A Travellerspoint blog

Be prepared!!

As the motto says

semi-overcast 66 °F
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Hey there,
This will probably be the last or second to last post, as my time is coming to a close here in Australia… for now. I find it is becoming increasingly difficult to think about going home. Yes, it is my home and I do miss my family and friends, not to mention the football games, but I'm having a lot of fun over here and I’ve made a ton of new friends that I'm not ready to say goodbye to. I’ve been reading some other blogs about how to prepare to leave and the biggest thing seems to be making sure you do everything you absolutely want to and leave nothing to regret. I would have to agree that is probably the best advice. I’m an organized person so I made a list and I’m super excited to do all of it. I wish I’d had more time to do some of it earlier but it will be great to break up the studying with some last minute fun. All that being said I do still have three exams to study for and that’s where the study part of study abroad comes in. Even though I’m here for school, it has been a good semester and I would definitely do it all over again.
Do some exploring, spending some time with friends and just generally relax… on the beach.
Some of the biggest worries you may have are money and a different curriculum but I can tell you that even with a set of courses that was supposed to be more difficult I am still doing fairly well and at UC they actual grades don’t transfer back so that has really helped. Being a science major it can get really stressful sometimes worrying about grades and not getting to take “fun” classes so it’s been a nice break.
Money will always be an issue for college students and I know you’re probably sick of hearing it’s more affordable than you think but OneStop & UC will work with you and if you make/stick to a budget almost anyone really can do it. Australia’s an expensive country so be prepared to spend twice as much for even the smallest things (normal size candy bars = $2.60) but if you look hard enough you can almost always find a deal. The Salvation Army store has been amazing (dress for formal = $7.50). So yes it can be difficult and you’ll think you are so very broke but the experience is totally worth it.
Living in International House (ihouse) I’ve met people from all over the globe; some friends and I were joking the other day if one of us bought a plane and got a pilot’s license then we could probably travel the globe for free, besides jet fuel. I have had the most amazing time and can’t wait to come back one day. It is an amazing country and an experience worth every cent.

Posted by Sara Owens 05:40 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

35 Days!!

It makes me sappy!

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Hey there, guess what, I only have 35 days left in Australia. That is rather exciting because I can't wait to see all my friends and my family but at the same time this has been an amazing experience. In the last 3 weeks we've started classes again (after mid-session break) and I've finished all of my assignments until exams. That makes me really happy because it makes me feel like for the first time since classes started I can really enjoy Australia and let's be honest that is what I came over here for. Don't get me wrong my classes are interesting but being in a different country is a chance to learn about a new culture and explore new places; can't do that if I'm worrying about homework.

However, I know without a doubt I will miss Wollongong, all it has to offer, and all my new friends. It's going to be hard not being around them all the time. I'm lucky in a sense because some of my closest friends are American and go to Hanover College (which is an hour and 1/2 west of Cincy in Indiana) but I've made quite a few Australian friends and I know I will probably never see them again. That is going to be hard but that's where the internet and skype come in it, it won't be the same but it will be okay.

The last week has seen some really cool events and a major/minor change over here though. First event I want to share with you is Harbour Cruise. This one was nothing like the other one, we had pizza, there was dancing and it was just generally a good time. It was a little rainy but even that couldn't spoil the night. We all looked great (semi-formal occasion) and it was fun. The next day however was the start of Daylight Savings time over here so we lost an hour of sleep but I like it because now I get out of my night class and it's still light out. The second cool event was performance night this past Tuesday. IHouse has so much hidden talent, it was really cool to get to see my friends showing off their skills. There was singing and dancing, a weird skit thing, and even a poem by Dr. Seuss (which admittedly isn't a talent but it was a performance). Tonight is Karaoke Night and before that a human auction to raise money for our adopted children. It should be fun to see people both auction themselves off and sing some fun songs. However it has been raining since at least 10pm last night and it's 1pm now so I'm starting to fear Australia's in for another wet summer and that really puts a damper on my idea of spending mass amounts of time on the beach.

Posted by Sara Owens 02:56 Archived in Australia Comments (0)


Amazing Outback Adventure

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This is the kind of post i know you have all been waiting for. Finally I've traveled the country, okay the state but still it was huge.

