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

Week 16: Surf Camp and Strep Throat

Coming back from a week-long break from classes is always hard – even harder with mid-semester break I had.

But is was back to business. Continuing my research project, attending classes, everything fell back in place. However, that place was not nearly as cold as when I left. The shift from Melbourne winter to Melbourne spring brought a whole new vibe to campus. People were studying outside, wearing shorts, and seemed on the whole much cheerier.  Everything has been bright and alive since I’ve been back. Even the magpies don’t sound as harsh anymore. Things became laid back and calm – very Australian. If you’re thinking of visiting Melbourne, October to November is the time to do it.

Speaking of things stereotypical of Aussies, I went to surf camp! It was a three day event along the great ocean road with camping, surfing, bonfires, and barbecue. The camping was….less than ideal. My friend and I shared a cheap tent from Kmart and slept in thin sleeping bags on top of twigs and rocks. Not to mention, it doesn’t matter how warm it is during the day, it will get cold at night. I had never been more grateful for a pair of sweatpants in my life. But everything else was idyllic. Surfing is a billion times harder than any surfing movie makes it out to be. Rookies like me get the giant longboards. They’re twice my size, and carrying them down the beach was not an easy task. And while the air was warm, the water was cold; so I doubled up on wet suits. So there I was struggling to carry my surfboard, in two wet suits, can barely move my arms, and I couldn’t have been happier. After a short lesson from Chel, one of our lovely surf instructors, we hit the water. It took me about 5 waves to stand up. And that first stand lasted about .0005 seconds. Then wipe out. But I went at it again and again. In total we surfed about 14 hours that weekend and I stood up a fair amount. However, don’t forget sunscreen. You will get tan/burn lines from your wet suit – and tan hands and pale arms is not pretty.

On a less fun note, I am currently battling my first (real, I need a doctor) illness – strep throat (which I did NOT get from surf camp – promise). Lucky for me I’m not missing classes because it’s SWOT VAC week – a week of reading days before finals can begin. But it no fun I assure you. Nothing so far has made me miss home too much; but needing a doctor and not knowing where/how to find one is nerve wracking to say the least. If you are thinking of studying abroad, don’t do what I did and wait until the minute to get your overseas health insurance card. Do it right at the beginning when they tell you to. But in all honesty it wasn’t too much of a nightmare. The amazing people at UC helped me get to the doctor and then to the pharmacy and I am now recovering as quickly as my antibiotics can manage.

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