‘Immersing Myself into a Vibrant City’ Zander Kieu '20 highlights his first three months in Sydney as part of the Sydney Study Abroad and Internship Program.
My first three months in Sydney have been a blast, and I am so eager to immerse myself further into the culture of this great and vibrant city. On weekdays, when I don’t have my internship, I usually pick up a coffee cup from Chambers Fine Coffee shop just around the corner of Haymarket and a fresh Banh Mi from a local store on George Street before going to class tutorials. I am truly grateful to Global Academic Adventure, our program partner, for setting us up in some of the most convenient student accommodations in the city. As a huge international food enthusiast, I can try cuisines from different countries aside from Australia like Korea, Thailand, China, Malaysia and so on, all of which are within walking distance. My favorite Australian dish so far is Kangaroo steak, but this country has so much more to offer, especially for those who have a sweet tooth. If you have a chance to visit the Down Under, I would recommend getting some Tim Tam and Lamington. The street food market is also very popular in Sydney, where it is not surprising to see a long line of people in Chinatown waiting to be served purple rice yogurt.
The Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program gives students a golden opportunity to experience an internship while taking at least three classes at the University of Sydney – one of the most prestigious universities in Australia. I am really enjoying my classes, especially Film Studies because I am able to explore a variety of classic movies of different genres. At first, I was not accustomed to the typical large class size offered, a stark contrast to Washington and Lee’s. Nevertheless, I found the tutorial sessions particularly helpful, where students are divided into smaller groups of 20 people to discuss lectures and work on assignments.
Every Tuesday and Friday, I work in Allen Partners, a small financial advisory company that specializes in both domestic and international pension fund investments, as an analyst intern. I am truly thankful for my internship experience because I get to learn about new exciting business and ideas every day. When my supervisor has a business meeting to get a deal for the company, he usually invites me to come over to listen and take notes. This opportunity to see a deal being made in real life is extremely valuable for my professional growth. The workload for me is bearable, and I appreciate applying concepts and knowledge that I learned from classes at Washington and Lee to my internship assignments. I was very glad that I could also offer some new perspectives while doing several desktop researches for the company, and many of which was thanks to referring back to the notes taken from W&L’s business classes.
One of my delightful memories in Australia is when I visited my distant uncle’s big family in Adelaide during Lunar New Year’s Eve. He migrated from Viet Nam to Australia during the 90s, and it’s always impossible for my family to see his family. Nevertheless, thanks to this trip, I was able to meet and reconnect with a lot of cousins and their kids, almost 70 of them. We together celebrated a truly joyous family gathering and watched firework near a Vietnamese community’s pagoda. That was truly a once in a lifetime moment for me. I have really enjoyed my time in Australia, and I know I will be very sad to leave this country in two months. I hope that more W&L students become aware of this wonderful program and consider it as a study abroad option.