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

G’Day Melbourne!

Time June 3rd, 2013 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

I have exactly two weeks left till I head back home to Atlanta, and with the classes being finished, I decided to take a trip to Melbourne. I wanted to keep my trip short and sweet, so my weekend started on Thursday. I left for Melbourne in the morning, and arrived at my uncle’s house. He lives about two hours away from the city, in a suburb called Castlemaine. The suburb is kind of like the area I visited for country life weekend, lots of green trees and cold, crisp wind. Side note-Melbourne has super extreme weather, so in the summer it is extremely hot, while the winters are rainy and cold. Upon my arrival, of course it started to rain so buying an umbrella became a necessity. Anyways, I got to explore the town of Bendigo, which was quite beautiful and picturesque. Afterwards, on Friday we headed to the city. The city of Melbourne is beautiful, with street performers entertaining the crowd to the fancy stores and the uptown malls. I also checked out the Eureka tower, which gives a 360 view of the city. The tower also had this attraction called the ‘edge,’ where you are put into a glass box, and it seems as though you are on the edge of the building, where you can see the streets beneath your feet from a 88 floor height. It was honestly a pretty cool experience! Melbourne also has a great scenic river that is similar to the harbor in Sydney, but not quite.

In Melbourne, I saw more fashion, hipsters, rich people, and a structured pattern of living. It is very different from Sydney, but good different. My friends here say that either you love Sydney or Melbourne, but not both. Although Melbourne has amazing coffee, cheap shopping, and great atmosphere, I am a Sydney girl at heart. I would say that Melbourne is good for bringing up new families and creating a professional lifestyle, but if you’re single and like adventure and creative locations, Sydney is for you.

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It’s not the end, just yet.

Time June 3rd, 2013 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

Recently, IFSA–Butler organized a farewell dinner for all the students to see each other before heading home. The dinner consisted of students from different universities in Sydney, which gave me an opportunity to meet others that I haven’t yet. However, the dinner was also a minor reminder of our departure back home, leaving Sydney. At the dinner, we went through a long slide show that showcased all of our adventures in the past couple of months. It was interesting to see how my friendships had developed, or rather changed over time, how many adventures I had taken on, and my changing attitude over the course of the semester. In the beginning, I had been friends with a whole crowd of different people, which then slowly condensed to merely three or four close friendships. It was quite funny to see my first koala picture, in which I looked scared and uncomfortable, transform to me diving in the shark cage at Port Lincoln. The slideshow was a reminder of how much I had changed, yet remained the same. I had changed through my thinking processes, my way of experiencing adventures, and learning to enjoy every moment. However, I realized that I had maintained my value for quality friendships, lasting relationships, and a desire for learning.

A bit later in the program, we received the letters that we had written on the first day. I remember writing the letter in the hot February weather thinking about all the crazy fun I will have and all the cool people I would meet. I had thought about learning, but exploring was my main focus. After opening the letter, I felt so immature. The letter started with, ” It’s not the end, just yet,” which made me smile. In the letter, I had written myself encouraging notes, talking about crazy adventures, sky diving, getting my first tattoo, and making heaps of friends while abroad. The reality was that I had only accomplished one of the things-getting a tattoo. I did not make lots of friends, but made some really close friends that I would want to visit sometime. I did not go skydiving, but went to the tallest tower in Sydney. I did have crazy adventures though, just not the ones I had originally planned for myself. My adventures consisted of visiting mostly all of Australia, getting lost on the streets of Sydney, taking a 5am train from the city to Newtown, meeting random people on the streets and having long conversations, and creating lasting memories every step of the way. I actually was right. Even though I have only 2 weeks left until I leave, it’s not the end just yet. I have lots to see, lots to do, lost of places to get lost at, and lots of conversations waiting to happen.

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Mirror Mirror

Time May 9th, 2013 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

It’s been a while since I have blogged, so I have a lot to say!

Uni has been going quite well, but assignment submissions have begun. Starting May, most of my assignments were due, and they will continue to be due until June 12th. One of my assignments required me to creatively reflect on some of the most significant experiences of my life. Well, Hello there Australia! Australia has honestly been an extremely worthy period of my life because I learned. I did not grow, I did not suddenly gain maturity, I just learned. I learned lessons, I learned how to take in experiences, I learned how to experience life. Then, when I look at others, did I learn the right stuff? It’s a bit odd to think about myself in relation to all the other students on the program that I have spent so much time with, but also necessary. I am the only SouthAsian person on this trip. Yes, it’s true. Initially, it felt a bit weird because when everyone was trying to catch a tan, I was in the water catching some waves. I didn’t really mind it much, but just felt the odd one out at times. Also, the others would vibrantly talk about their previous trips to Europe while I sat there trying to engage myself in the topic. The best one was the arrival of people’s boyfriends/girlfriends, parents, and family members to Australia just to take a time out and visit their loved ones. I nearly had to go to wits end to pay for this trip, and others just casually take super expensive trips to Oz. I was a bit snarky for that, but I shouldn’t have been. Yes, most people on the trip are white. Yes, they are extremely wealthy, and spoiled. So what? That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t engage myself in the conversations, or learn from them about their adventures, or tell them about my experiences. I shouldn’t feel bad for myself, but rather applaud myself for getting here, and staying here, and learning here. Perhaps, even after traveling the globe, some people don’t achieve the experiences that I have, or the friendships, or gratefulness that I have for the trip. With that said, I did learn. I learned to learn.

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