Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Where to begin…it’s been a beautiful whirlwind!

I have landed in Australia and my past week has been nothing but amazing and surreal. But MAN! have I been a busy bee. Here’s a basic summary of everything I’ve done at IFSA-Butler’s amazingly planned orientation:
Institute for Study Abroad – Butler University

Semester 1, 2013 Orientation

Sydney Harbor YHA – The Rocks

February 13th:

  1. Arrive at the Sydney Harbor Youth Hostel (YHA)
  2. Welcome Presentation
  3. Lunch
  4. Received our IFSA-Butler mobile phones with a $10 credit.
  5. Got a mobile phone plan, in addition to the $10 credit, to text friends from IFSA-Butler’s program for FREE.
  6. Sydney Walking Tour – saw all the main sites near The Rocks, including the Opera House, Sydney Harbor Bridge,
  7. Botanical Gardens, Hyde Park shopping centres and more!
  8. Free time to freshen up and relax a bit (Yes, we still hadn’t showered since the 11th! YIKES!).
  9. 8. Burger and salad dinner at the YHA
  10. Travel Presentation for advice, recommendations, and tips!
  11. Relax and finally SLEEP! (Got through the day without any naps to fight the jetlag and it surely has paid off!).

February 14th:

  1. Breakfast or should I say “Brekkie” at the YHA – pancakes, yogurt, and fruit, YUM!
  2. Visited Featherdale Wildlife Park to get introduced to all of the Aussie animals! Pet some wallabies, kangaroos, koalas, and more!
  3. Lunch near the famous 3 Sisters and Echo Point. We were given a wrap, a piece of fruit, and an Australian candy bar to try! I had a spicy chicken wrap, a green apple, and an Aero bar. Everything was delicious!
  4. Bushwalked (hiked) down into the rainforests of the Blue Mountains (walked down over 1,000 steps!). Luckily, we didn’t have to walk back up. We took the Scenic World railway — the steepest in the southern hemisphere! The views were INCREDIBLE.
  5. Next, we went to a Aboriginal Culture center to paint some boomerangs (which tell stories through their symbols), learn about the Aboriginal culture in general, and watch some extremely entertaining performances through music and dance.
  6. After falling asleep on the bus home from the Blue Mountains from exhaustion the IFSA-Butler crew went to dinner at The Orient in The Rocks. Dinner options were great and I was able to try kangaroo for my first time. It was served with beetroot relish, rocket, tomato, mustard mayo on sourdough with fries. I would definitely get it again!
  7. After going back to the Sydney Harbor YHA to freshen up, a bunch of us decided to go back to The Orient for a few drinks, a live band, and a bit a dancing. It was a blast! And that is exactly why we went back again the following night for the same guaranteed good time!

February 15th:

  1. Day 3 of orientation consisted of compulsory information sessions. The sessions focused on academics, health and well-being, and university specific information (Macquarie Uni). I learned a lot and felt one step closer to being prepared for my upcoming semester in Sydney.
  2. From noon to 6:45PM we had free time to do whatever we wanted. A group of us decided to take the ferry to Manly beach from Wharf 3 at Circular Quay. I loved the town of Manly with all of the cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and shops. We decided to eat at a small cafe with a beautiful view of Manly beach. Next, we hit the beach and I touched Pacific waters for my very first time!
  3. We took the ferry back home and started getting ready for our Sydney Harbor Dinner Cruise in which we were offered chicken, ravioli, salads, and desserts buffet style. There was also a cash bar to buy some drinks. I decided on some white wine with one of my new mates.
  4. The cruise had beautiful views, some dancing,  and prize drawings. I won an “Australia” flip-flop (or as the Australians say “thong”) keychain!
  5. After the cruise, we made our way over to The Orient again for a similar night to the last. The Orient didn’t disappoint.

February 16th:

  1. Move-in day finally arrived and after a short bus ride to Marsfield, all of the IFSA-Butler students made their way to the Macquarie Village reception center to check in.
  2. After checking in and getting our room assignments, my new roommate Amy and I made our way up the hill to our apartment. We were lucky enough to get a little help with our multiple bags from a German international student.
  3. After we put our bags in our rooms, we headed back to reception for our IFSA-Butler advisor Joanna to lead the way to the Macquarie Centre. She showed us the Mac Centre so we could walk through part of campus and buy some things for our new living spaces. It was a bit of a walk (15-20 minutes), but I found everything I needed.
  4. Once getting back from the Macquarie Centre, I unpacked some of my things and had a BBQ with some of the IFSA-Butler students. It was a great way to kick off the semester!

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