Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Christine S. - Australia - Fall 2012

 One cannot say that it was easy for me to be here, sitting on the balcony of Gilligan's Hostile on Grafton St. Cairns, Queensland. I can admit to having my doubts about what I was to expect, and I'm very glad that I did not trust those doubts, taking a chance to live my life. This is the first part of my study abroad experience for Australia. It took a lot of effort to get here and a few favors from friends, but in the end, it was worth all that it took to get here. I want to thank everyone who helped me get here, for if it wasn't for you I would not be sitting here, drinking my tea and listening to the soulful sounds of... Maroon 5. Not by choice, mind you, but by the choice of the fellow Americans two balconies over. They are a part of my group, a nice group of kids and they are very friendly.
The flight from Chicago to Los Angeles was long, at least for me it was, I was so excited to get to my destination, that I was really unable to sit still. Once on the plane to Brisbane, I had a bit of a hard time sleeping at first so I watched a movie, ate the dinner that they offered us, and then I was able to fall asleep. I woke up about three hours before we landed.
Now, let me tell you something that you must know. Australia is very very expensive. I've been here three weeks and really cannot believe the cost of things. I did expect the price hike on the foreign made and imported items, but the price of many things that are Australian made are still very high. I think part of that reason is due to their stronger dollar and another reason may be due to limited resources. Minimum wage here is between $17AUD and $20AUD, that is about $18USD to about $21USD. Our economy would be blossoming if our minimum wage was that high and if we kept the prices that are out now. Also, the US should include the tax in the price of all goods. It makes it that much easier to calculate what you will be paying at the register. So, if you will be studying in Australia in the Spring, make sure you start saving now! Then again, that advice goes for where ever you're going in the world.
Other than that, my trip thus far as been very enjoyable and eye opening! I was able to pet a kangaroo, hold a koala, pet a wallaby, and even snorkeled at the reef. It's been amazing thus far. If you are going to any of the Globalinks programs, you're going to enjoy it immensely. They help you every step of the way. Their Bridging Cultures program was excellent. I highly recommend it!
Now to end, I have been at Bond University for two weeks and so far I love it here. I'm starting to feel homesick, especially for Elmhurst's class structure and Chartwells prices. I also miss Elmhurst's campus size, as small a student body that Bond has, the campus is huge. I really can't wait till I get back for Spring. Then again, that could change by the time I leave.
Till next time, safe travels!
 (Me, holding a koala bear! I was trying hard not to laugh do to being nervous. I heard that he might dig his claws in, I was worried!) This little guy was shyly taking some pellets from one of the other students and eating away, I just thought it was an adorable scene and I was very happy to have been able to get the shot. The kangaroos were awesome! People were able to pet them and feed them, which was awesome. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Christine!
I was wondering why you chose Australia as your study abroad destination? Also why was Bond University the school that you chose to attend?

12:28 PM  
Blogger The Adventures of Lali said...

HI Kinga!

I chose Australia because I had heard the country was beautiful and I really had wanted to come to Australia. That's not the only reason, but it was a main one. Another reason I chose Australia was due to there being many more options for my to choose from in terms of housing, meal plans, and courses. Many of the schools here are very very good schools too. I was given more of an option when it came to taking a language school. I was specifically looking for one that offered Japanese since I plan on going on to graduate school for Japanese and history.

Bond University is considered to be one of the best Universities to attend, at least according to the students that I have spoken to that are native to Australia. As far as to why I chose Bond, it offered exactly what I needed, on campus housing, a meal plan, and classes that applied to both of my majors at Elmhurst, History and Intercultural Studies. Plus, they had Japanese as well.

I hope that helped! :D Thank you for asking!

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again Christine,
Did you have any culture shock when you arrived? It seems like you are having a great time and that you didn't have too much trouble selecting your classes. Do you have any tips for selecting classes? Thank you for answering my questions!

12:02 AM  
Blogger The Adventures of Lali said...

Culture shock... yes... in a way. More of getting used to cars being on a different side of the road and certain things being said differently... OH and prices! Everything is expensive here! I recommend that if you have a job, start saving every paycheck you can! What I DID go through was a bout of homesickness starting in about week three or four. All I wanted was to go home, eat food that I was used to, and see my friends. I longed for a class at Elmhurst. I came out of my funk the first week of October, when I finally started to make friends.

Class selection for me was a bit difficult. Bond doesn't really have much that caters to my primary major, which is History, but they had at least one class, which was Australian History. I was able to to take a class that went with my second major, and I actually kind of regret taking it, it's rather difficult, outside my comfort zone, and it has me rethinking my second major. That class is East West Diplomacy, and don't get me wrong, it's a great class, but it would have been better if I was more prepared for it. I was told that I should have taken Intro to Diplomacy, but Dr. Rust did not allow for me to do so. She said it was similar to Intro to International Education, it most definitely is not. I'm learning from though, and that is what counts.

My biggest tip for choosing classes is to READ the class syllabus if available. Bond University has the classes syllabus available to read, and this does help in selecting classes that are suited for you. As you can see, I did not do this. Don't let my mistakes detour you in anyway, just learn from them. Trust me, this will be one of the best learning experiences of your life, you will grow, you will mature, you will eat things that you never would have thought to try, and you will adapt. That is one the greatest things about the human race, we adapt well to situations that we never intended to be in, or to new climates. If that makes any sense. I'm sorry, it's one in the morning here in Australia.

We learn to accept things for what they are and, in doing so, we learn who we are as a people. I honestly didn't know what it was to be an American till I was no long in America. I find myself always saying things like "Well, in the US we did it this way." or "I would never pay this much for a pad of paper back home." I find myself comparing the way people are here to the way people are at home and have come to find that I like the people here so much more than at home, and the reason is because people are so nice here. Yes, their society is not delinquent of your mean, snooty, I hate the world types, but a vast majority of those I have met are very nice.

I'm sorry to have rambled on, I had no intention of doing so. I know things sound negative, I don't mean them to be, I love it here, and I've already made plans to come back next summer.

By the way, try the fish and chips, it's to die for.

10:14 AM  

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