Reflections on Art and the Reef

Submitted by Kayla Haynes on the 2024 Winter ENGL program in Australia…

Last week, we visited the Museum of New and Old Art in Tasmania. Different than the museums in the United States, the Mona has a way more provocative vibe, showing a special perspective on what we would usually consider inappropriate. Our trip to the Mona proved to be an eye opening experience, especially given the low number of tourists in Tasmania. That  allowed us to engage with the locals and learn more about the different cultures. 

Photos taken in the Mona

The art venture was basically a mix of us and Tasmanian residents. Conversations with locals provided us with their perspectives on Americans. One museum-goer launched us into political discussions, suited with follow-up questions and facts unknown to many of us. Another was curious about the specific location of my residence in New York, showing a knowledge of the different boroughs without having ever been. 

Interestingly, a Tasmanian local revealed that they really only watch American shows and movies. This keeps them well-informed about our side of the world. That fact was a weird one to digest, as here we found ourselves surprised and unknowing in their environment, while they had a considerable knowledge of ours. (Submitted on January 22, 2024)

Great Barrier Reef

When you search for The Great Barrier Reef, the images you see are stunning. The coral is vibrant and the water is a brilliant turquoise. That was what I expected when we booked a trip to Cairns and a boat ride to the reef. 

Don’t misunderstand me; the reef was incredible. But, it was impossible to miss the dull colors that have seemingly infected the beautiful place. This is true worldwide, as many reefs, including the GBR, are expected to disappear by 2050. Seeing with my own eyes this phenomenon, this dying, was eye opening. It was not just me who felt this way. After our group of 14 left the excursion, we discovered that we all had this feeling of dread. 

Still, I am thankful for the experience we had. The Great Barrier Reef has lost some of its luster, but remains otherworldly. The turtles we saw and the sharks below us made the trip an adrenaline rush we did not want to lose. I would tell everyone to go see it now while it is still itself, before time and humans take away what is left of it. (Submitted on January 28, 2024)

My friend and I snorkeling and a shark that we saw.


Submitted by Isabelle Lieber on the 2024 Winter BUAD/FINC program in Thailand/Australia…

This week we traveled to Sydney Australia. The first day we went to see the opera  house and went to bondi beach. The second day we went to see pretty women in an  outside movie theatre on the water. Then the next day we went to a walkabout and  saw kangaroos and kolas. We learned how to run a walkabout and how to take care of the animals. So far, I love Australia. (Submitted on January 22, 2024)

First Week in Sydney!

Submitted by Anna Hintz on the 2024 Winter NURS program in Sydney, Australia…

I had a great first week in the land down under! After the long 17 hour flight to Sydney, we wasted no time to start exploring the city. My roommate and I started off the trip by stopping by Bondi Beach to get some sun. We were very surprised by how easy it is to use public transportation in the city! We mainly use the train and the bus to get around. The next day, I finally got to see the famous Sydney Opera House and explore the historical Rocks. We also toured the Botanical Gardens within the city. We learned about the native flora and fauna and the healing properties they offer to the Australians. We even got to taste some plants and berries! I was very excited to learn about Australian healthcare during our visit to the Ministry of Health and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. It was interesting to hear how different their nursing programs are compared to the United States. Can’t wait for this upcoming week of adventures! (Submitted on January 21, 2024)

Simulation room in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

The Blue Mountains

Submitted by Emma Morandi on the 2024 Winter HOSP program in Australia

We took a trip to the Blue Mountains to see Australian animals and some beautiful views. We first stopped at the Featherdale Wildlife Park and I was stunned by the amount of animals I didn’t know. I loved getting to pet all the animals, especially the kangaroos. All the animals were very friendly and came right up to us. We got back on the bus and hiked the Blue Mountains. The views were beyond incredible and I learned so much about the indigenous people of Australia. We learned what plants were used for medicinal purposes and how rocks made paint for the tribes. It was breathtaking and I loved getting to see the waterfalls. The water was so fresh and felt amazing in the Australian heat. (Submitted on January 21, 2024)

The City of Sydney

Submitted by Alyson Markley on the 2024 Winter HOSP program in Australia

This week we wrapped up our time in Manly which was the best beach town I have ever been to. After staying there for 2 weeks I grew very comfortable with the town and knowing where things were. Before transferring to staying in Sydney we had one of my favorite days so far. We went to the Featherdale Wildlife Reserve and afterwards we went for a hike at the Blue Mountains. We had the opportunity to see some animals that are native to Australia and pet them too. I had the opportunity to pet a kangaroo and koala which is something I never expected to experience. We had some of the coolest views during our hike, this was by far one of my favorite days. After this we had a free weekend in Sydney just to explore the city. We spent most of our time walking around and shopping, but tonight we went to see Gatsby at the Sydney Opera House. This was such a crazy experience and I am so glad we took the time to go. Tomorrow we fly out to New Zealand for the rest of our trip! (Submitted on January 21, 2024)

