What our students did between semesters

21 July 2016

Each July our students disperse across Australia and the globe, taking advantage of University-provided opportunities or their own intiative to make the most of their winter break. We asked some of our students what they got up to between semesters.

I launched a nanosatellite

Jordan Jolly and Sydney Uni teammates competed in the Inter-collegiate Rocket Engineering (IREC) Competition in North America.

Jordan Jolly, Bachelor of Engineering (Space)/ Bachelor of Arts V

“Our Sydney Uni team (consisting of Brian Lee and myself) designed and built an experimental nanosatellite which was placed and launched in a sounding rocket built by the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Being able to work and launch rockets with so many people from different countries and universities was a great experience.”

I played the piano in Verona

Josephine Flores Tan visited Venice as part of the Estivo European Chamber Music Summer School.

Josephine Flores Tan, Master of Master of Music Studies (Performance) II

“I was very fortunate to spend my university break in Italy, attending the Estivo European Chamber Music Summer School with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. It was such an amazing time and we had fantastic tutors from all over the world giving us masterclasses and tutorials. We also had free time most nights to explore Verona and a day trip to Venice!”

I obtained some research experience at Westmead Hospital

Jason Luong spent time at Westmead Hospital as part of the Talented Students Program

Jason Luong, Bachelor of Medical Sciences III

“Over the break I’ve had the opportunity to work as a researcher at Westmead Hospital, supervised by Dr Helen Williams, a hospital scientist researching the mechanisms of cardiovascular disease. I’m enrolled in the Faculty of Science’s Talented Student Program, which gives me the opportunity to undertake research projects as credited units of study.”

I mentored Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students

Chris O’Donnell, (second from left) was a mentor for Compass' Wingara Mura - Bunga Barrabagu winter program.

Chris O’Donnell, Bachelor of Arts III

“Being involved in the Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu winter school was an extremely rewarding experience. It’s a privilege working with these inspiring and one day influential Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young men and women. They come together from various states and territories to achieve one collective goal: education.”


I entered a meat judging competition

Melanie Smith with the the Sydney Uni team came second at the annual Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging Competition.

Melanie Smith, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Veterinary Science

“Over the break I went to Wagga to coach a team from the Faculty of Veterinary Science in the annual Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging Competition. The week was full of interesting seminars about the red meat industries and finished off with a careers expo and a competition in judging lamb, pork and beef carcasses. The Sydney Uni team had its most successful year at the competition and were overall runners up!”

I interned at the Sydney Morning Herald

Swetha Das got some industry experience as an intern journalist.

Swetha Das, Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) III

“This semester break I had the opportunity to intern at Fairfax Media.  I was able to write articles on a range of topics such as mental health for young people, federal politics (I was there during the elections, it was beautiful) and consumer affairs. I've never learnt so much, so quickly.”

I studied women’s rights in Indonesia

Ciaan Perera studied in Jakarta with a group from the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre.

Ciaan Perera, Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) IV

“During my holiday, I looked at the work being done to empower women and reduce the gender differences in Indonesia. I stayed for one week in Jakarta with a group from the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre to get an overview of the issues and then we travelled onto Sulawesi and undertook more focused research placements with NGOs.”

I rode the world’s scariest rollercoaster

Emily Sears was one of 20 Master of Management students studying in China.

Emily Sears, Master of Management

"During the break 20 Master of Management students have been completing their Business in China unit of study in China. It has been a non-stop week so far, jam-packed with government meetings, classes, university visits, shopping and a VIP tour of Dinosaur Land including Dinoconda - the 4D roller coaster that has been described as one of the scariest in the world.”

I volunteered in Cambodia

Callum Ryan mentored students from his old high school on a humanitarian trip to Cambodia.

Callum Ryan, Bachelor of Commerce/ Bachelor of Arts V

“During the winter break I spent 3 weeks on a humanitarian immersion in Cambodia, with a group of current students from my old high school. It was a great way to develop a renewed appreciation of life in Australia, and gave me a chance to 'reset' between the stress of university semesters while making a tangible difference to the Khmer people.”

I worked with a former astronaut

Nikita Sardesai (centre) helped high school kids program satellites on the International Space Station for Zero Robotics.

Nikita Sardesai, Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace)/ Bachelor of Science (Physics/ Maths), V

“I spent my holidays helping kids to program satellites on the International Space Station. As part of Zero Robotics I worked with high school students in a programming competition managed though Sydney Uni's former NASA astronaut, Dr Greg Chamitoff. We were able to simulate two satellites taking photographs of an asteroid whilst avoiding solar flares."

I went home to Singapore

Lauren Gui (left) caught up with family and friends back home in Singapore.

Lauren Gui, Bachelor of Arts III

“I went back to Singapore and celebrated my 21st birthday with family and close friends who have also returned from overseas studies. I’m also in the process of writing a short film that my best friend and I are shooting independently, just for leisure.”