CAS '21 Mercedes Chavez

SA: Cambridge University, Pembroke College
GRIP: Intern in Australia

Programs Abroad:

  • Semester Abroad (SA): University of Cambridge, Pembroke College

  • Global Research & Internship Program (GRIP): United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia

Ask me about...

  • Being abroad for the first time (it was my first time being out of the country)

  • Working and living on your own

  • Being a minority in a foreign country

  • How Political Science can be a suitable major for a business internship

  • Doing both GRIP and a Semester Abroad program

  • How to continue being involved in clubs on campus while being abroad

My Experience Abroad:

I interned at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. The internship complemented my academic studies perfectly because I am currently concentrating in American politics and it not only educated me more about American politics as a whole but also more about foreign policy and how Australia views America which I found to be a very useful viewpoint to understanding more about the issues in the Indo-Pacific. I was even able to do my own research to learn more about social security which was a topic that I had been studying in my public policy class. I also was able to sit in on research events where they discussed foreign political theory that I had learned about in a prior class.

Other Highlights:

  • One huge highlight from my experience was seeing an opera at the Sydney Opera House. It was a brand new opera about an Australian artist that the opera company was debuting after 10 years. It was an amazing experience to be able to not only view a show in the opera house but to also get a glimpse into the art of opera and Australian culture.

  • Another highlight from my experience was going on my first hike ever while in the Blue Mountains. I have never been an athletic person but while in Australia I realized that the population tended to be more athletic and outdoorsy than I was used to. I spent the summer working out at the apartment gym and was able to finally feel capable and comfortable doing a hike. My friends and I were able to do the four-hour hike in an hour and a half. It was a rewarding experience and the nature was breathtaking.

  • Finally, one other highlight was being able to be published on the USSC website for my op-ed on social security retirement benefits in the US and how its equivalent works in Australia. It required a lot of research on my part to learn the ins and outs of the systems. However, it was very rewarding to be able to inform others about a topic that usually isn't in the minds of my peers.

On the Penn Abroad Blog:

Research Perspectives

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