I had always wanted to go to Australia even before choosing to study abroad in the country. I had heard that it was a place full of adventure. I left home without any expectations but I just knew deep down that everything was going to be great…and it was.

I really did the majority of my travel planning once I got to Australia. I talked to locals and some friends who had traveled during previous semesters, and this helped me come up with a few places that I wanted to visit. That said, I did have a short list of “bucket list” items I was not going to leave Australia without doing. I wanted to dive on the Great Barrier Reef, take a picture with a kangaroo and climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge. It’s such an incredible and iconic landmark. I had seen it in the Australia episode of Modern Family and it’s on TV every year covered in fireworks for New Year’s Eve – I had to climb that bridge!

Over the lecture recess I traveled to Sydney for six days with a couple friends. As soon as I figured out my flights, I immediately purchased my BridgeClimb Sydney ticket.

Photo by TEAN Alum Justine Loi, University of Massachusetts – Amherst

On the first day of our trip, my friends and I went straight to the harbor to see the famous Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. I knew the bridge was massive, but I did not realize how incredibly huge it was until I was standing right next to it. I looked up at a line of people climbing and, at over 440 feet in the air, they resembled a trail of ants. I have to admit, my hands started to sweat, but I was excited.

People who look like tiny ants on the bridge | Photo by TEAN Alum Jocelyn Dansey, University of Pittsburgh

The climb itself was one of my most memorable experiences in Sydney. I remember at first being a little bit nervous. It was loud when we started climbing, and I was trying to make sure that I was doing all the things we were taught in our training; I kept making sure that everything was clipped properly and that I was leaving enough space for the people in front of me and behind me. I was listening to the guide and doing really well, but I was still feeling a little shaky.

Then I remember coming to the top of the ladders and looking out over the entire city. I could see boats in the harbor and the entire skyline including the Sydney Opera House. I remember the guide checking in with everyone as we started the next part of the climb. He asked me how I was doing, and with the biggest smile on my face I remember just saying, “This is so cool.” The nerves were gone. I was soaking it all in.

When we finished the climb and were back on the ground, I messaged home to let my family know I was back, that I had a great time and I couldn’t wait to tell them all about it. I will never forget my mom’s reply. It was five words, but they were the perfect summary. “You just lived your dream.”

Tricia Temple is a TEAN Alum and student at Colby-Sawyer College. She studied abroad with TEAN in Townsville, Australia. Are you thinking about studying or interning abroad in Sydney? Ask us any questions you have on these programs.