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IES Abroad: University of Sydney
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Mykaihla Sternick

Major: Philosophy
Minor: Chemistry
Hometown: Pottsville, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this experience primarily through my own research. After attending the Penn State education abroad fair, I learned about IES Abroad, and developed an interest in their programs. Once I found the program in Sydney, I immediately knew this was a great fit for me.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I came to Sydney, Australia in February ready to embark on a journey that I had been looking forward to for much of my life; studying abroad. I have been able study at one of the world's most prestigious universities, explore an amazing city that I am able to call home, and travel around Australia and Oceana. The University campus is so beautiful, it rivals Penn State! Living right off campus in the Sydney University Village puts me in the heart of the cultural scene in Newtown, a unique, up-and-coming suburb of Sydney. The courses I am taking give me a great perspective on differences in learning environments all over the world, while teaching me a huge amount of cultural lessons.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, this experience has impacted me more than I had ever expected. Studying in courses such as Biology and Philosophy, which I often take at Penn State, has shown me the differences in culture, people, and academics. The way students see their academics here is much different, as they focus on one area for most of their academic career. This differs from the American system where we value a more well-rounded education, making me appreciate it all the more.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My future goals are to attend medical school following my graduation from Penn State. After that, I plan to become a surgeon. This experience has given me so much perspective on my future. Not only has it made me to consider coming to Australia to study further, but the experience has taught me unparalleled lessons about people, cultures, and life. Seeing people from all around the world has been a greater motivation to become a doctor who understands more than just medicine, but also, and perhaps more importantly, humanity. I am so grateful to have this opportunity to say that I have studied with people all around the world.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

This experience has been second to none, and I would encourage any student seeking to continue learning to partake in an experience such as this. It offers opportunities that cannot be obtained in any other way. Liberal arts students are already able to see the world in multiple ways, so adding a whole new perspective is of so much value.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

I am so grateful to the Paterno Fellows Program, not only for their generous financial aid that helped me to partake in this abroad experience, but also for the academics that the program has exposed me to. The learning experiences such as guest lectures and courses that are recommended have given me a great foundation for this cultural, academic, and mental journey.

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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