When I started my first year of uni, I was nervous. As I walked onto the campus for the first time since I had received my acceptance email, I had no idea what I was getting into. That first semester was a low point for me. I watched as deadlines passed me by while I made no attempt to change my situation. Looking back now, I understand that I was mentally drained. I had completed high school and threw myself into another three years of learning with no hesitation.
Eventually, I realised I needed a break to get out of the cycle I was stuck in. This acceptance of my situation led to me having long conversations with my dad about the future. Offhandedly, he mentioned our cousins in USA were asking about me. A few weeks later on university break, I jetted off to the United States of America on my own. Now, this isn’t me. I never do adventurous trips like this, especially not alone. However, I knew I needed perspective and maybe USA was the place I could find it.
First, I landed in New York. I still distinctly remember listening to Empire State of Mind by Jay Z and Alicia Keys as I walked off the plane because I was really that cheesy. What followed was a whirlwind of adventure. I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) where I saw the most stunning paintings. I spent four hours there and never made it past level two. I ate pizza at midnight in Times Square and saw touristy sights like the Rockefeller Plaza and visited the Highline.
After spending almost a week in New York, I caught a bus to Virginia and spent time with my extended family. There, my cousins showed me the hustle and bustle of Washington DC including the renowned National Museum of Natural History. Later on, I went on a mini trip with my aunt to Niagara Falls. I remember watching the water and feeling so happy I was able to experience this moment.
Heading to back to Sydney, I no longer felt drained. In fact, I felt invigorated to learn as I had gained perspective beyond myself and had a much-deserved break. Now, I am in my last semester of uni and have become a proud member of the Global Leadership Program since the latter half of 2019. While reflecting on the past few years, I realise how important GLP could have been for me during my struggles at university. I was privileged to have the opportunity to venture overseas and learn but there are opportunities for these types of experiences through GLP. If I had known about the program back in 2016, I could have spent a whole semester abroad. My years at university and GLP have taught me the importance of travelling overseas and opening up to new adventures.
Right now, life during a global pandemic means we can’t go anywhere but that hasn’t stopped me from visiting overseas, at least virtually. Through GLP, I have had the opportunity to participate in Airbnb virtual tours. By attending these tours online, I was able to discover the secrets of Paris, France and understand the history behind the gorgeous wonders of Lisbon, Portugal. I feel extremely lucky to have been part of the Global Leadership Program and I would definitely recommend it to everyone.