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Class of 2018
Spring 2017

My trip to Sydney had two main objectives- to visit Sydney Hillsong Church and to immerse myself into the Aboriginal culture through different activities. The reason why I wanted to visit the largest church in Australia was because of my passion for gospel music and the possibility of meeting Darlene Zschech, an Australian musician that I admire most. Another reason for undertaking the trip was to learn more about the survival and identity of Indigenous Australians. While the church visit worked out as originally planned, I was obliged to make some modifications on some of the planned activities.

I initially planned to take several Sydney city tours to learn more about the history behind the Sydney Harbor Bridge and different aspects of the Aboriginal culture, but I found out that I had to book some of the tours six months earlier. As a result, I could not take some of the tours. However, despite this planning issue, I managed to learn a lot about the spirituality of the Aboriginal people and how the modern Sydney continues to reflect the Dreamtime of the Aboriginal culture.

The Dreamtime is the Aboriginal understanding of the world and its creation. In other words, it is the beginning of knowledge by which came the laws of existence. Dreamtime is used interchangeably with the term “Dreaming”, which describes the relations and balance between the spiritual, natural and moral elements of the world. Aboriginal Australians have a special connection to the land and the sea. They believe that these places are sacred and put a lot of spiritual values on them. Coming from a different culture, it was interesting to experience how the Sydney Harbor, the waterways, the flora and the fauna continue to influence today’s Aboriginal life. Additionally, as a science major, I do not often get to think about society and the diversity of beliefs. Hence, I found taking the trip to Sydney very enriching, because it gave me an opportunity not only to think about social norms and social issues, but also to embrace diversity.  For future studies, I would love to learn more how the introduction of Christianity affected Aboriginals’ spirituality.  

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