by
on June 26, 2018 on 6/26/18 from

Who knew studying and interning abroad was this much fun?!

I have been learning SO much about Australia through my study abroad and I want to discuss some of my favorite topics from the past week. I will break this up into different sections, first my tour of the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability with my class, and also the inspiring events I helped plan and attended with my internship placement at Sport NSW. 

Did you know Australia has coal mines? Because I sure didn’t! Growing up near old coal towns in Pennsylvania, I have always appreciated the rich history and lifestyle surrounding the mines and hard-working individuals that worked in them. One of my favorite things to show people when they visit me in PA is a trip to our nearest coal mine tour that actually takes you a mile into the mountain in an old mine cart! 

Some awesome info I learned at the Coal Loader Centre: it is an ex-industrial coal bunkering site located on Sydney Harbour. However, since the decline in the coal industry it has been transformed into a place which displays best-practice sustainable technology, community gardens, native bush nursery, food gardens and regenerated parklands. They have over 7000 plant beds, and have converted the old coal chutes into rain water collections and a rooftop garden. It was truly amazing to witness how an abandoned coal facility has been converted into a center for sustainability and community! There a quite a few abandoned coal plants around the US where I live, and I think this is a wonderful idea to implement into our areas.

Below I am standing in one of four tunnels where the carts used to travel through to transport the coal that came from the chutes above. Afterwards, I ran through the tunnel to the other side! My professor was so excited to see how much joy our little field-class brought me.

Meanwhile, at my internship at Sport NSW I have been busy helping with the preparations for various events, and just last week had the privilege to attend two events. The first event was an Activate Inclusion Sports Day (AISD) for school students with disabilities to attend and participate in modified versions of various sports such as soccer, rugby, cricket and goal ball. What a wonderful experience I had seeing the joy on their faces and playing along with them throughout the day. Truly an inspiring event and I learned a lot about sports that aren’t as popular in the US!

My internship has been such a hands on experience and my team has been so welcoming. Below is a photo from the AISD event with the Mayor of Campbelltown and my co-intern Catie from University of Pittsburgh. We were so excited to meet the Mayor!

The second event I attended was the Sport NSW Community Sports Awards. I had a lot of efforts aiding the team to prepare for this event and was so excited to see it all come together. I helped design the program booklet the past few weeks, set up for the event on the day of, and even had the privilege of organizing the trophies and standing behind the podium to hand each one to the Minister! The event was to honor people that have dedicated their lives to improving disability inclusion in various sports, we had over 250 people in attendance and handed out well over 30 trophies. It was inspiring to hear about the amazing things they are doing and see their passion for sports inclusiveness. Something I will never forget is watching one of the Distinguished Long Service award recipients take the stage with the most grateful smile, all for his efforts the past 70 years in the paddling and canoe sport sector. I can only imagine the countless individuals he has impacted through his career, including the positive impression he made on me. 

Below is a photo of our staff from the night of the event. Truly, I have the greatest pleasure to work with these individuals and they keep each day exciting and eventful. I was humbled by the shoutout from the CEO at the ceremony when he thanked his “bubbly American interns Catie and Jacee!”

With less than two weeks left until I return back to the states, I still have a long list of things to see and do in Sydney, so keep checking back for more!

~Jacee