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The Best and Worst of Australia… :)

Halloween was fun here.  There is not as much emphasis on celebration, but there are plenty of house parties to go to.

We are now in our first week of final exams.  The semester has gone so quickly, but there is still much to be done.  Because of the unpredictable nature of exam material here, we must be ready for anything and everything.  We have plenty of time to study now; most don’t use it.  But it is a much more relaxed approach to studying, and maybe more effective than what I am used to.  As I plan to go to New Zealand for Christmas and live as a normal Aussie would for the summer, things are on the rise, and its been fun planning what I will do.  For most students in the study abroad Australia program, this is a sad time: exams aren’t quite over, there is pressure to travel, tight budget, and thoughts of leaving new found friends linger.  The truth is it will have been a fairly short stay (July 10 to Nov 15) for the single semester study abroad students.   It was recommended to me to stay here for a year; I would also recommend this to anyone who truly wants to experience the fullness of their study abroad country.  So far, I have mostly experienced life as a student and as a tourist, and I can’t wait to enjoy the freedom of summer.  I feel like I have just gotten used to the Aussie ways of life (still learning new words all the time), and I’m glad I am staying.  However, I will being seeing my family for Christmas in NZ, so that makes things much easier for me.  All this to say – consider staying for more than a semester if you choose the Australia study abroad program.  So many unknowable opportunities arise when people find out your staying for a year.   I wanted to end my semester of blogging with some useful information.  What are the best and worst things about life at the University of Queensland Australia?!

Best: Climate, Ocean, days at the Beach, Cleanliness, general appreciation for Nature, Friendly People, Relaxed and Calm Atmosphere, Numerous Activities and Entertainment, Personal Growth, Amazing Sites and ease in travel, Cool animals… everywhere, Fewer Restrictions (drinking age, swimming without a lifeguard, campus security is friendly), Public Transportation (River Boats, Buses, Trains), Great Location at UQ near Brisbane city, emphasis on fitness and health, Campus Life (each residential college is tight, almost like a fraternity, and has its own sports teams), Culture and Way of Life, Good Churches, UQ is the perfect place to study abroad!

Worst: $Prices (thankfully the exchange rate is great right now), being away from home-cooked meals and home life, difficulty in finding a decent job, lack of resources (most people bring more than two bags and a guitar when moving into college) –> dependency on money, style of teaching (homework and repetition is rare, exams are 40-60% of course grade, grading can be tough, learning a subject on your own isn’t as fun nor is it easy), some prejudice against Americans, being far from close friends or family (I will be missing my sisters graduation, Brothers birthday, trips and events with friends, etc.), American food (quality, variety, prices).

If your reading this blog because you are thinking or planning on coming to Australia in the near future and you have any specific questions, feel free to write me on the Butler site, find me on Facebook (David Counsell) or on AIM (WayneCounsell).  I will be in and around Brisbane until July ’09, so maybe I’ll even meet you!  Good luck to all and thanks for the read!

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2 Responses to “The Best and Worst of Australia… :)”

  1. Jon Says:

    Hey man. Looks like your trip has been pretty fun so far. I’ll be joining you at UQ in a couple weeks. I leave the states on Feb 15th. I will be living in St. John’s College. I’m pretty much lookin for any last minute tips as far as things to do before I leave or essentials to pack with me (formal clothes??). Any help you can offer is appreciated. You can reach me by email at JGilman1@uvm.edu. Thanks!

    Jon

  2. Tara Says:

    Hey David,
    It sounds like you had an awesome time in oz! I’m starting to figure out all of my study abroad plans (still deciding between Sydney and Queensland), but I was reading that you stayed for a whole year. I’m considering doing the same thing, but I’m a little nervous and I don’t know of anyone else who has studied abroad for a whole year. Half of my family lives over there, but I’ve lived in the states since I was little so all of my best friends, my parents/siblings, and half of my family are here. Did you feel like you missed out on a lot by being there for a whole year? How about home sickness and missing out on a whole year of college in the U.S? Any advice or insight you can offer is much appreciated.
    Thanks!- Tara

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