go on for days about what workshops we did. but lets go into the next question.

What did I do in Melbourne?

Aside from all the workshops in the daytime, we had the freedom to do whatever for dinner, for drinks, etc.

On our first night in Melbourne, a good 16 of us went out to chin-chins and it was DELICIOUS.

My go-to at any chinese/thai restaurant has gotta be pad thai!

I learned that Melbourne was relatively easy to navigate. It is considered the 6th largest city in Australia.

All of the main streets have little versions of the streets.

We went sightseeing during the day. At night, I noticed that the city itself was organized. Like each area of Melbourne was either the chinese section, the thai section, the greek section, etc. So it was really cool to see how each section has their own restaurants and businesses.

What did you do Sydney?

In the daytime, we all visited the Sydney Opera house. What a surreal experience.

Sometime during the time we were there, we had the opportunity to visit this wildlife conservatory about an hour away from Sydney, in a tiny town called Calga. While we were there, we saw kangaroos and wallabies roaming free about in the park.

At night, a group of us went on the Sydney Bridge climb! This is an excursion that was so fun, but be prepared to climb and conquer your fear of heights.

(from left to right; where each of us is from): New Jersey, South Africa, New Jersey, British Columbia, Australia.

Around this time, we were in Sydney right as the Vivid Festival was happening. The Vivid Festival was a lights festival that happened around the main hub of Sydney, basically where the Opera house is.

It was so beautiful to see the city all lit up.

Shortly after the climb, a couple of us went to a local food truck park and got some really good treats!

The next night, a group of us all went out to the Vivid Festival and saw what it was all about.

From Left to Right: Texas, Texas, Washington, United Arab Emirates, Massachusetts, South Africa, New Jersey, Tennessee.

Even though there were a ton of people, it was absolutely beautiful to walk around and take in the nightlife that was Vivid Sydney. If y’all ever get the chance to go to the Vivid Festival in Sydney, definitely do it!

What’s one takeaway from your trip?

Wow! There are just so many, but one takeaway from the trip was how important it was to stay true to yourself.

Australia taught me how much better it was to just be your authentic self. I learned so much and I realized that there was so much good that came out of letting go of all expectations and just be.

Through that, the opportunity of traveling gave me the ultimate opportunity to grow into a better version of myself.

To this day, I am still friends with some of the people I traveled with. There are so many memories that I share with these people that I will cherish and I can’t wait until we all meet again!

My word of advice: if you’re given the opportunity to travel abroad, do it. Broaden your horizons and make the connections that will help you professionally. Your future self will thank you.

Sending a ton of light and love your way,

To catch up on all of my adventures, follow me on my Instagram: @adynamicmentality!

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