This was an amazing experience and I want to thank you all to followed along with my posts! It makes it feel all worth while. I cannot believe it went by so fast and am amazed at how much I got to do. The best part was all the friends I made and I hope to keep for a very long time. I learned a lot about Australia and their lifestyle and about many other cultures, also. I think that actually living and studying with people from other cultures was the best way to learn about their cultures. I ended up learning more when I was just hanging out with friends than I could from a book or the Internet. By attending classes there I learned a lot about how other universities' programs work and definitely learned new styles of learning/teaching. The classes were structured very differently, which challenged me but allowed me to adapt to other forms of learning. I would definitely recommend this to anyone! If anybody has any questions please ask! I love talking about my adventure and giving more specific thoughts to people interested. If not Australia I would recommend to travel anywhere! The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.
June 2012 Archives
So I arrived home from my up north trip on Thursday evening; Scott picked me up and brought me back to his house (and Lyn's house). I spent the night there and then Lyn took me to the airport for my 6:30 am flight to Melbourne. The flight was only 3 hours and went by quickly. I arrived in Melbourne and took a shuttle to my hotel. This trip was planned with my friend Dave, who met my sister Laura when she was in Australia. He works on oil rigs right off of Melbourne and was supposed to get off work on Thursday and then spend the weekend with me in Melbourne and stay at his sister's house who lives there. But, they had weather issues and were a man down so Dave was not able to get off of work until Monday so I was left to explore by myself. After getting my room situated I went to explore around the city. It was a beautiful day so I walked down to Federation Square, which has lots of options of different places for tourists. I went to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, which had an exhibit on the story of film, television and digital culture. Melbourne is such a beautiful city to walk around and is so busy with all the shops, alleyways and shopping centres. It took me all day just to see everything in the main part of the city. Melbourne also has two buses/trams that go around the city to the major attractions that are free. The bus driver talks about each area so I did one whole loop around the city to see what places there were. Saturday morning I woke up early for a bus tour on the Great Ocean Road. This tour had about 20 people also but I didn't get to know too many of them because it was only one day long. The Great Ocean Road was built to attract tourists and follows along the coast. We went to Bell Beach, which is the first beach that surfing originated from and then stopped in a few small towns along the way. Stopped to see some wild koalas and then did a walk through a forest. We went to the 12 Disciples, which are huge rock formations in the water. Sounds like the Pinnacles but the Pinnacles are usually like 10 feet where these are 40 feet and much wider. They are in the water and created from the water breaking down the rocks/cliffs at the coast. We also went to the "London Bridge" which is a rock formation that used to look like the London Bridge but ended up breaking. 'London Bridge fell down.' We got dinner and I became good friends with a French girl who was working in Australia. We didn't get back into the city until 9 so I changed and then met up with one of my friends I made on my bus tour up north who lives in Melbourne but is from Poland. We met up at a pub for a drink and got to catch up. Sunday morning I walked around the the Botanical Gardens and through a few markets. In the afternoon I went to the footy game at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. It is the largest sports arena in Australia and was huge! The game was a blow out but still very enjoyable. Footy will definitely be something I will miss. It started to rain after the game so I got dinner and then spent the night in the hotel. Monday morning I met up with Dave and we got lunch, walked through the casino (made money!) and then walked through the city a bit more. We went to the top of the tallest building and looked out on the city. Could not believe how big it was. We then took the train to his sister's place, which is about 20 minutes from the city. We got there and waited for her and her boyfriend to come home. That night we went out for drinks and then went to a nice pizza place for dinner. It was very fun spending the night with them and they are very, very nice people. Tuesday morning we woke up early and they took me to the airport to my trip home. So sad I had to leave but was excited to come home.
