Palmer White ’22
What would you do if you were given the opportunity to complete four months of your college education at a university 10,000 miles away from your current university? How would you ensure that every hour of those five months was spent doing something memorable, worthwhile, and enthralling?
Katie Haynes, psychology major and studio arts minor, spent her fall semester studying abroad in Sydney, Australia. Katie arrived in Sydney in mid-July where she spent her next four months exploring the Land Down Under—and its great surf and numerous cafes—until the program’s final days at the end of November.
Over the duration of the semester, Katie lived in Redfern—one of Sydney’s inner-city suburbs—at Urbanest, a student accommodation center. She was given the unique opportunity of living with people from a diverse range of countries, as international students accounted for the majority of Urbanest’s residents.
This experience allowed her to learn more about Australia’s vibrant culture during her time abroad, but also that of many other cities and countries as well. Urbanest’s specific location in Sydney also allowed for complete immersion, as it was surrounded by many restaurants and cafes along with impressive outdoor landscapes.
Each morning before class, Katie went to Wild Flour cafe—just a few minutes walk from Urbanest—at which both her name and usual order were known by the owner. Urbanest was also conveniently located just fifteen minutes away from the University of Sydney—where all of Katie’s classes were held.
While abroad, Katie chose to take classes that aligned with her interests, but also ones that were not available at Trinity. Although a psychology major, Katie did not enroll in any psychology courses during her time abroad. Her courses included Glass Blowing, in which her final project was to create a series of vases, Learning in Outdoor Education, including various field trips to places such as the Blue Mountains and National Parks, Sports & Learning in Australian Culture, which required attendance at many different sports games such as cricket, net ball, and rugby, and lastly Diet & Nutrition, which focused on the industry in general, while also introducing the typical Australian diet.
Each of these courses allowed her to produce art or work that she hadn’t in the past, visit inspiring landscapes, and attend unique events. In Katie’s eyes, the specificity in accordance with the distinctiveness of her courses allowed her to be academically adventurous during her time abroad.
Katie also learned outside of the classroom through her engagement with Australian culture. At the beginning of her time abroad, she purchased a surfboard. Much of her free time was spent exploring beaches while trying to master the popular Australian pastime. She also trained for the Three Bridges Run, which she ran on Nov. 3. The run allowed her to tour all of Sydney’s attractions and take in the sights of the city. Whenever Katie and her classmates were given free time, they seized the opportunity to travel.
While living in Sydney, Katie traveled to places like Thailand, Bali, Tasmania, and New Zealand, among others. A highlight for Katie included the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, Australia, where she went both sky and scuba diving. Katie’s favorite excursion was a trip to Byron Bay, where she went white water rafting.
Katie’s time in Australia has come to an end and she is back in Hartford, yet she feels more confident and independent having had the opportunity to see new places, and meet people from diverse backgrounds.