Phillip Island Adventure and Uni Lessons!
Hey everybody! I just wrapped up an awesome weekend (and great week of classes..) and there is plenty to blog about! So put on your party pants, grab a cold beverage, and be ready for the time of your life.
First off, and most recently, Yogi from IFSA-Butler took us on a full day trip to Phillip Island yesterday. It was amazing! We met her in the city and headed off for a day filled with train rides, koalas, incredible views, and plenty of penguins! The first activity we had was a ride on the “puffing billy”, which was an old steam train that originally began running in 1900. It was considered “fast transportation” back then but I’m pretty sure it took us a good 30 minutes to go about 5-10 kilometers. After the train ride we got to visit a koala conservatorium where we saw at least 15 koalas hanging out up in the trees! There was even one sitting right on the walkway, which I will try and post a picture of. Along with koalas there were heaps of wallabies wandering around the nature paths. After the koala adventure we headed out to The Nobbies to try and catch a view of some fur seals. Unfortunately they were too far out on the rocks to get a good glimpse but the views were absolutely breath taking! After a quick stop for dinner the time had come that we’d all been waiting for… the Penguin Parade!!! This was exactly as it sounds. People literally buy a ticket and sit in a giant grandstand to wait for the Little Penguins to return to land from a day in the water. I think it is the most entertained I have even been by a few little animals. Unfortunately there are no cameras allowed but pictures wouldn’t even do these little guys justice. It was so funny just to watch them curiously poke out of the water and then take off waddling in groups like a scene from Braveheart. As soon as they passed the grandstand you were encouraged to walk back on the walkways and see them search for their burrows. Like I said, very entertaining!
Besides the Phillip Island adventure, there has been plenty more going on around college and Uni in the past week or two. Our UC girls softball team, which me and Brian helped coach (mainly because we know the rules and like doing motivational speeches), took 3rd place in their tournament and our boy’s cricket team took 2nd in theirs! Exciting times at UC. As far as Uni news goes, I turned in my first assignment last week! I would say that is a pretty big accomplishment for any study abroad/college student. Speaking of assignments/class/uni, this brings me to my “Melbourne Uni lesson of the day”. As I promised in a past blog, I’ll talk a little bit about the class structure and learning styles here. After all, I’m sure they didn’t ask me to write this blog just to prove there are koalas and penguins here. So here we go..
First off, I like the class/learning structure a lot more here. It just makes more sense. When you sign up for a subject here, you pick a lecture (or 2 or 3) and a tutorial. By the way, I’m not a science student and their lives are a whole lot different I hear. The lecture is very similar to a comparable lecture at my home university, but the tutes is where I really like this model over ours. A tute is a smaller group of about 15-20 students from your lecture. Depending on the class, you may get your actual lecturer or another qualified tutor. This small group gives you a chance to actually discuss the lecture material, ask and answer questions about the readings, and participate in group discussions, both to better understand material and make a few friends while you’re there. I really like this because it encourages participation that was definitely lacking in my economics classes of 300-500+ back home. It also gives you a chance to connect with your professors and even get on a first name basis! I also like the teaching style that most of them possess, as it is more teaching “to you” and “with you” rather than just lecturing “at you”. Overall, even though this University is about the same (huge) size as my school back home, I think this teaching and learning style already makes me feel like more than just a number here, compared to the lack of individual attention given back home.
Well that about wraps it up for this blog, fingers cross that the pictures I’m uploading will be included on the bottom of this! We (the Americans) are currently trying to book some holiday plans for the upcoming Easter break and possibly a few weekends in the future; I’ll keep you all posted on that.
Lastly, shout outs time! (By request or necessity)
-J-Woww across the hall, a great neighbor with an even better i-tunes selection!
-Roomie Brian, for helping me write this!
-Mom and Dad for mastering skype!
-And FSU men’s basketball, for disappointing us once again.. =(