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

Summer Hols

ok so i wrote this a few days ago… but due to orientation activities and continuing internet problems (which are finally fixed!!) i’m only getting to post it now.  i will update again soon, probably this weekend when “o week” (orientation week) is over.

Summer Hols


That is what I am currently in.  Summer, and everything that comes with it.  Beaches, jellyfish, sunburn, and apparently a decent amount of rain…  Ironic since Australia is in a draught.  It’s rained quite a bit since we got here though.  Our orientation trip to Fraser Island was cancelled because the bridge to get there flooded from all the rain.  Underwater Seaworld was a poor backup, especially since we were there for hours.  You can only see the seal show so many times.  The giftshop had a book on Fraser Island so we flipped through all the pictures and pretended we were there.  Definitely not the same, hopefully I’ll have the chance to visit before leaving.


When I first landed in Brisbane it didn’t really sink in that I was in Australia, it felt similar to being in Florida.  There were 2 things I learned really quickly: 1) look right when crossing the street and 2) every word gets shortened here.  For example, hols is short for holiday.  Apparently they have summer holiday from school instead of summer vacation.  We also learned about the stinky winky honky tonky wonky donkey.   No one seems to remember what stinky was supposed to mean (I don’t, and I just asked everyone in the hallway) but the rest of it means a one eyed elvis impersonating 3 legged donkey.  Some more practical “slangâ€? is cozi for bathing suit (or bathing costume, if you will), sunnies for sunglasses, bloke for guy, sheila for girl (which I don’t get because that one adds a syllable), sleven for 711, mackers for mcdonalds, etc. etc. etc.


At this point I’ve been in Sydney for a week and half but I wasn’t able to move into my room at St. Johns until this morning.  Somehow the college didn’t know we were coming so early and the rooms for myself and the other American study abroad students were rented out to a group of Japanese students staying here for some kind of trip or conference.  What that meant for us was living out of our suitcases and getting spoiled in our single rooms that had sinks.  It’s nice to finally be settled, but I miss my sink and having a space all my own.  I get along well with my roommate, but we have very different communicating styles so we end up misunderstanding each other a lot.  Overall I’ve gotten along with everyone from the program and the few Australian students I’ve met.  I definitely have my bouts of homesickness and missing my friends, family, and the familiar that I tend to take for granted or get bored of at home.


It’s been hard to keep track of the time and the days over here.  I think this is partially because I didn’t pack a watch and partially because we’ve done so much every day with very minimal responsibilities.  I really do feel like I’ve been gone for at least a month.  It’s hard to believe we have another week until classes start.  There are currently 4 calendars hanging in my room… so I don’t think keeping track of the days will be a problem anymore.  I know 4 seems excessive, I would be among the first to admit that, however calendars turned out to be the hot giveaway item at the club fair during orientation.  A plethora of calendars is far superior to blank white walls.  Plus at least they are all very different looking.  One is my super cool Heroes calendar my friend gave me for Christmas J


That reminds me, I’ve barely watched tv or surfed the web since I’ve been here.  The tv I could mostly do without, but the lack of internet is definitely frustrating.  Especially when combined with uber limited cell phone use.  I knew the internet wasn’t all free, but my problem is that I can’t access any sites other than those on the usyd network from St. Johns.  Hopefully we will find a way to access other sites, but for now it means going across campus to the library or into Newtown where we’ve discovered a few places with free wireless.  That is quite the hassle, which is why I haven’t posted a blog until now.  Especially with all the activities we’ve been doing.


We’ve basically done all the typical touristy things: the opera house, the Sydney bridge, a ferry through the harbor to get to Manly beach (my favorite so far, I highly recommend it), Coogee beach, Bondi beach, King St in Newtown, exploring campus, walking around the cbd (central business district) in Sydney, the botanical gardens, darling harbor, the anzac bridge, various bars and clubs…. And there’s still a lot that we haven’t seen or done!!!  I wanted to go to the zoo today, but couldn’t because we were moving in.  Tomorrow ifsa-butler has arranged a free bike trip around Sydney and across the bridge.  I’m really excited, it should be a great day!  Ifsa-butler has actually been extremely helpful throughout the whole process, I’m glad I chose them.  I’ve met students from other programs and I feel like my program has been the most helpful and provided the most services.  For example, at St. Johns has formal dinners twice a week and ifsa-butler gave us free rental gowns (think Hogwarts and Harry Potter robes; legit that is what St. Johns and the robes are like).  The students here from the Arcadia program had to buy theirs.


I could go on about the city, St. Johns, and campus forever, but I’m going to stop for now.  Hopefully the internet situation will be figured out very shortly.  Then I’ll be able to post shorter blogs more frequently, instead of one giant one like this.  Also I’m sure once classes actually start we won’t be going to quite as many places.  Cheers!


One Response to “Summer Hols”

  1. Helene Says:


    I hope you didn’t get too sun burned. Sounds like you’ve already had a great learning experience. Mostly positive. May God’s Blessing continue to be upon you. Hope they celebrate St. Patick’s Day.


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