Fate played a hand in leading me to the BU Sydney Programs. My doctorate, subsequently published and short-listed for Australia’s National Biography Award, had focused on a local Aussie writer, Sumner Locke Elliott. Because his books were so Australian, I was surprised to learn that Elliott’s works and papers were held in Boston University’s Mugar Collections Library, generally acknowledged to house the best literary collections of the 20th century. Elliott was in good company.
In 1990, on my first trip to America, I went to New York City to interview Elliott who was, by then, a longtime resident of the city. I also took the train to Boston to the BU campus and Mugar Library. My next years were spent teaching literature and creative writing in Australian universities and writing several children’s books. In 1998, I was offered a position on the Boston University Sydney Program. It was at this point, when reconnecting with BU, that I felt my life returning to “true north.” This feeling was reinforced by the fact that Dr. Howard Gotlieb, Mugar’s founding collections curator, acted as my referee for the job. Yes, fate played a hand.
Those who are born and raised in Sydney are called “Sydneysiders.” We take pride in the Harbour and the Bridge and the Opera House, as if they belong to us. Over the years since joining the BU Sydney Programs, I’ve noticed how this city gets into the blood of our students; they form an affection for Sydney which neither time nor distance can diminish. They may have graduated, established careers, married, entered law or medical schools; yet always, Sydney alumni maintain their hope of coming back to Oz. And many do return—to work or holiday in this place they think of as a second home. They are happy to be considered honorary Sydneysiders. I understand how they feel; I too, have a sense of homecoming on my return to Boston where I have found a second sense of home.
There are many exceptional reasons to spend a semester abroad on the BU Sydney Programs: the location, the faculty and staff, the culture, our own BU campus. I hope you can join us in Oz. Perhaps, you too might have a story to tell.