Ready or Not, Here It Comes
My time in Australia is rapidly coming to a close. I am so surprised and cannot believe it! I am not ready to go back home because I have met so many wonderful people and have had many wonderful experiences here I do not want to say goodbye! However, I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends again.
Life at International House has been just as amazing as it has been all semester. About 30 of us went camping the other weekend and we had a blast. We cooked on the barbecue for dinner and slept in tents or under the stars. The campsite was right next to a beach so we were able to sunbathe, play soccer, swim, and walk along the beach. On the final day, I woke up to see the sunrise over the ocean.
I also went to Manly, which is a ferry ride away from Sydney, to volunteer at the Food, Wine, and Sustainability Festival. It was great! My two friends and I made sure people disposed of their food waste properly. There were recycle, rubbish, and compost bins so a lot of the waste was diverted from landfills when the bins were used properly . We received free t shirts and lunch and afterwards, we floated around Manly until the evening. Then we went to Sydney to see the Vivid Light Show. It was incredible: lights and images were projected onto the opera house. I still have no idea how they did it!
Last weekend was the International House end of semester formal. It was very similar to prom and just as fun. Everyone dressed in formal wear, ate a three course meal, and some people received awards. I danced the night away and had a blast.
When classes ended, I had a week off to study for exams. We have two weeks for our exams and once they are over, I go home. It is still so strange to think about! Many study abroad students traveled during this break but I spent my time doing things around Wollongong I have not had a chance to during the semester.
If you are considering studying abroad, which I recommend, consider staying 2 semesters. People at my home university do not generally stay for more than a semester but once you are here, it is quite common for people to stay for a whole year. You are able to travel more, meet more people, and experience more of the seasons and holidays in the country you visit.
Some other tips that I would give to students considering studying abroad in Australia in the Wollongong/ Sydney area are:
– Realize the seasons are going to change during your time here. In the beginning of the semester it was quite hot and now it is quite cool. Pack accordingly.
– I read a blog before I came and a person recommended packing more rough up clothes as opposed to nice clothes. That may be true for the tropical sections of Australia but nice clothes are good for Wollongong and Sydney. Also, I was surprised by the amount of formal events available here at IHouse (Masquerade, Harbor Cruise, Formal).
– Sunscreen is very important if you are coming at some point during the Australian summer. For semester 1 (February-June), you catch the tail end of summer and need protection. You have to coat every inch of your exposed skin with sunscreen unless you want to be a lobster or have strange burn patterns. The sun is stronger here and I used a ton of sunscreen!
That is all of the advice I can think of for the moment but here are a few things I have been depending upon this semester:
– Watch with built in alarm and timer
– Water bottle
These things have not been necessary but have come in handy
– Hand sanitizer
– rain jacket