My sincere apologies. This trip has been a whirlwind so far. For a while I did not have access to the internet, then there was O-Week (basically a week of partying, bonding with people who live in your specific college, and getting to know first-year students from all the colleges within the University of Sydney), and then the week after that my power converter sparked and blew a fuse and I could not charge my computer. But now I’m here, ready, with a charged computer, charged camera, and lots to say.
Orientation with IFSA-Butler was absolutely fantastic. The journey to Australia was exhausting, to say the least, but arriving in Australia and having those first 3 days of orientation made the adjustment of being in a new country extremely smooth. I saw indigenous performers and learned about aboriginal history, took surfing/body surfing/paddle gliding lessons, danced to the music of a live folk band, went on bush walks, went to the Taronga zoo and pet a wallaby (aka a small kangaroo), took pictures of adorable sleeping koalas, met some sassy emus, took a ferry boat to the Sydney Opera House and saw the botanical gardens. At the end of orientation I was dropped off at Sancta Sophia College at the University of Sydney and was left to my own devices in a new city with new people at a new university.
Needless to say, I was a tad nervous but also extremely excited.
I was shown to my room, a lovely yellow single. I put up pictures and unpacked and met some girls within the college. In Australia, a “college” is a small community within the larger University setting. It is basically a dormitory with a dining hall, computer lab, library, and there’s even a chapel here in Sancta. Every Monday night we get dressed up in our academic gowns and have a formal dinner together. Afterwards, a guest speaks to us. It’s really quite lovely and Sancta, as a place itself, is stunning. I am so lucky. I must admit, at first I was not too keen (a word used often here) about living in an all-female college, but the girls here are extremely sweet, welcoming, and unique. Especially after bonding with the girls during O-Week, I felt like I was right at home. It’s like being in a sorority, really. Sancta reminds me of Omega Chi at Ursinus. What more could I ask for?
Where do I even go from here? There’s so much to say. I am taking 4 classes here, just like I would be in America. I am taking Contemporary Indigenous Art, Australian Texts: International Contexts, Narratives of Romance & Adventure, and Ceramics – Wheel Throwing. This semester is going to be eye-opening and I’m glad that I’m not only IN Australia but I’m learning about Australia as well. Now, I won’t lie and say that I haven’t had some troubles adjusting to life here. I definitely have had some setbacks, but I realize that most of these setbacks don’t really involve being in a new country at all! The thing I’m having trouble adjusting to is such a large university! I’m so used to a tiny place and now my lectures are huge and I have to handle my studies quite differently.
Going out in Sydney is a blast, except everything here is pretty expensive (but that’s no fun to talk about, so I won’t get into it). It’s nice to be able to go out with my friends and order a drink for once! The first time, it was actually liberating, but also embarrassing. I went up to the bartender (giddy as a kid in a candy store) and asked him, excitedly, for a “beer.” Instead of giving him an actual brand name, I just asked for the beer itself. He looked at me and asked “What kind?.” I just looked dumbfounded considering I didn’t know any of the beers here and said “uhhhh… the best one under 5 dollars.” Needless to say, he was not impressed by me. NOTE: Fosters isn’t popular here.
Last night I went to a midnight cinema and saw “The Social Network.” There were bats flying overhead, it was so eerie but awesome at the same time. Bats are common here.
Well, I have a lot more to say but I think some videos and pictures would be ideal.