University of Sydney Short-Term Programme
18 March 2019
Luca from Laws was awarded a place on the Sydney Short-Term Programme through our tuition fee free scheme. Read more about his experiences in Australia here.
Luca Britos, Laws
As an Italian attending university in London, I have discovered that studying abroad is both a challenging and a rewarding experience: it not only gives you new perspectives but also challenges your customs and beliefs. At the end of my first year, I received another opportunity to explore the world and challenge myself: the UCL Study Abroad Office selected me to attend the University of Sydney short-term summer programme. I was offered a full tuition waiver and a UCL Global Experience bursary to cover living costs.
The programme particularly interested me because I could study Macroeconomics and Cross-Cultural Management—subjects that always intrigued me but ones that, as a law student, I would not study as part of my degree at UCL. I had just spent an entire academic year away from home; choosing to travel to yet another country, instead of spending time with my family and friends, was not easy. Nonetheless, my curiosity to experience something new in a country as far away and as unique as Australia won me over. I promised my Italian family and friends that I would spend the rest of the summer with them, and I accepted the offer. I am glad that I did!
Sydney is a very multicultural city that has been formed by waves of immigration. My accommodation was in Haymarket, a suburb that includes much of Sydney’s Chinatown, which is a melting pot of cultures and traditions. I found this quite interesting. Diversity is highly valued in Sydney; there are a number of festivals and TV programmes that acknowledge and show appreciation of this multicultural environment. It was fascinating to see how people created that synergy of cultures and traditions, which ultimately powers Australian society. I shared my flat with American, Chinese and German students. Spending time with people from other parts of the world not only helped me to learn about different cultures but also to understand better my own culture and personality. Sometimes this can be really challenging, especially if you try to universalise your own culture and expect everybody to behave like you do. After some initial struggles, however, it is a rewarding and life-changing experience that transforms you into a better person.
Studying Cross-Cultural Management enhanced my growing appreciation of diversity. I learned about real-life cases of companies that had fallen short in appreciating diversity and how this failure could have been fixed. Moreover, learning how to value diversity in a corporate environment and how to negotiate across different cultures is a fundamental skill for my generation’s future career in this globalised world. Studying Macroeconomics similarly helped me to better understand real scenarios to which the law can be applied. Law is not to be applied in a vacuum but in a commercial environment, which a lawyer must understand to fulfil the client’s needs.
Of course, I also had some fun during my time abroad! The University of Sydney staff organised multiple excursions that allowed me to explore Sydney and other parts of Australia. I particularly enjoyed the Harbour Cruise and the Vivid Festival Walking Tour, where art and technology intersected in a glamorous show of lights. It was thought-provoking to see how art changes with advancements in technology—and how technology ultimately affects everything we do.
This short-term study abroad experience contributed to my personal growth and enhanced my appreciation for diversity. I was able to explore new subjects, which furthered my academic interests and gave me new career and life skills. The experience overall made me a better and more complete person by shifting some of my perspectives, both academic and personal. If you are a prospective short-term study abroad student, be aware that it can be challenging at times. The programme takes up six weeks of your summer holiday and requires you to adapt to a new environment in a short amount of time. Nonetheless, it is definitely worthwhile; you will keep and value this experience for the rest of your life!