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

Life Down Unda

Hey Everyone!

I apologise for not posting in quite a while, but I will be sure to update you on all of the exciting things that I have experienced over the past few weeks! I have had a bit of trouble with my wifi and spotty connection, so every time I have had some time to work on a draft of a post it hasn’t saved correctly. I will be heading down to Binna Burra this weekend for an adventure in the outback and will not be able to write…BUT I promise I will have heaps to talk about once I return at the end of this week.

Ill briefly highlight what I’ve done in the past weeks and how I’m adjusting to Aussie life….and further details and fun photos will come in the next post {SO SOON I SWEAR!!! And it’ll be worth it}.

I last left off at my trip up to the Sunshine Coast with some Australian friends in mid-feb! We spent the day swimming in the ocean and hanging out at Mooloolaba Beach and it was so FAB. The following Tuesday I had a lovely dinner with Georgia’s family before leaving to start IFSA orientation in SYDNEY…..

SOOOOO SYDNEY WAS AMAZING! {and for the record….no there is not a 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney NSW in actual existence because I asked and was a bit disappointed to learn it is not a real address}. Once in Sydney I met other Americans on my program and going to my uni of UQ…and we stayed at the YHA youth hostel which was actually quite nice in terms of hostels with a great rooftop view of the Sydney Opera House so I was impressed and would definitely go back to stay there {it’s quite cheap with a great location & is super upscale for a hostel}. Our first day in Sydney we had a 3 hour walking tour of the city and we got to see the Opera House up close which was breathtaking!! IFSA-Butler put on an amazing orientation program for us and on day 2 we took a trip to the Blue Mountains for a hike and some fun learning about indigenous culture. We made a stop at Featherdale Park to have a lesson about animals such as Koalas and Snakes and other popular Australian animals as well as feeding Kangaroos & watching a Crocodile feeding. Day 3 in Sydney was our big info day where we learned about the education system and what to expect in uni compared to the American university system. We took a beautiful dinner cruise on the Sydney Harbour our last night in the city and it was probably my favorite activity yet in Oz because it was incredible to watch the sunset and the opera house light up after dark.

If anyone is unaware…THERE WAS A CYCLONE IN BRISBANE HITTING THE NIGHT BEFORE/MORNING OF OUR FLIGHT FROM SYD—>BNE. We made the flight out of Sydney only to experience some pretty insane turbulence and wind on our descent into Brisbane. We spent the day moving into our accommodation for the semester {in the pouring down in heaps of buckets rain} but we made the most of it and have been loving life in urbanest on South Bank.

Next was O-Week at UQ! I navigated my way to campus from my accommodation to receive my UQ student ID card, take care of some admin things, and attend a Getting Started Session compulsory for International Students. The campus is HUGE and I’ve gotten lost several times but props to UQ for realizing that nobody knows where they’re going and creating an app called UQnav to help you get around campus. Market Day, a day where UQ clubs and sport have booths with opportunities to have a browse, was filled with thousands of first years and internationals on one of the hottest days so far in my experience coming in at about 36 degrees {and yes that’s in Celsius because it’s what they use}. During Study Abroad & Incoming Exchange orientation we split up into groups and had extensive tours of the huge St. Lucia campus followed by a FREE Aussie barbecue because who doesn’t like free food??

After O-Week was over we had a few days before classes were actually set to start…so naturally myself along with the rest of my IFSA-Butler UQ group {14 of us living together at Urbanest} set out exploring the city and of course nightlife in Brisbane. I was also excited to be able to spend time with my favorite Australians as well, which I feel so lucky and grateful to have natives as really awesome friends as well.

YES YES YES I cuddled a Koala & chilled in the grass between some Kangaroos #typicaltouristmoment at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary just a short ride from where I live in Brisbane. A few things to note:

1. Koalas are just as soft as you’d imagine

2. Koalas are 99.9% grumpy and actually not as friendly as you’d think


4. They’re still the cutest little things and worth the claw marks to love on them

But the Kangaroos were definitely all for hanging out and taking some selfies with me. They even loved me for just feeding them grass which they can eat for themselves anytime they want. ALLLL the photos are coming in the next post so please be patient because there are so many but the wait is worth it!!!!

This past Monday on 2 March UQ classes commenced and I had my first day of uni which was exciting and intimidating! I found Australian professors to be much more laid back but also much more experienced and knowledgeable in their fields than their counterpart in America. Even all my lecturers are Drs. with PhD’s but encourage you to call them by first name and break down the usually rigid teacher/student barrier. Since it is now Thursday night 5 March & I have no friday subjects….I’ve officially survived my first week at UQ only getting lost a handful of times and meeting some Australians and other internationals in my classes. The work load seems a bit intimidating but I’ll give an update on that in the weeks to come.

So that’s the short version of what I’ve done since mid-feb here in Oz! Adventure weekend in the bush starts tomorrow and I am SO excited for that experience. I’m still loving Australia more than ever and am so in love with Brisbane that it’s crazy. The similarities are comforting and the differences are challenging but I’m learning to embrace them and to know that even a bad day in Australia is STILL a day in Australia. Until next time ill be spending all my free time getting sun kissed on the beach


Ashley xxx



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