Surf Camp!

During orientation, we had a compulsory surf safety presentation (can’t get more Aussie than that!), and we were told about Surf Camp Australia. Two days of nothing but “SURF EAT SLEEP REPEAT.” Sounds great right? So we got a bunch of people to sign up and within no time we were off!

Related image
7 Mile Beach – best place to learn to surf in Australia!

With our bags packed and eager to get going, we arrive at our meeting place just a little early! Okay, we were an hour early… Luckily, they plan to take the first 20 people by train instead of bus, so after waiting for a few more people to arrive, we’re off to the train station! Because we are so excited about our adventure and hanging out with other ICMS students, we are chatting away with the group while we wait for the train. Unfortunately, our surf camp instructor, Scott, leads his sweet, innocent little ducklings onto the quiet carriage of the train…

for our two hour ride…

20-odd college-age students…

Quiet?

Of course not.

We tried. We really did. Thankfully after an hour, most people start getting off the train, but not without scolding our group multiple times for talking on the quiet carriage. So after a long, awkward, exciting, and at times uncomfortable train ride, we make it to Gerringong, where our cute little surf camp oasis is expecting us.

Jose, the manager, giving us instructions for the weekend

 

We have a meeting once everyone arrives about the breakdown of the weekend. Two groups of campers with two surf lessons, one Saturday and one on Sunday!

 

 

 

 

 

Surf, eat, sleep, repeat!

Getting up on Saturday, we are full of excitement! We get our wetties (wetsuits) on and head to the beach for lesson number 1! It’s not the best day to swim, let alone surf, but the wetsuits definitely help. We have our basic instruction about how to surf and the anatomy of the surfboard, but unfortunately the wind and the waves are so bad we can’t surf that morning. We still have tons of fun hanging out back at camp, playing giant Jenga and talking with our fellow surfers.

Trying to beat the record of 26 levels high…. wasn’t successful, but we had fun regardless!

The conditions still are pretty bad in the afternoon, but they let us attempt to surf anyway! I try my best to remember the steps, but by the end of the day, I still am not able to stand up on my board. However, I am determined to get it day 2. But for now, it’s dinner and some dancing at the local pub!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday morning we get up at 7 and we’re surfing by 8! After a bit of help on some better waves, my lovely instructors get me up on a wave and it was incredible!  Gliding so smoothly across the water I throw some shakas at the guys signaling I finally had it! After our lesson, we head back to camp to pack up and have our closing meeting. They weren’t kidding – Surf eat sleep repeat – I was beat by the end of it! However I wasn’t quite ready to get back into school mode…

ICMS Surf Fam <3

 

 

First Week of Classes (Finally)

After what seemed to be ages of multiple orientations and time spent on Manly Beach, week one is officially here! Leading up to this week, I was so curious to see what my classes would be like compared to what I’ve taken at Hope. Finally, I could log into the ICMS app and my timetable appeared! Four classes, similar to a schedule at Hope, but the similarities end there. At ICMS, we have class once a week, and each class lasts three hours. That being said, we only have a few days of class per week, meaning we have loads of time for studying and homework… or beach days, parties, and exploring Sydney!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since ICMS is an international school, I have met so many people from around the world – surprisingly a lot of Germans! There are a few schools that are partnered with ICMS, so it gets a large influx of students from various schools in Germany and Asia. That being said, this September term is high on international students compared to locals. I wasn’t expecting it to be rare to meet Aussie students, but it is so exciting to know people from all over!

My first week of classes didn’t take much getting used to. Though different, the way they schedule classes here is simpler than in the US. I don’t have class on Mondays or Fridays, so I was able to ever so gently ease into school life. Spending

First day of school! First day of school!

most of Monday on Manly Beach building sand castles, reading, and watching surfers and swimmers in the glistening ocean waves seems to me like a well-spent day! Tuesday rolled around and I had to get it together. Dressing in a slacks, blazer, and flats instead of my swimmers and (of course) Chacos, definitely is a bit of a change, but after a few weeks of fun, its about time! Though three hours of class feels much longer than three hours, I can hardly complain. All my teachers give me coffee breaks about two hours into class, so that always helps me get through the last hour!

Though this first week has been pretty basic (much like most first weeks of classes are), I know I will have plenty of papers and projects in the near future! But for now, here’s to swimmers, sand castles, and sunshine!

Yeah… we build a lot of sand castles

 

The Castle on the Hill

The International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) is located on what seems to be the tallest hill in Manly, Australia. Driving up to it after a weekend in the outback seemed like a dream. With only about 200 students living on campus at a time, it is a small but incredibly stunning school. Just to show how amazing it is, here are some fun facts about ICMS!

