A Journey to Sydney – Reflections on Architecture and Travel
My name is Muzalier Gaussaint and I am an aspiring architect, builder and traveling enthusiast.
My interests in international travel + architecture as platforms for cross cultural interactions have led me to spend the last four months in Sydney, Australia working at DesignInc Sydney, an international and multi-disciplinary architecture firm working in transport infrastructure and healthcare sectors, as well as urban design and interior design.
How did I get started and why?
The road to Sydney started three years ago, as I developed great interest in international travel as a vehicular of cultural awareness. I was fascinated by its potential to develop my knowledge and perception of other cultures, while becoming acutely aware of my own. Combined with my strong interest in architecture for its capacity to capture the phenomenological aspects of cultures, Sydney now joins the list of other cities including Paris, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Prague, Berlin and Stockholm, whose explorations brought forth the relevance of ‘Intercultural Leadership’ and its vitality in the age of global integration.
Who made it possible and how?
A year ago, as a Fellow Member of the National Society of High School Scholars, I was the winner of the 2014 Australian Internships Scholarship. The latter is a professional organization based in Brisbane, Queensland that partners with many Australian organizations to offer on demand 3-6 months Internship to students from all over the world in their respective fields of study. While the scholarship covered the administrative costs for Australian Internships, the rest of trip was self-funded. After a year of careful financial planning, an intense visa review process, two firm interviews, I embarked on my cultural immersion journey to Australia.
Australia lied at the intersection between opportunity and curiosity. In Doug Barry’s “Wisdom for a Young CEO”, Henry Golub, CEO of Amex quoted: “I am curious and interested in just about everything. So, I am always learning and working at the margin of my ignorance.” His statement not only summarizes the spirit through which I approached traveling and architecture, but also inherently embodies the excitement of self awareness which occurs during and post cultural immersion experience.
What were the trade offs?
I made significant trades offs in order for this trip to become a reality. I did not earn an income for 4 months, simply because my internship was unpaid. Also, given my full time employment at the time, I had to take a personal leave for 4 months from Scungio Borst Construction Management with no guarantee of having my position upon my return. In addition, I missed my younger brother’s high school graduation and my best friend’s college graduation. There are opportunity costs to all choices, and those were the ones that I was willing to pay.
and now to the Fun part…
Describe your most memorable day…
Friday April 24, 2015
After toiling for 9 hours on Revit Architecture on a transport project for New South Wales, I caught up with some friends at Coco Cubano for short conversations and cocktails at 6 pm. Then, we proceed to AMC Theaters at Darling Harbour for the “Avengers: Age of Ultron”. Later at about 4 am, we joined a crowd of tens of thousands of Australians at the Anzac Day Service at the Cenotaph at Martin Place, in the city center to honor the Fallen in the Gallipoli War of 1915. Finally, we concluded the evening with a mesmerizing sunrise and breakfast on the steps of the Sydney Opera. In short, I was home by 9 am on Saturday.
What I would recommend if you were in Australia?
- The Bondi-Coogee, a 3 mile Coastal walk
- Spend the day at Manly Beach – Use the ferry
- Walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge at night
- Sunrise at Sydney Opera House
- Sunset at La Perouse
- Salsa at The Cuban Place
What is my advice to all Incoming 2015 Freshmen?
Your college education is a journey of Self-Awareness, and will occur in many facets and through many channels: including classrooms, books, peer to peer, friendships, roommates, study abroad (my favorite) & campus organizations. Don’t Fear It. Don’t Rush It. Embrace It.
Want to get in contact?
For a myriad of additional information about my professional work and education at Philadelphia University, you can read it in my previous Young Alumni Spotlight here.