Not in Kansas Anymore
Has it really only been two weeks since I left home?
It seems like I’ve already lived through another lifetime, and needless to say I’ve learned so much in the last two weeks that my brain hurts. After meeting so many people from so many different places, I truly feel as if I’ve already grown to be more worldly– never have I met so many people with these utterly unique accents and slang words, but I’ve also met people that are similar to me in so many ways that we could be twins. In two weeks I have traveled thousands of miles, dealt with cancelled flight plans and survived, explored beneath the Sydney Harbour and the downtown of Wollongong, and met both talking Aussies (the human ones) as well as some fuzzy ones (including koalas and kangaroos, OMG).
The Aussies I’ve come to known in the last week and a half seem to be some of the most genuine fun-loving people I have ever met, and they also care for everyone as if they are family– plus a healthy dose of jokes at the other’s expense. Already I can tell how much I’m going to fall in love with Wollongong, because the city has so much charm, a small-town vibe, and having an incredible view of Mt. Kiera at the back with the beach lining the opposite edge of the city.
The first weekend here was spent exploring Sydney at the IFSA-Butler Orientation, which helped me have time to get over jet lag as well as meet other students studying in Sydney. Once I traveled to campus on Monday I began to meet even more International Students (especially since I live in the International Housing), as well as welcomed by the domestic students who could see how clueless I was, then gave me tours of the city and dorms. All week I explored the town, trying to get my bearings and going to every meet & greet I could manage, figured out my tutorial class schedule, started finding the pubs where the locals go to each week, and lastly trying all of the food I could (did you know Aussies eat spaghetti and toast for breakfast? No? Me neither). Over the weekend I went on another orientation trip to the Blue Mountains, the Jenolan Caves, and a wildlife park (hence the photos with Cooper the koala plus the cute kangaroos). I’m also very lucky that the resident housing I live in has so many International students that are keen (a word the Aussies love to use) on exploring, and we visited the Nan Tien Buddhist temple yesterday then took a trek through the Minamurra rainforest, seeing waterfalls and Lyre birds galore.
Needless to say I have had an incredible two week span, and I can only imagine that things will get better from here on out. Classes have started and they’ll be challenging, but I’m nothing but ecstatic about my decision to study abroad at the University of Wollongong and can’t wait to see what other shenanigans the Aussies get into next. Until next time,