After spending the weekend in Bunbury to celebrate Scott's birthday I took a tour up the west coast. Had a wonderful time spending the last weekend with all of my close friends and was hard to leave them! Hopefully I will be back soon :) Anyway, I moved out of my flat Monday morning so I was busy Sunday night packing.. which was quite a stressful situation. Sunday night we took Kerryn to the airport to see her off, also. Monday morning we left for the tour; it was 20 people + the tour guide. Ending up being 19 girls and 1 guy plus the tour guide was a guy. A lot of people were on their own and we had people from Denmark, Norway, England, Ireland, Germany, America, Taiwan, China and Poland, etc. The first day we went to the Pinnacles, which are tall rock formations that stick out of the ground across the desert. We didn't have the best of weather so we went to a look out over the ocean, stopped in Geraldton and then headed to our hostel for the first night. Since everything is so spread out on the west coast it involved a lot of driving time and getting to see many wild kangaroos. We stayed our first nice in Kalbarri. The next morning we woke up and went to a gorge at the Kalbarri National Park, where people were able abseil. We also went out to an area called Nature's Window, which is a rock that forms a window in the middle. As we headed to Monkey Mia we stopped at Shell Beach. The beach does not have sand and literally is all tiny shells. It was amazing! Probably my favourite part of the trip. We finally arrived at Monkey Mia and got settled in our hostel. It was right on the ocean and had a pub, pool tables, pool and a hot tub. We definitely took advantage of using the hot tub with the ocean in front of us. After dinner we hung out in the pub and then when it got late we walked out to the jetty and looked at the stars and watched the dolphins swim around the jetty. The next morning we woke up early to see the dolphins. The interesting thing about Monkey Mia is tourists are able to see wild dolphins. They swim up near shore usually and the wildlife program feeds them throughout the day. We got to feed them but not touch them because they are wild and not trained. We started heading south after this. We stopped and saw stromalites, which are thought to be the oldest living orgasm in the world. We drove for quite a while and then got to our farmstay. It was at an old shearing shed and literally in the middle of nowhere.. That night we had dinner and just relaxed. Thursday morning we woke up and heading south to Hutt River Province. It is a country that one man started in 1970 because the government had put a quota on wheat and it would have affected his whole land and income. It took quite a bit of explaining of how he did it but we walked around and were legally in a different country. Google it, it is pretty interesting! We stopped at a wildlife park and got to feed the animals and hold baby kangaroos. They literally felt like they were only 10 pounds and the size of a small chihuahua dog. Our last part of the trip involved sandboarding. We were supposed to go the first day but didn't have good enough weather. We went down a few times on boards while sitting.. like sledding and then tried a few times standing up. Lastly we arrived in Perth after four busy, fun-filled days with many new friends. I made quite a few good friends on the trip and everybody got along very well. Very glad I last minute decided to take this trip.
Well it has been quite a while since I have posted! I am currently in America! I have a lot to fill you all in and I'm hoping a few of you will still check this to see it! I decided I will go back and do posts on each of my trips so this isn't so lengthy. Sorry this took so long I had pretty bad jet lag when I arrived home and then got mono so was pretty worn out for a week straight. Plus, I was busy trying to catch up with friends and family after being gone for 4.5 months!
Well posting to my blog is a good way of procrastinating so I figured I will fill you all in. Not much has happened here, still been studying for my final. Kind of wish I could just get it done with. My close flatmate Emma finished her last final today and is leaving to go home soon. It is so hard to say goodbye! Doesn't seem like it is real. I decided that since I get done with my final this Friday and don't leave for Melbourne until next Friday that I would plan a trip up North. I booked a tour with a company in Perth that takes us north to the pinnacles, Kalbarri and Monkey Mia. The tour leaves early Monday morning and gets back Thursday evening. The further north, the better the weather so I am hoping it is a bit warmer when I travel! I booked this by myself and the bus holds 24 people so I am excited to make some new friends. In Monkey Mia they let you go in the water right next to wild dolphins so I am very excited for that. The tour includes accommodation and meals so it will be nice to just relax and be taken care of. Not sure if I will have time to post this weekend.. Tomorrow is my final and then we are all going out to celebrate Kerryn and me leaving and our friend Ben's birthday. On Saturday we are heading down to Bunbury for our mate Scott's 21st birthday. He actually plays soccer in the US and is home for only a month. We won't come back until Sunday and then I will be busy packing since I leave in the morning! I will try to post if I can!
Finals week started today! But, back to last week.. On Thursday I ended up attempting to study all day. On Friday I went to Kerryn's flat cause her and our friend Leigh made an Italian dinner. Leigh had two friends from her home town visiting so us girls all ate the three course meal and then headed into the city. A few of our guy friends met us in the city and we went to a few clubs. On Saturday night our friend Tom that took us to the abandoned powerhouse in Fremantle took us to an abandoned mental institution. We didn't go until it was dark outside and all had to bring flashlights because all the windows in the buildings are boarded up. In order to get in we had to crawl through a small hole where the metal was bent. The inside was covered in graffiti and it was all completely empty. A bit creepy at night but was really fun walking around inside. After that, Tom took us out to the hills to see a view of Perth at night. It was really pretty with all the lights and was a nice drive. On Sunday, Kerryn and I went into the city to do some final souvenir shopping. Trying to make sure I can get everything before I leave! Today I have really geared down to start studying for my final. My final is on friday but it is over everything we learned so I am glad I still have a few days. Can't believe that in two weeks from today I will be preparing to leave for America in the morning! I forgot to say on here but I decided to change my flight so I could head to Melbourne for a few days. Dave is working on the rigs in Melbourne and his sister lives there so he said I should go there for a weekend and he could show me around and stay at her place. My new plan is to leave for Melbourne on Friday, June 15 and stay until Tuesday, June 19. I am very excited because everybody says Melbourne is such a beautiful city! I won't be doing much this week because of my final but I will be sure to try to update with everything.