Keeping Busy in Sydney

View from the rocks at Gordon’s Bay

Submitted by Matt Sternheim on the 2024 Winter BUAD program in Sydney, Australia…

Having been in Sydney for over two weeks now, it amazes me how every day is a new adventure in and of itself. With that being said, almost everything I have been doing is a unique experience that I will not have the opportunity to do once I am back home. From working at my internship, trying new restaurants, to going on amazing adventures, Sydney keeps surprising me day in and day out with what it has to offer. My friends and I have decided to waste no time and do something meaningful everyday, as we know our time here is extremely limited. Over the past week, while it is certainly hard to choose, my favorite experience was taking the coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee beach, where we experienced amazing views, met new people, and hung out at Gordon’s bay. Other journeys I found myself on were eating dinner at the Sydney Opera House, attending a wine tasting, and even playing pool at my internship office. With two weeks left here, I already know it will be hard to say goodbye, but nonetheless could not be more excited for what’s to come! (Submitted on January 21, 2024)

Beginning of Sydney

Submitted by Lindsey Berger on the 2024 Winter NURS program in Sydney, Australia…

The botanical garden

My program began this week in Sydney. This city is amazing and has shocked me so far. We began with the tour of the Rocks, and then went to the Botanical Gardens. We had an Aboriginal tour guide who taught us about their connection to the plants and land. Since it is a nursing program, the next day we toured a hospital and saw a huge dialysis unit. I was so impressed. Overall, this week I have been amazed by the city. The clean and safe environment is refreshing in a city. Public transportation has been very easy and clean. Everyone here has been very nice and willing to help out a tourist. So far loving Sydney! (Submitted on January 17, 2024)

Amazing food

Submitted by Emma Morandi on the 2024 Winter HOSP program in Sydney, Australia…

Most of our class time is learning about different cultures and cuisines but the best part of this trip is actually experiencing the food. The food I have eaten in Australia is some of the best I’ve ever had. The food is all fresh and tastes amazing. I like how the proportion sizes are smaller but still fills you up without making you feel sick after eating greasy food. The service here is so amazing and it’s not common to tip. One of my favorite meals so far is from a dumpling bar directly on the water. I got chicken soup dumplings and fried shrimp dumplings. They were the most flavorful dumplings I’ve ever had and tasted so fresh and homemade. I have tried many new foods that I would have never tried like raw fish and steak and different types of vegetables and I’m pleased to say I’ve enjoyed most of them! (Submitted on January 15, 2024)

Westminster Abbey’s Lady Chapel

Submitted by Kayla Haynes on the 2024 Winter JOUR program in Australia…

Penguins on their way to find their young in the burrows

The Phillip Island Penguin Parade provided an extraordinary and unforgettable experience. Witnessing nature in such a carefully protected environment felt like a once-in-a- lifetime moment. Thanks to human intervention, predators on the island had been successfully eliminated, allowing the penguins to thrive. As the sun dipped below the horizon, over a thousand penguins emerged, all with a singular mission – reuniting with their offspring.

The area was filled with the cries of the penguin chicks, serving as a call for their parents to locate their burrows across the large field and beach. Observing these beautiful moments of reunion between two living beings left a lasting impression. Phillip Island, an example of pristine wilderness in Australia, showcased the beauty of untouched nature. Seeing the Cape Barren Goose drove that home.

These creatures exhibited no fear in the presence of humans, standing firm even in the face of our large tour bus. While it was inconvenient to find ourselves parked mid-street due to the determined bird, there was a certain charm. Unlike situations where animals flee human presence in fear, here, we felt a deep connection with nature, granted the privilege of witnessing it unfold in its unadulterated state. (Submitted on January 14, 2024)

First Full Week

Submitted by Alyson Markley on the 2024 Winter HSBM program in Australia…

This was my first full week in Australia, but also probably one of the busiest weeks of my life. Every day was full of a different adventure. We went to many different places this week like the Sydney Opera House as seen in that photo. We also walked through the Sydney botanical gardens and we were able to tour the inside of the opera house which was so interesting to see inside. We traveled to the Hunter Valley which is a large region where there are tons of vineyards. We visited 5 different vineyards and tried tons of different wines along with some very different foods to pair with our wines. Many of these foods I have been trying recently are foods I never thought I liked before but I have tried everything and been very surprised! This week we have another packed week of new experiences and tons of new foods! (Submitted on January 14, 2024)