Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hannah W. - Newcastle, Australia - Spring 2011

Hello Mates!
I am studying in Newcastle, Australia at the University of Newcastle.  I came over through the program AustraLearn and have been in Australia for just over a month now. I was in Cairns for a week of orientation then went to Newcastle for their orientation week or O week as they call it.  I am about to start my third week of classes.  I like all of my classes so far and haven’t had a lot of work to do which is very different from the states.  We only have about four major projects in each of my class’s worth about 10-40% of my grade.  The final exams that I have are all about 50-70% of my grade.  This means I really need to make sure I study and do all my work really well.  I am also getting use to have more than just one class of the same class per week.  Two out of the four classes I have to meet for a lecture and also a tutorial or a lab.  It is kind of different compared to Elmhurst and the way they have their classes set up.  Enough about school! 

This is the first time in my life to be away from my family for this long.  Especially since I have a twin sister, I am so use to having her around all the time.  We have only been apart from each other for no more than a few days.  Here it’s so different because I haven’t talked to her very much and only been able to Skype her and my family a few times since I have been here.  These past weeks I have been super busy so really haven’t thought about being away.  Plus I have really good roommates that I hang out with and keep me entertained.  I feel like I am always doing something so I haven’t really gotten home sick yet but I know culture shock will be creeping up on me soon.

When you study abroad one of the first things you need to realize and accept that everything is going to be really awkward at first, until you get use to it.  I am a very shy person but I have noticed me putting myself in awkward situations either to do something or to meet new people.  I have made lots of friends and am always trying different things that are part of the Australian Culture, like vegemite.

Here are some of the things I have been able to do in the past month I have been here:

1. Visited Cairns (Pounced Cans)
2. Held and petted a Kola
3. Petted and feed a Kangaroo
4. Visited Sydney
5. Saw the Opera House and also touched it
6. Saw the Sydney Harbour Bridge
7. Went downtown Newcastle
8. Met many new Australian and American friends
9.  Got lost on campus trying to find my way back from class, but now starting to get the hang of 
10. Tried a Lamington (They are amazing)
11. Went camping for a weekend
12. Tried a Tim Tam
13. Scuba dived in the Great Barrier Reef
13. Tried Vegemite (Like I said above)
14. Went to my First Mardi Gras Festival
15. Went to my first Beach in Australia
16. Had my First Tart at Guylian Chocolates
17. Went on a Dolphin cruise and saw about 10 of them
18. Had my first Massage for $15 which was awesome!
19. Held a snake for the first time
20. Found out what a Didgeridoo is
21. Watched an Aboriginal Dance
22. Slept in my first hostel which was really nice and comfy!
23. Saw the Southern Cross
24.  Had Passion Fruit (If you come down here you must try it)
25. Saw where Steve Irwin died
26. Petted a Wallaby
27. Learned how to throw a Boomerang (Mine came back to me just about)


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you have any tips for suggesting the best study abroad course load?

Kim S.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am taking four classes which is a full class load at Elmhurst. I do not feel stressed at all about my classes. If I were you I would either take a full load that way you don't have to worry about losing scholarships or just take four classes. It is really up to you and what you feel comfortable doing. The University down here has a week or so to change classes like Elmhurst does so you can always add or drop classes if you need to.

I hope this helps!


11:12 PM  

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