Starting the Fall semester on July 19 – in the middle of 100 degree weather in Texas – all the way in Australia when it is WINTER here has been interesting….
After leaving my family in the airport and waiting to get on a 20 hour flight – one million things were running through my mind. Never finished one thought before I was onto the next. Did I pack everything I needed, who are my roommates going to be, will the Aussies be friendly and welcoming, how will registration go…..you get the just.
Although the long, long flight was rather uncomfortable, when landing my stomach dropped. It was about 6:30 am in Sydney, the skyline and city were beautiful, and I was thousands of miles away from home. Airports are never fun of course – customs, bag check, blah, blah – I will skip that part. I then found the airport pick-up for the ones of us who had applied for study abroad housing…which was nice – no clue how I would have found my way home otherwise.
Meet Tristan, our driver and my new Aussie friend, and my first views of the beach, which is right around the corner of my house 🙂
The second photo of Dunningam Park is a very popular place for the start of a four mile trail to the most popular surfing beach in Australia, Bondi Beach. The trail starts a block away from my front door step, so once the rain here settles down it will be a very common activity of mine. Robby, one of my roommates and also a McCombs student, Taylor, another roommate from Michigan State, and I did sneak in a day that is wasn’t raining for our first adventure on this trail. Let’s just say the views did take aways a little of the pain!
The bottom photo is of Coogee Beach, the beach seven of my roommates and I happen to live on, meaning there is never a reason to really sleep in!
On Thursday during our exchange orientation we had an activities day. My group ended up getting picked to go to Manly Beach and to the Ocean World aquarium, a very big tourist attraction in Sydney. We had to take the ferry to our destination, so we got the chance to pass the beautiful Sydney Opera House you probably have seen pictures of before but now I happen to be in one 🙂 Because I look like I just woke up in that picture though, I will just show you a little school spirit Robby and I had along the way of this trip! The sights are even more beautiful in person – I keep needing to pinch myself to remember I am not just in a dream!
Although the beaches here are some of the most amazing in the world, they are not the only reason I came to Australia. SPORTSSSSSS was another huge reason. During orientation at UT once I was accepted to study at UNSW, I happened to meet a very nice guy named Jeff that was a current exchange student from UNSW at UT. Because of him a few of my roommates and I have already been to an AFL game and Rugby game – two of the biggest sports in Australia. So if you do decide to study abroad, at orientation take advantage of the new contacts you can make – he has been such a great tour guide.
Below are two photos of our first AFL game, which was on a Sunday and 25,000 people were there. Australian Rules Football is a sport that seems to be made up of about 100 sports put together. The only way to pass the ball is to either punch it or kick it, and the goal is made up of three openings. The middle is worth 6 points and the outsides are worth 1 point. Also, there are 22 players total for each team at a time, 18 on the field and 4 interchange players because the sport is so exhausting. AFL is extremely high speed which makes it fun, but trust me the Aussie fans make it worth going regardless who is playing! A little cut-throat at times but a great way to experience the Aussie sport culture that is known around the world – not just a myth.
Also, as you can see a few of my roommates and I all have jackets on, it does happen to be winter here right now. However, the jackets came on and off throughout the game….there were about four seasons happening every fifteen minutes – not overreacting a bit! Our team that we were cheering for happened to lose, but the close comeback at the end made it all worthwhile. Plus, we got to join in on one of the Aussie traditions, cheering for the underdogs!
Next, was rugby on a Monday night, which happened to also be the first day of school. However, because there are no tutorials the first week, I did not have class….wooooo! Rugby happens to be the most popular sport in Sydney and Queensland, while AFL happens to be more popular in cities such as Melbourne. Meaning, making my way up to Melbourne for another game is a must on the Aussie to-do list. We had to ride a bus and a train to get to this game – learning the Australian transportation system has been quite a challenge. Again, we have had Jeff’s help with that. He also brought me a jersey to wear, of course to cheer on the underdogs yet again. Jeff and I were one of the few supporting the Sharks at this game. The score did not happen to be in our favor, but the game was still a blast!
Tuesday happened to be my first day that I had class. Campus was packed, but I did not end up feeling overwhelmed at all. The first few days I had gotten the hang of campus so finding my way around was easy. Classes happened to be a lot like classes at home, at least for the first week anyways – introducing the class and its syllabus. I will let y’all know more of how classes are here at Uni once I get into the swing of things. The business school is beautiful just like McCombs, so no complaints!
Wednesday night my roommates and I decided it was time to visit the biggest IMAX in the world which happens to be here in the city. I am not even much of a Harry Potter fan, but the view made the movie one hundred times better than it would have been otherwise.
The past few days have been extremely rainy, at this very moment I am listening to it pour outside – I do not remember the last time I heard rain like this! But it will let up tomorrow and hopefully be through by the end of the weekend.
This has just been the first week, and I have already experienced so much. Let’s see what is in store for me for the next four months!