Kristen Stanley in UNSW Sydney, Australia
As my time abroad is beginning to come to an end, I have been reminiscing on how much fun I have had and how lucky I am to have had this great opportunity. The friends I have made over the past six months will continue even though I am returning to Texas in a little over a month and I will always have the memories that I made to remind me of the best semester I have had in my college career so far. Although I missed out on UT games and events and have not seen my family or friends in over six months, I would not trade this experience for anything in the world. Getting the chance to travel around another country has been amazing and I have definitely crossed more events off my bucket list! Earlier this month I took take a trip to Cairns with one of my friends.
It was so good to get away from the cold weather of Canberra and into the beautiful sunny weather and beaches of Cairns. We went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef so I finally got to put my scuba certification I got for Christmas (thanks mom) into use! The diving and snorkeling was absolutely amazing! The amount of different colors of reef and fish we saw was incredible and the water is the clearest I have ever seen. We saw almost all the characters from Finding Nemo including Nemo, Marlin, Dorry, Crush, Squirt, and even the barracuda that killed the family in the beginning. Unfortunately we did not see a great white shark like Bruce, but maybe next time! We did however see a white tip shark, which was exhilarating.
I also went to a music festival called Groovin’ the Moo. It was very fun and had many different live Australian and New Zealand bands, which was exciting to see.My favorite performance was Disclosure who was the ending show and the performance that I squeezed my way up to the front row for. It was such a great experience to be so close to the stage and have the energy of everyone behind you filling the tent and boosting the band to continue playing. Groovin’ the Moo reminded me very much of ACL in Austin, but the food is better back home.
Although these events were all very thrilling and exciting, the best day of my time here was Burg Day in which we celebrate the college (basically a dorm) that we live at. It was a day full of fun games and activities, free drinks, fun dress up themes, a great DJ, and lots of good food and good friends. The theme for the event was Bogans (a term used to describe a trashy hippie) versus Hipsters and you dressed up as either depending on the side of the building you lived on.
The day started off with a Brick Race in which a first year boy and girl from each floor compete in a relay together against all the other floors. I was chosen with my friend Jackson by our floor to win the race and take the pride with us! Jackson had to use an inflatable flip flop to swim across the creek, then I had to run with the same inflatable flip flop around the college with a brick in my hand as I am pelted with water, flour, eggs, and ketchup.
After eating a donut attached to a sting hanging from a tree, I handed the brick back to Jackson and he had to find a gummy worm in a bowl of flour and run through the finish line. Although it was very messy, it was definitely a lot of fun! After cleaning all the flour and ketchup off in the shower, the real fun began with a bouncy house, more relay races, and a jousting game. Burg Day is known as the best day of the year at Burgmann, and I can now see why.
The week after Burg Day we had our last Burgmann event of the year with Burg Ball. This is a formal ball that we attend with great food and good music and it’s a really fun night that we get to dress up for. It was really great to have my last Burgmann event be such a fun and fancy night with the friends I have made here.
With only a couple more finals to take, I will be moving out of my room in Burgmann next week to begin my last bit of traveling around Australia. I have plans to travel to Singapore, Tasmania, Melbourne, Sydney, Nawra, and back to Canberra for my last week in the country before returning to Texas. Of course I will be watching the World Cup, especially the United States, even though games here are at 2AM due to the time difference. I look forward to these last bit of travels and returning home at the end of July and eating some good Tex Mex (Australians think they know good Mexican food, but its just terrible), but I do not look forward to leaving Australia, Burgmann, and all the friends I have made here. Studying abroad has been a fantastic experience and I hope to do it again soon. I definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone! No wakkas, mate!