January 30, 2012
Seeing Sydney: Katharine Sobotka and her study abroad experience
BY: CLAIRE SIMON
This winter break, START student Katharine Sobotka studied abroad in Australia to learn about its counterterrorism strategies and approaches. Sobotka, along with eight students, traveled throughout Sydney to hear from top terrorism experts in the country.
“My favorite lecture came from retired Brigadier-General Vince Williams, who concentrated on what he called the ‘Arc of Instability’ in South East Asia,” says Sobotka, a senior majoring in government and politics. “This was the lecture that really brought home for me, the fact that Australia is dealing with a whole different set of instability issues that Americans don't even think about, and it is dealing with them in countries that are right outside its front door.”
Sobotka attended the trip because she wanted to gain a new perspective about the fight against terrorism.
In her free time, she got to experience a bit of Australian culture. “I had an amazing time surfing,” Sobotka says. “I think I drank about half the ocean, but our instructor was so great.” Sobotka also met with kangaroos, toured the Sydney Opera House and climbed cliffs off the Tasman Sea.
The two-week trip gave students the opportunity to learn about how Australia manages its counterterrorism policies and current issues within the country. It didn’t hurt that students were also able to sightsee around the Sydney Harbour and visit key landmarks.
“I think my favorite part about the Australia trip was really getting to see so many of the different parts of Australia that go into making up the whole,” Sobotka says. This semester, Sobotka is working on START’s Global Terrorism Database. She hopes to take her START experiences after graduation to help countries fight terror.
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