  1. It is casually known as the Hogwarts of Australia.
  2. The Great Gatsby was filmed here.
  3. There are at least 5 beaches within walking distance of campus.
  4. Downtown Manly has countless cafes (food + coffee = happiness) and shops all within walking distance of campus as well.Image result for icms campus castle

There are more aspects of ICMS that makes it great, but those are some of my favorites! On top of it all, most students only have class about three days a week, so there is so much time outside of class to go enjoy these beautiful places surrounding campus. One of the more interesting things about ICMS is that we have to dress in business professional attire to class in order to prepare us for the working world once we graduate. Even after being in class for only a few days, I feel out of place when I’m not dressed up. I feel as if I need to look as classy as this castle that I have the opportunity to live in!

I categorized this post as “daily life” which blows my mind because this paradise is my daily life here! A typical day consists of going to your 0-2 classes, then quick change into your swimmers and head down to the beach for a swim, or to watch

View from my window of Manly Beach!

the sunset down on the water. The motto of my hometown, Lake Orion, is “where living is a vacation,” but those Michiganders must never have been to Manly. This is a vacation where I get to earn college credit. It’s a win-win! Two weeks in and I’m so thankful I was given the chance to be here.

 

 

Orientation! …In the outback?

After 20-odd hours in multiple airports and various planes, I finally made it to Sydney, Australia! …only to leave this beautiful city less than a day later to fly to my program’s orientation at a resort surrounding Ayers Rock, also known to the aboriginal people as Uluru. For those of you who don’t know what that is – I definitely had no clue before I came here – it is a giant red rock in the middle of a very flat desert! Sounds thrilling, right? Yeah, I was a little concerned too. Flying to the middle of nowhere in a country I have never been in with a group of people I have never met did make me a bit nervous! However, when we arrived, there was nothing to be worried about.

We arrived at what seemed to be the world’s smallest airport (with only two gates) and hopped on a bus that would take us to our hotel for the weekend. Little did I know that this was actually a very nice resort! We weren’t roughing it in the outback as I had expected. We had normal hotel rooms surrounded by the gorgeous red sands of the desert. There were multiple small hotels, a few restaurants, and the town square with some shops and even a grocery store.

After finding our rooms and a bit of exploring, it was finally time to eat! We met at the main bar/restaurant area where it was an Aussie self cook BBQ dinner. I do not know how to grill, yet they handed me a plate of raw steak and kangaroo, and happily showed me to the rows of grills stationed for us to use. I was worried that I would kill this meat many times over on this grill, but I was so hungry I had to do it! Thanks to my many years of experience watching food network, I actually grilled up a pretty decent steak and kangaroo! I highly recommend trying kangaroo – it was quite delicious.

 

Grillin’ kangaroo like a champ!

 

Kata Tjuta

The next day we took a tour at Kata Tjuta (another giant rock in the middle of nowhere). We hiked with our guide to a couple of different stunning viewing areas, but had to leave quickly in order to get back in time for our other planned events. We stopped at a viewing area of Uluru in order to watch the sun change the color of the rock as it set. It was amazing but again, we

Made it to the top!

had to hurry to our last stop before dinner. This last spot was one of my favorites because it was incredibly unique. It is called the Field of Lights, and it was just that – a field of lights! There was a sea of little handcrafted bulbs that changed colors as you walked around them. It was such a peaceful and gorgeous experience to have in the middle of the desert. After that, we finished our adventure back at the resort and were treated to a five star interactive buffet dinner! It was just as amazing as it sounds and yes, I ate just about one of everything! After dinner, we called it a day because the next morning we had a sunrise hike around Uluru that we definitely did not want to miss!

When we arrived at the rock, the sun was just starting to peek out on the horizon. Our tour guide, Jason, moved pretty quickly as he informed us that this would be a 12 km walk around this rock. He took us to places where we could stop and gawk at this desert wonder; however, there wasn’t much time for standing around and taking pictures because Jason would already be on the move! He would stop and tell us some of the stories that the aboriginals pass down to their children about a certain section of the rock, and there were quite a few! All of the stories are meant to teach some sort of moral to the children, just like we do in our culture. We also saw many cave drawings that depicted characters from these stories being told to us. Popular drawings would be of emu tracks (hunting image), people sitting, and their version of what we would call the devil. The hike took about five hours to complete, and by the end of it we were entirely exhausted. We got back, slept for a few hours, then got up for another incredible dining experience – this time in the middle of the desert.

 

Our dinner was truly an experience. We started on a hill overlooking Uluru, so we were able to watch the sunset against it for a second time. They had endless drinks and hors d’oeuvres including crocodile, chicken liver, kangaroo, and smoked salmon – all irresistibly amazing! After the sun was almost set, we were escorted to our tables to enjoy our three course Sound of Silence dinner experience. Another beautiful buffet was offered and as the night progressed, we were entertained by a didgeridoo player and, for the main event, an astronomer talked to us about the countless stars in the sky. I have never seen so many stars in my life – I even saw the milky way! We had a moment of silence to appreciate the quiet of the nature around us. That moment quickly became my favorite moment of the weekend. After a long day, we made it back to our hotels for our last night of the trip.

After a hearty breakfast and some last-minute exploring, we finally made our way back to the airport for our short flight back to Sydney. We got back just in time to see what orientation has in store for us at ICMS!