By Sofiya Mahdi, Staff Writer

Sydney boasts a beautiful coastline/PHOTO VIA Sofiya Mahdi

I had not anticipated how much Sydney would get under my skin. Calling London home, going to school in Boston, spending the spring in Washington, D.C. and  having lived in Dubai and Geneva as well, I figured I was a professional at diving headfirst into the unknown and being unfazed by the whole ordeal. Spending a few days in Singapore before braving the fog to eventually land in Sydney, I looked forward to interning at a think tank on international policy, learning about sustainable urban design in class and throwing myself into unfamiliar surroundings.

Despite being geographically isolated on a map, the city still seemed connected to the rest of the world. The pulse that courses through any major city’s veins is still present here. There was one difference: our internet connection was terrible. It may seem a trivial detail, but this essentially cut me off from my home and school ties and forced me to really admire where I was, reflect on where I’ve been and who I’ve discovered myself to be these past few weeks.

Whether it was snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef, wine tasting in the Hunter Valley, having food thrown into my mouth at Benihana on the Gold Coast or watching the sunset behind the Sydney Opera House, I never anticipated my Australian experience to be one that impacted me this much. As I held a warm, soft koala in my arms I turned to grin like an idiot at the waiting camera. It may have only been eight weeks of my life, but the connection I made with that city and the snippets of the country is one that I will never forget.

As I landed back at London Heathrow, the past two months almost didn’t seem real. But I know my love for Sydney had only just begun.