BU Abroad: A Sydney Perspective
A transformative semester in “no worries” Australia
In the video above, IR major Chase Szakmary (CAS’10) talks about his lifelong desire to see Australia, the value of studying abroad, and enjoying life’s surprises.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted to go to Australia,” says Chase Szakmary. “I’ve seen pictures. I’ve seen magazines. All the coolest people come from Australia: surfers and Hugh Jackman…Wolverine!”
In spring 2009, Szakmary (CAS’10) finally got his wish: he traveled halfway around the world to study abroad in BU’s Sydney Internship Program. Not only was his experience a dream come true—it was also a semester of transformation.
Aussies are well-known for their “no worries” approach to life, and the maxim soon became a mantra for Szakmary. Whether he was preparing for regattas at his sailing internship, taking a class on Australian culture, or surfing with friends at one of Sydney’s famous beaches, the international relations major learned the simplicity of enjoying life.
“The whole human condition is inherently different over there,” Szakmary says. “I can really appreciate a place like Australia, where you work to live and not the other way around. I think we get sucked in to this 9-to-5 mentality, where you have to bust your ass to live a happy life, and it’s not true. You can do what you want and have fun. You may not make that six-figure salary, but you can still be happy.”
Szakmary, who hopes to start his own business one day, returned home, but with great reluctance. “The ‘no worries’ mentality has empirically become more difficult to maintain,” he says. “Not a day goes by that I’m not swept with a sobering moment of nostalgia for Australia. And it’s not that I won’t go back—it’s just that it won’t ever be the same.
“The people and the place—it was all perfect.”
Alan Wong can be reached at email@example.com.
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