Since we were last in contact, unfortunately not much has happened in terms of fun activities worth sharing: I decided to spend this past weekend enjoying the hot weather in the comfort of my air conditioned apartment while battling a brutal sunburn I got while snorkeling on Friday. This weekend however, I’m very excited for what I have planned, as this activity is taking me completely out of my comfort zone in which I am eager to report back on this experience after the trip is concluded.
This past Thursday night my program hosted their Mid-term dinner as strange as that may sound. I can hardly believe how fast this semester has been flying by, and it nearly brings a tear to my eye acknowledging that I only have about 5 weeks left until I return home to the United States. Given this semester is halfway over, I think now would be a great time to look back and reflect on both the soft and hard skills I’ve been able to develop through my experiences thus far.
Although there have been many skills I’ve acquired/been able to develop throughout this semester, if I were to pick the top 3 most influential, they would have to be my cross-cultural communication, my work-life balance, and my technical skills. In terms of my cross-cultural communication, despite this being the cliche/go-to option, it very much remains a valid one. Every day I find myself interacting with individuals from other cultures with different backgrounds whether it be my professors, my co-workers, other students in my program, or random individuals I encounter in public such as the barista at my favorite coffee shop I chat with when I go in. From prior experiences, I’ve come to see how beneficial developing this skill can prove to be, so I’m very grateful to have yet another experience traveling abroad where development is quite effortless and naturally occurring. One aspect of Australian culture I’ve grown to really appreciate is their strictness with a good work-life balance. When you are off work, there is no obligation to be making phone calls or checking your email as you should be spending time relaxing with family and friends doing what you love. As this is much different than in the United States where you are never really off the clock, it’s been very nice to be able to spend my free time without thinking of work as I can then be fully present in whatever I happen to be doing. Lastly, developing my technical skills was one of the biggest goals I had coming into this semester, and I believe I’ve made great progress so far. In my mind, improving skills like these will not only make me a more attractive applicant for internships and jobs down the road, but will also allow me to work more efficiently in future positions in which I will be able to further bring value back to my firm.
With already so much progress thus far into my program, I’m excited to see how much more can be accomplished in these remaining 5 weeks. With that said, to help push me towards further improvement in these three areas, I’ve come up with a few goals I want to achieve come my departure on April 22nd. The first is in relation to cross-cultural communication, and through regular practice, I hope to increase my awareness and cultural sensitivity. Yes, this will certainly be hard to measure in terms of succeeding, but without a doubt something that if achieved will help me in all aspects of my future whether it be in the social or professional world. As for the work-life balance, I’m hoping to have this naturally integrated into my daily routine in which it will not only promote productivity and efficiency while working, but also allow me to devote time outside the office to doing what I love over in the United States. Lastly, I hope to further practice my technical skills and ideally make some of the shortcuts on Excel instinctive which will be very helpful in many situations I may find myself in down the road.
I will be sure to check back in on my last blog post regarding updated results, and I look forward to all there is to come in the second half of my semester in Sydney.
Till Next Time,