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Now That’s Commitment

Time September 15th, 2015 in 2015 Fall, Australia, College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Howdy Folks,

 

As mentioned in my last post, my mid semester assignments were quickly approaching. The tsunami of work finally came crashing down this past week when I had a report, presentation and an exam due. Each one was worth a significant chunk of the courses’ grade so the majority of my days were spent on the 8th floor of the library (which has quite the few by the way). Luckily, I was prepared for all of them and felt there was nothing more I could do. The report and presentation went well, but the exam was no walk in the park. Some of the older Australian students told me that every abroad student here has a mid semester crisis when their exams begin to pop up. Professors expect students to know different information on exams that a typical American instructor would. It is just part of the acclimation to a university in a different culture. So all of these factors helped me avoid stressing over the painful exam experience and luckily once I finish an econ homework assignment, 7 of my friends and I leave for Byron Bay for the weekend.

Although the Byron Bay trip is going to be indescribable, my mates and I have had plenty of adventures so far. The bond that we all have formed is evident through what occurred at 3 am on Monday morning. One of the shared passions between all 8 of us is our love for sports. We play football in our courtyard almost every day and go to open gym to play basketball on the weekends. So when the NFL schedule was released and we discovered that the season begins at 3 o’clock in the morning, we promptly set our alarms. To help the cause, at 7 pm Sunday night I turned off the lights and shut my eyes to prepare for a minor hibernation before our early wake up. So after a solid eight hours of sleep, my alarm buzzed and I hopped out of bed like a kid on Christmas morning. It was finally football season! We all gathered in a common room and quietly cheered on our teams. We watched from 3am until 1 pm in the afternoon. It was pretty crazy seeing the sunrise, and the day was a marathon, but it could not have ended any better than when my Cowboys came back and beat the Giants. All eight of us look to make this a tradition for remaining months we have here.

 

Until next time,

Patrick Deniger

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Busy Busy Busy

Time September 4th, 2015 in Australia, College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Howdy Folks,

 

Sorry for the lengthy delay between posts. This past week marked the start of my mid term examinations so I’ve been all over the place preparing presentations, assignments and exams. Luckily, there is quite a bit of free time outside of class, since each course only meets twice a week. The class time distribution is probably the biggest difference between the University of New South Wales and my home university, Colby College. At Colby, students have three 50-minute classes a week for each subject. Here, each course has a two-hour lecture period with up to 300 students. Then at a later time during the week, the large lecture is broken up into small one-hour tutorials with around twenty students in it. The way my timetable (translates to schedule) is organized, I don’t have class on Tuesday or Wednesday so time has flown by. It seems like yesterday I was posting about the rugby match.

The bright side of my mid semester exams is the mid semester break is merely two weeks away. In fourteen days time, I will be boarding a Qantas flight to Thailand for the adventure of a lifetime. For seven days, a group of seventeen students and I will begin a journey from Bangkok to the south of Thailand. I won’t go into too much detail now because I am sure I will be posting all about it once I return from the trip.

Another activity I have been busy with recently is organizing trips to other bucket list destinations around Australia. After getting denied four times, my friends and I finally booked an airbnb house in Byron Bay. Byron bay is north of Sydney, but still in the same state. It turns out the house we booked is not on the beach, but rather 30 minutes inland, in a jungle. It was not exactly what we were looking for, but the location is only going to make it more adventurous. The biggest difficulty with the location though is that personal transportation is essential. So us, eight Americans, are going to have to focus and help each other drive on the opposite side of the road. It isn’t the most convenient aspect of the trip, but not something that we can’t overcome. I could not be more excited.

Finally, the last trip that I have planned is a two-day, two night voyage on a sailboat. The New Horizons will take its thirty passengers to the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands, and other beautiful destinations. Some of my floor mates returned from the New Horizon this week and said it was a trip of a lifetime. I have loved the city of Sydney more than anything, but cannot wait to begin to travel around Australia!

 

Until next time,

Patrick Deniger

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Bledisloe Cup

Time August 18th, 2015 in Australia, College Study Abroad | No Comments by

 

Howdy Folks!

 

Today is the one-month mark of my stay here in Australia. It has flown by, but it also feels like I have been here forever. It doesn’t seem right that this is my fourth week of classes. I’m getting a feel for what the professors here expect out of their students, although I still need to occasionally check the campus map to make sure I’m going to the right building for class. I haven’t had any major assignments due yet, but they are quickly beginning to appear on the horizon. Read More »

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O-Weekend Fun

Time August 3rd, 2015 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

 

Howdy folks!

