Erica is from Lakeville, Minnesota and went to Sydney, Australia to complete an internship in Finance and Accounting.
How do you feel looking back on your experience in Australia?
I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to live in such an extraordinary country. I had unforgettable experiences and met people that forever changed my perspective on life.
Did you have any reservations before leaving for Australia?
I was worried about meeting people in Australia without being enrolled in school, but was quick to meet friends at my internship and outside of work.
What was your first impression of Australia and how did your first impressions/nervousness (if any) change from when you arrived to when you left?
At first I was uncomfortable with making this foreign city my new home, but once I started exploring the city and meeting new people, my opinion quickly changed.
Tell me about your internship.
I worked in the finance and accounting department with three others. There I worked closely with others to learn the ins and outs of the business. I learned how to reconcile and balance accounts, enter invoices, and analyze the profit and loss statement.
Tell me about a typical day for you from the time you got up until the time you went to sleep.
Typically, I would wake up around 7 and speak with my family, boyfriend, or friends before I went to work. I would arrive at 8:30 and spend the morning reconciling the bank accounts. I would then take my hour break for lunch and return to work to enter invoices and complete any other miscellaneous tasks my team had for me. I would leave work at 5 and go home to make dinner, work out and spend time with my roommates and friends. I would usually be in bed by 11.
How did you get around? (i.e. going to your internship, traveling, going to a store…etc.)
I used the public transportation to get everywhere, including taking the bus to work. It took me a while to figure out, but there are useful phone apps to help.
What made you want to intern abroad and specifically why in Australia?
I had a few months off after graduation and before starting my full-time career, so I knew I wanted to travel somewhere. While abroad, I was interested in continuing to learn about my future career and thought an internship would be helpful. I chose Australia because it is a country I have always wanted to visit.
How did your time in Australia impact you? What do you carry with you now because of this experience?
I have a differing perspective of everything from politics to food to religion. I now carry a differing view of the world and a love of travel.
What are you doing now? Do you have future travels plans?
I am now preparing to start my career within Deloitte Consulting.
What advice would you give someone traveling abroad?
Be willing to step out of your comfort zone to meet people and take on new experiences.
Number one story you love to tell about your time abroad:
I got the chance to snorkel with bio-luminescent plankton off Maya Bay in Thailand. It was incredible seeing them light up around you in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Number one challenge about being abroad:
The time difference and work made it very hard to communicate with people at home.
Most important thing you gained from your time abroad:
A vacation from life as I knew it and a perspective that I will carry with me forever.
Anything you learned about yourself, US culture, etc?
I learned that I am capable of finding energy and enjoyment in being alone, and I plan to do much more independent travel throughout my life.