Aaron Smithson CC’19

Hello! I am a senior in Columbia College majoring in Urban Studies and the History & Theory of Architecture. In spring 2018, I studied abroad through the IFSA program at the University of Melbourne in Australia—my third study abroad experience with OGP! At the university, I had the unique opportunity to take courses on Melbourne’s revolutionary urban design strategy and in the Indigenous Studies department, all of which left me with new perspectives on a range of political, social, historical, and design-based issues. I also interned at CoDesign Studio, a Melbourne-based non-profit urban design consultancy that specializes in community-led public space activation. With the February start date at most Australian universities, I spent six weeks backpacking through eleven countries in Asia before arriving in Melbourne. Over the course of the semester, I had the chance to visit all six states in Australia, the Northern Territory, and both islands of New Zealand. Many of these experiences—kayaking in the Milford Sound, bungee jumping in Queenstown, skydiving over the Whitsunday Islands, hiking near Uluru, driving up the Tasman coast, scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, and biking around Rottnest Island—have left me with life-long memories. If you have any questions about studying abroad, balancing internships with classes, safely traveling alone or with friends, or anything else, please let me know!