A Week in the Life
It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in Australia for over a month now. It’s even harder to believe that back home all my friends have just started going back to school when I’m now into week 6 of classes. There was a weird pang that hit it my stomach when I saw the first Facebook post of a fellow F&M student heading back to their dorm room. It’s extremely difficult not to think of all the things I’ll be missing when Fall semester begins again, and it’s challenging to try and avoid FOMO (feeling of missing out) at all costs. There will definitely be times I’ll wish I was back home, doing the things my friends and family are doing, but then again it’s also easy to remember where I am.
Being here for over a month now, I’ve settled into a schedule and find myself looking forward to so many things on a weekly basis between classes, weekend trips, and discovering the city of Adelaide day by day. So I guess I might at well give an overview of your typical week here would look like as an international student (though mine may be filled with a bit more animals than your average student).
Monday: The week starts off with my Conservation and Restoration practical at 10:00 AM which, for the past few weeks, has consisted of planning for our big group project. All groups were assigned to a conservation site or wildlife preserve with the assignment of documenting the progress of certain species of wildlife. I was lucky enough to get placed in the group that will be going to Kangaroo Island during mid-semester break to document wildlife there. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for a group project in my life, especially considering it will involve kangaroos, koalas, sea lions, and all the other wildlife the island has to offer. At around 1:00 the practical wraps up and I have a few hours until the Conservation and Restoration lecture at 4:00 which lasts an hour. After that, it’s a nice walk back to the apartment to make dinner and beat the Monday blues with a movie night with my flatmates.
Tuesday: A late start to Tuesday with my first class (Australian Classics: Literature and Film) starting at 2:00 PM. This leaves Tuesday mornings often a prime time for catching up on the week’s work at the University of Adelaide library. The stroll to the university is often just the thing to perk me up in the mornings. The city starts coming to life before my eyes and it’s a nice time to clear my head before the start of a day full of lectures, tutorials, readings, and discussion. Parakeets are chirping (screeching) in the trees overhead and with only a slight chill in the air I always feel grateful to be in the brilliantly new city I’m in. Once the first lecture hits there’s little time between it and my tutorial for the same class which lasts until 6:00 PM. Australian Classics is an interesting class for me having never read or seen much Australian books or films in my life. Being in a small group discussion it’s been very fun asking Australian students about their university life compared to mine. I was almost too scared to speak the first tutorial realizing I was the only international student in the class. When I did finally work up the courage, the girl sitting across from me looked at me with a confused expression before asking where I was from? I laughed, not realizing I sounded like I was from anywhere other than in the U.S.. From then on it was question after question back and forth about the strange, subtle, and funny differences between cultures.
Thursday: The earliest start of the day begins as I wake up at 6:00 AM to get to my 10:00 AM Animal Behavior lecture at Roseworthy campus. Roseworthy campus is the extension of the University of Adelaide campus that houses animal and veterinary sciences. The campus is a bus ride away and although I’m not in the greatest of moods when I wake up that morning once I get to campus I’m always glad to be there. Finally, I’m able to learn about the subject I’m majoring while each week getting amazing hands on experience. I’ve herded sheep, handled cattle, trained puppies, and this week I trained chickens of all things (apparently if you can train a chicken you can train any animal). Ironically, my chicken was named Hillary, as all the chickens were named after famous female political figures, and being the only American in the class everyone found it quite hilarious. I’ve never felt more confident that working with animals is what I want to do for the rest of my life since coming here. After a day filled with nothing but Animal behavior from 10:00 to 4:00, finally getting home around 5:30 off the bus feels like a breath of relief every week. Usually I’ll at least have been kind enough to myself to prepare myself dinner the night before and then I’m almost always too tired to do anything but curl up with a book or movie.
Friday: TGIF! Two classes today starting with a Conservation and Restoration lecture again and followed by IFSA-Butler’s class, Engage: Community and Culture. The Engage class has been one of the highlights of my time here. With only 5 American students in the class, it’s gives us a chance to reflect on all that’s happened since we’ve arrived. How we’re feeling, what we’ve experienced, and cultural differences all come up in our discussion about the like of the international student or traveler. Often our professor and program adviser, Sharna, will take the 5 of us on an excursion every few weeks to experience Australian culture and community, the latest being our visit to an Australian Football Game. Friday nights have also been a fun night out for my flatmates and I to explore the night life around Adelaide.
Saturday: This often leads to Saturdays being a sleep in sort of day. Lazy Saturdays usually consist of reading, movie watching, and afternoon trips to the store. A few weekends they’ve also been days to take a trip to Cleland Wildlife Park, a quick favorite of mine to visit in the South Australia region. Hiking to different waterfalls and to the top of Mt. Lofty there as well as visiting the wildlife park to see some koalas it’s also a good destination choice. Visiting the Adelaide Zoo was also quite the Saturday adventure recently which resulted in an obnoxious abundance of otter photos.
Sunday: I usually have to remind myself on Mondays of the work week ahead, with classes and homework and readings, but that doesn’t always been there’s no going out. The food scene around Adelaide is unbelievable and a Nutella and peanut butter milkshake is just one of the many delicious good eats I’ve encountered. Sundays are also a good time I’ve found to Skype with some very missed faces back home and catch up on what’s been going on with everyone back in the U.S., or if we’re feeling adventurous taking a 4 hour hike across South Australia’s beautiful beaches.
If one thing is constant it’s that each week brings a new adventure and new experiences, and that leaves me constantly looking forward to the next.