Brianna’s ISS2023 Experience

Howdy y’all! Or as my Australian friends would say it, G’day Mate! The ISS was truly an amazing blessing and I’m so grateful to have been a part of it this year!

I loved learning and being challenged on all the diverse topics we discussed during the two weeks, however my absolute favorite lectures were the Dark Matter lecture given by Professor Alan Duffy and who could forget the phenomenal Dr.Karl! The space kid in me was jumping out of my seat ecstatic to learn more during the Dark Matter lecture and the questions I had never thought about were answered in Dr.Karl’s lecture.

While the lectures were absolutely fascinating, I loved the activities and labs we did. The engineering challenges and light lab we did were my favorite! I loved competing with my yellow team to win super sick prizes. The light labs we did were so cool! I learned a ton about how different liquids affect the way light reflects off of surfaces! And seeing how heat can be seen from objects with infrared light was amazing and so much fun to test different objects with!

Learning was astronomical but being able to tour around Sydney was amazing! I loved seeing all the iconic sites, shopping, and of course taking thousands of pictures!

Trying all the different foods was also so much fun! Though I didn’t quite like vegemite, Chicken Crimpy Shapes and Tim Tams have an extra special place in my heart, I will forever be on the lookout for them at home. While traveling, who could forget the wildlife, I was so excited that I got to see the Quokka at the Tarragona Zoo! The wildlife here was amazing, the bin chickens were so cool and the koalas are just adorable. Though I will say the wild birds caught me off guard with their not quite chirping calls.

The city was amazing, but the friendships I made here have a special place in my heart. Between my USA girls and my international besties, they are all absolutely incredible. Spending time all over Sydney and going to lectures with my friends was phenomenal.  The memories we made together were amazing and I want to visit them all one day. I loved learning Aussie slang and sharing my Texan culture with everyone! One of my favorite memories was celebrating 4th of July with everyone.

Everyone was so enthusiastic to learn about what we do on Independence Day! Plus sharing my proud Texan heart was so much fun, I loved sharing my yes ma’ams/sirs and y’all’s with everyone. Even back at the dorms I loved hanging out with everyone, baking some goodies and watching movies was so much fun! I definitely miss my baking buddy, Natasha, we've been sending each other pictures of our baked goodies at home since the ISS! 

I hope to visit everyone soon and love everyone I met, y’all were absolutely incredible!

The ISS was incredible and I’m so blessed to have been a part of it.


Written by Brianna Ortiz

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