This week was full of adjustments and learning curves. I currently am writing this in my room which has a window and balcony. It is comforting to wake up to the Australian sun every morning. My living quarters consist of 4 other roommates. Four of them are from the states and one is from Beijing!
The triumphs of shopping
The first morning we were here, we went grocery shopping. Although this doesn’t sound like an interesting story, it was an eye-opening moment that showed us we will have to learn a lot. First, we had to find a grocery store, which took us about an hour. When we were looking through all the different isles, there were many new brands and types of foods we were not used to. After my group and I checked out, we made the decision we were going to hop on the bus back home. Since we are used to driving a car, we have never had to face the dozens of different routes and busses. Needless to say, we did not arrive back at our apartment complex. To give you a visual of our circumstance, there were seven of us, hands full of grocery bags, very lost, nowhere near home. Instead, we were on the other side of campus. To make this visual get even better, we found an abandoned grocery cart on the side of the road and decided to put all our grocery bags into it. Then, we continued our quest toward home. However, as we were making our way through campus, we noticed it was orientation day for some of the students who attend UNSW. When I say some of the students, I still mean hundreds of people. So, there we are, trudging through hundreds of students with a full grocery cart. My group and I exposed ourselves in the best way we could that we are not from Australia. Still, no matter how embarrassing this story was, I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard. It was a great first day.
More on getting lost on the bussing system, there have been three instances where a few of my friends and I try to go somewhere and end up at the beach. I guess that’s not the worst place to be lost though, right? My favorite instance of this predicament was when we were trying to go to Kmart and ended up at Bare Island. This seaside destination had a quaint little restaurant called the Boatshed, where we enjoyed milkshakes and french fries. It gave me a little taste of home while we were watching the sunset go down.
The next day, our program director along with myself and the other seven students from the TEAN program took the tram into the beautiful city of Sydney. Let me just say, Sydney is way bigger than I could have expected, almost overwhelmingly big. We saw various historical landmarks, the Botanical Gardens, and my favorite, the Opera House. I cannot wait to go to Sydney again and spend an entire day adventuring around the town and drinking too much coffee.
I spend many of my night’s journaling my time here and reading books. It’s comforting to slow down and recap my new life and express what I’m feeling. If you are thinking of studying abroad, I highly recommend you bring a journal because it is appreciable to look back and see how much you have grown. On the nights I am not doing this however, my new friends and I experience the nightlife in Sydney. I have never been surrounded by so many people and the feeling of being alive as I have in the city. I’d describe it as a concrete jungle that never sleeps. Overall, it is very euphoric to be here.
My new campus is growing on me more than I’d like to admit. Seeing as this campus has a student enrollment of just under 65,000 students, it is a lot bigger than Hope’s campus. At first, I thought I would never figure out how to get around it all, but after getting lost about 6 times, I feel more comfortable walking around campus.
Keeping in Touch
Last night, my friend from back home called me saying she really missed me. She told me a statement I will never forget, “You never show your presence, but your absence is felt”. As I heard this, it was a very bittersweet feeling. This statement goes for all my friends and family back home. You never really know how good you have it until it’s gone. Even though I feel a bit homesick and miss everyone back in Michigan, I know I will be back with them in just a few months so I won’t let it get the best of me.
This week I will be starting my classes. I am only taking three which is nice, but I heard the classes here are a bit harder than the ones in the States. Due to this, I am a bit nervous to see how well I adjust to my new course load. However, I am excited to learn things about media, consumer behavior, and history from an Australian perspective.
Looking forward to updating you next week,
Kassie Lamar 🙂