Stradbroke Island and Mixed Emotions
August has been a fairly trying month so far. I am currently on an exchange visa and its going to take a while before I can get a student visa, and therefore a job, and therefore some financial stability and more weekend trips. Even though my exchange visa was free, I should have come with a student visa, so I would have the option to work. But enough complaining, I got do some some very interesting things through the Australia study abroad programs. After all, the weather here is gorgeous and Brisbane is still the best place I’ve ever lived.
Stradbroke Island has to be the coolest place I’ve visited so far: waves pounding on massive rocks, miles of surfing beaches, and a laid back community. Coming from Indiana, I felt like I was in the country again. Some friends and I went to a bar (probably the only one) on the island, and were welcomed by a live band, who played some American rock music in our honor, and many friendly locals! They had the Olympics on, and we had a great time. The first time I went to Straddie, I was part of a Marine Biology field trip, and we did research and toured the island. We analyzed mangrove environments, did some saine-netting, and examined the coast and tidal pools. I even got to help transport a huge sea turtle (dead and smelly) that got hit by a boat, and hold a wild python (not recommended or legal as we found out). However, feeling like too much of a tourist during that stay, I decided to return on the mid-week holiday (Ekka) to relax and catch some waves with the boogie board. It was a good trip, however I should have stayed a couple of days to make it worth the 3hrs and $20 in transport.
School is still flying by… I feel like my classes are either very difficult, or extremely elementary. The combination of my waning cold and easy classes (that sometimes can be viewed online) has called for some very short school days. There has been very little homework though, even in the hard classes. Its very different than what I am used to, and it makes it even harder to sit down and study when work must be done. I am beginning to meet more of the people in my classes though, so that’s a plus. The field trip with Marine Biology really helped with that. I would highly recommend field trips for any student in the Australia study abroad program. It helped me meet a lot of new people, experience some new things, and get to do some travelling.
So here’s the section where I leave you with some feelings… It has been interesting to observe myself following the exact emotional trend outlined in out orientation. The first month is like vacation: new and exiting, and the second month you wonder why your even here. As I reach my second month, I have definitely had some down days, days of missing home and wanting to talk to people that actually know me, and days of wondering why I committed to stay here for a whole year. I have found that minimizing my stress can be a worthy antidote for this time. If I don’t stay on top of my classes, my schedule, and my budget, I tend to get really frustrated – and that’s when I miss home. Its a very strange feeling, being in such a beautiful, lively city, yet wanting to be somewhere else.
GO USA OLYMPIC TEAM!!!