Hi! My name is Brady Arruda and I just returned from a semester abroad in Sydney, Australia in fall 2023. I am an aerospace engineering major and chose to study abroad during the fall of my junior year. I decided to study at the University of New South Wales World Partner program in Sydney as Australia is home to some of the most diverse landscapes and wildlife and would allow me to travel in a part of the world few get to travel to while still getting the engineering credits needed to stay on track for graduation.

As an engineering student, there are several challenges when it comes to studying abroad. One of the primary challenges is finding a location that offers engineering classes that Syracuse accepts credit for. Another is making sure you stay on track for graduation. Since I already knew I wanted to study abroad, I took every opportunity to take classes early allowing me more flexibility in my schedule during my junior fall semester. As easy as this may sound, there are several potential drawbacks. I needed to pack my schedule my first four semesters to achieve this and will be taking a third year class as a senior. However, I do not regret my decision for a second. The opportunity to study abroad is well worth the extra planning and commitment up front.

While abroad, I took four classes. The first consisted of an accelerated marine environment class where I got to learn all about tidal zones and the abundant marine wildlife off Sydney’s coastline. Additionally, during the traditional spring term, term 3 in Australia, I took an astronomy class for fun and two engineering classes: Fundamentals of Advanced Vibration and Fluid Mechanics for Engineers, which both counted for credit for my major.

While in Sydney, I had the chance to meet many new friends and peers. I ended up meeting three Syracuse students who I did not know before and wound up traveling all around Australia with one of them. I also met many other American students studying abroad from Miami, Duke, and even Binghamton. However, through my classes and other acquaintances I was introduced to local students who shared the best spots to eat, where to go, and even got the chance to watch the National Rugby League final with a local friend while having a home cooked Australian dinner.

While in Australia I took the chance to travel whenever I could. I visited Tasmania, the Hunter Valley, the South Island of New Zealand, Western Australia, Fiji, and the Great Barrier Reef twice! One of my favorite memories was when I went to Cairns (the city near part of the reef) and went skydiving, scuba diving, bungee jumping, and wake boarding all in one weekend. I ultimately ended up getting scuba certified in Sydney before going again in Milford Sound in New Zealand and the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.

Out of all the amazing places I visited, my favorite was the south island of New Zealand. The scenery was incredible and being able to drink glacial runoff and do cold plunges every day was very restoring. I also really enjoyed traveling New Zealand and Western Australia with my twin brother when he visited me in December. The last highlight was driving around Tasmania for 5 days in a Mystery Machine themed campervan and seeing penguins.

There are two things I highly recommend bringing besides typical clothes and toiletries. Bring a journal to write about your travels in detail as they happen so you can go back and relive your experiences. The other is to pack an empty bag, duffel size works well, so you can fill it for your return as you will accumulate more souvenirs and items throughout your travels.

One of the best parts about living in Sydney was that I lived in an off-campus apartment just 2 minutes from the beach with two people from the UK. Most nights I would find myself strolling down to relax in the sand as I looked up at the stars and listened to the waves as they rolled in. The small beach community also housed several laid back cafes and was always a fun spot to hangout on a sunny afternoon. Living with people from a different country was also very rewarding as we all learned a lot about each other’s lives back home and could hear about how life differs across countries and continents.  

Overall, studying abroad has had an immense impact on my future career path and hobbies. After spending time traveling, exploring, and meeting new people, I want to strive to make traveling a key aspect of my life. Since getting open water scuba certified as well as some specialty add-ons, I am strongly considering returning to Australia to become a certified dive master so I can lead others on dive trips and spend more time scuba diving and traveling. Additionally, I have become interested in obtaining my private pilot’s license so I may fly recreationally.

Now that I know what’s out there, I will always yearn for the feeling of uncertainty and excitement I had when I first landed in a completely unfamiliar environment. I crave the adventure of immersing myself in the unknown.

Studying abroad has taught me to always be prepared, but always be flexible. Adaptability and anticipation are key. Never stay fixed on what image or expectations others have of you and live the life that will bring you happiness and satisfaction whether physical, emotional, or otherwise.

Brady Arruda ’25

Aerospace Engineering

University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, Fall 2023