Livin’ In the Land Down Under
It is unbelievable; I have been in Australia for a few weeks now and so much has happened! I worked out all of the necessities such as phone service, internet, classes, and books. I ended up choosing the phone plan IFSA Butler set up and the internet provider UOW uses. My schedule is good; I do not have classes on Fridays and managed to find cheaper textbooks. Life is good!
There is a lot to talk about but I will focus on where I have been staying. I am attending Wollongong University this semester which is an hour and forty five minute train ride from Sydney. It is awesome because Wollongong is close enough to Sydney to be able to take weekend trips and am right next to the train station you need to get you to Sydney! Wollongong is a smaller town and I am happy because I can walk anywhere, including the beach, or use the free shuttle service. However, people are nice whether you are in Sydney or Wollongong!
Day trip in Sydney!
The residence hall where I am staying is fantastic! It is called International House and I live with people from all over the world. You will find people from Australia, Spain, India, South Korea, Pakistan, France, China, Iran, Norway, Mexico, Kenya, Mongolia, Canada, Brazil, Japan, and the United States all living under one roof. During orientation week, we all bonded by participating in the various events ihouse organized. For example, we bowled, roller skated, visited a rainforest, raced around Wollongong in an amazing race competition, sang during karaoke night, watched movies, and hosted a gala night. I particularly enjoy meal times in the dining hall because I am able to chat with everyone!
Globe located outside the main entrance of International House
First stop on the International House Amazing Race Competition
As for living on campus, it is a whole new experience. Like I said before, I have a roommate from Dubai and it is amazing how well we get along. We have a nice room with enough space for both of us. My side of the room is decorated with pictures from home, wildlife images, jokes, and a recently purchased Aboriginal boomerang. It is different having so many friends around you all of the time and somewhat distracting! However, help is just around the corner as well. I have become skilled at asking people for help and people take pity on me and assist me. The other day a neighbor helped me find my classes and today I helped him with an assignment. I have been enjoying the whole atmosphere so far.
Gala night with my roomie Therese on the left and Lauren on the right
My side of the room (not including the closet or mirror)
I think the food is really delicious here. It is not easy to satisfy everyone’s tastes, as we are from all over the world, but I have certainly been eating well. I appreciate the vegetarian options (even though I eat meat) and the availability of healthy foods. On the other side of the spectrum, the ice cream machine is a very popular. International House provides breakfast and dinner every day and has a sandwich bar so you can pack something for lunch. I have been experimenting and creating some interesting sandwiches! I have also tried Vegemite. When first tasting it, it is better not to expect anything (especially expecting it to taste like nutella; they look similar to each other but they are completely different!) It is not horrendous but it is salty and unusual. The candy, or lollies, are quite delectable here. Caramello Koalas are good and so are Cherry Ripes.
On that note, I will stop talking to you so you can go and raid the fridge. Until next time!