I can finally confirm that I am officially in the land down under! My irritating visa experience concluded when I received my visa Tuesday night, just a few hours after my original flight departed. If the medical center had sent in my results a few hours before, I would have easily made my flight and everything would have worked out. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but it’s over and I can put it behind me. Meanwhile, I have had an incredible time getting acclimated to the University of New South Wales and exploring the city of Sydney.

Much like in America, all new students participate in an Orientation weekend, or O-weekend (Australians abbreviate everything). O-weekend was led student leaders, most of whom are younger than me and was very laid back. Since it is the beginning of the spring semester here, there are only 50 new kids here out of our dorm (or college here) of around 200 students. The first game we played set the tone for how the rest of the weekend would play out. The first game involved holding a cucumber between your legs then hopping to exchange it with one of your teammates across from you. Then, we essentially played the same game but with toothpicks and lifesavers, where one member had to slide the lifesaver from the toothpick in their mouth to their teammates. It became very clear that we were going to get very comfortable with each other whether we liked it or not.

We then were given the news that each dorm has a certain song that when it comes on, everyone must gather like a flash mob and break into a synchronized dance. So we spent a sweaty, exhausting hour practicing the moves to our song. Since, I’m not the most rhythmic person, it was quite a struggle but its still a work in progress. The shower will be my practice ground to perfect the moves. After dance practice, we walked around the campus familiarizing ourselves with all the buildings and popular locations. Then we began preparing for the retro party. Our dorm was 80’s themed so we all went out and bought as much neon and aerobics wear as we could. I was also a lucky new student to be chosen to carry around a bouncy ball with me. I made the most out of it and even incorporated it into my dance moves. It was great way to kick off O-weekend.

Friday and Saturday were both action packed and unbelievably fun. Friday we walked through Sydney on a secret pub-crawl because they are frowned upon by bar owners. And Saturday we chilled all day then took a ferry through the Sydney harbor to a nice burger joint. It was a great way to cap off a fantastic O-weekend. With the closure of the weekend, reality is beginning to set in with classes kicking off this week. Although, I’m going to start having to get back into the school grind, I’m excited to see what the school life here at UNSW is like!

Until next time,

Patrick Read More »

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Oh How Wonderful Bureaucracy is….

Time July 13th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Howdy Folks!
Welcome to my inaugural blog post! Just a quick introduction: My name is Patrick Deniger and am a student at Colby College in Waterville, ME. Colby College prides itself on the high percentage of its students who study abroad. Around 2/3 of Colby students study abroad sometime during their college tenure. In two days (hopefully) I will begin my journey to Sydney, Australia to undergo my second semester abroad. I spent my very first semester of college (Fall ’13) studying in Salamanca, Spain though a Colby program for incoming first year students. It had such a positive impact on my life that ever since I returned from that trip, I’ve been looking forward to my next opportunity to study abroad. As much as I loved studying in Salamanca, I don’t consider myself a foreign language expert. So when I was deciding where I wanted to study during my Junior year, I knew I wanted to live in a english-speaking country. I felt I already lived the European experience in Spain, so I focused in on Australia. I’ve always wanted to travel down under and could not be more excited!!

Alright, enough of the small talk. If you noticed above, I mentioned how I am HOPING that I will depart for Sydney in two days. Unfortunately, I am experiencing difficulties acquiring my student visa. So, please forgive me, but I’m going to use this forum to vent for a bit. Alright, so this all started with the visa office requesting that I undergo a medical exam and complete a chest X-ray. Seemed reasonable, ideally if you’re going to allow someone into your country, you’d like them to not have some contagious disease. So, I called my doctor, scheduled an appointment and got everything tested. Everything checked out, so I sent in the forms to show I was examined. This was about a month ago, and my visa’s status still read “assessment underway”. So as my departure date came closer and closer, I started stressing. Turns out that I had to go to a specific “Australian approved” family medical clinic to have my tests done. They acted like this was common knowledge, so I rushed to get an appointment. I got one in the next day and again, passed all of the tests. NOW, the medical clinic says they cannot upload my results until some woman named Daisy is in office, furthering my frustration. Ugh. So the adventure of acquiring a student visa continues! Hopefully I get mine approved but will keep y’all updated! Thanks for letting me vent, I needed that.

But back to happy times! I have all my clothes packed up and, when not worrying about my visa, am super excited to get to Australia. It looks like New South Wales will be in an unprecedented cold front by the time we arrive. The temperatures look to be a historic low, 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw this. One, because even in Australia I can’t escape the Maine winters, it follows me everywhere! And two, that 50 degrees is considered a record low! I’m used to -10 being the typical winter temperature at Colby! So I’m bringing some of my winter gear that I was going to leave at home, but regardless, whether its sunny and 70 or snowing and 30 degrees I could not be more excited!! Sydney, I’m coming for you!!

Until next time,
Patrick

 

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