So I've made some good friends here, one of them being named Betsy. We actually have a bit in common and get along quite well. Her roommate and I not so much but let's face it anyone who knows me knows i don't get along with everybody. Anyway so Betsy, her roommate Susanne and I went on a road trip recently. We left last Thursday afternoon and we got back late Tuesday afternoon. It was a lot of fun with some minor problems. We got a little lost at one point and in few disagreements. But all in all isn't that what road-tripping is all about? So where did we go? Well see if you can follow this we took the train from (North) Wollongong up to Sydney, there we spent the night in a friend of mine's apartment, which was definitely the warmest night. The next day we walked to Thrifty to pick up the car we rented then it was off to Blue Mountains National Park. We got there and wanted to ride the steepest train in the world but it had closed right before we got there so we rode the sky lift instead, it was still fun. That night we headed off toward Warrumbungle National Park to see the Breadknife just for Betsy. It is a giant rock that you literally have to climb a mountain and then stairs to see. I didn't climb the stairs, just the mountain; it was exhausting. The next day we were off to Mungo National Park, the highlight of the trip if you ask me. Sunday was also the day we got lost but only for like 10 minutes and was the ONLY time we really didn't know where we were. We made it to Mungo Sunday night about 10pm and then spent half of Monday just wandering around in the red dirt. I know that makes it sound like there was nothing out there, there was stuff but the major point of the trip was to find red dirt, it's part of iconic Australia and it's in short supply around Wollongong. I love the beach don't get me wrong but I came to Oz in search of red dirt and kangaroos (and the Wizard, jk). So we found our red dirt and started our trek back toward Wollongong with one more stop on our list. Wombeyan Caves, caves for some reason have always found their appeal with me. I love them! Wombeyan is a cave system made of Marble it is unique in this aspect as very few caves are, even the other caves near by aren't. They also once sat underneath another cave system that has long since eroded away. They were stunning. We made it back to N. W'gong Tuesday around 4:30 and we were so glad to be back. Well I was until I ate dinner and started to feel sick. Wednesday I just layed around and read which sounds relaxing but not feeling well was really killing the relaxing. Today we had to return the car which took us back up to Sydney. We returned the car, made our way to St. Mary's, then Hyde Park, then decided the Opera House was our destination. It was a short trip and we are a little sick of each other's company so it wasn't as much fun as the rest of the trip but we had other friends with us so that helped and it was still enjoyable. We ate luch on the stairs of the Opera House and heard a guy play the didgeridoo. Now it's back to working on assignments that we've been putting off and maybe, just maybe there will be time to enjoy what is left of break when those assignments are done. School is after all the #1 reason why we are all here. But traveling is absolutely a must when studying abroad. It can even be affordable if the right chances are taken and sacrifices are made, like eating nothing but fruit, chips, and sandwiches for 6 days.
In case you're wondering by city our trip: North Wollongong -> Sydney -> Marrangaroo (closest "city" to Blue Mnts. Ntnl. Park) -> Mudgee -> Biriwa -> Gilgandra -> Coonabarabran (home to Warrumbungle Ntnl. Park)-> Warren -> Cobar (where we saw a working mine) -> Bulla Park (not really a city) -> Fairmount (where we hit our first dirt road) -> Mount Manara -> Ivanhoe -> Stanbridge (where we ended up after getting lost) -> Mungo National Park (because it's not really in a city) -> Balranald -> Darlington Point -> Wagga Wagga -> Goulburn (which wasn't on our map and closest city to Wombeyan Caves) -> North Wollongong -> Sydney -> North Wollongong
Hooroo (which by the way I finally saw on a sign over here),

Posted by Sara Owens 05:27 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Random Tuesday

BYO Academic and being lazy!!

sunny 66 °F
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Tonight there is an event called BYO Academic, heaps of professors are coming to Ihouse and everyone who signed up is going to have dinner with them. Yes, I signed up so no worries I'll tell you all about it. It's semi-formal and I've been told the food will actually be good, so that's something to look forward to.
It's been a while since I last updated, so let me catch you up. I've spent quite a bit of time at the beach and I've also spent quite a bit of money. Money is one thing that goes very quickly in this super relaxed city I'm in. On the 18th my buddy, Arbie, and I went to Symbio Wildlife Park. It was fun to get to spend a day surrounded by animals and just getting to know Arbie, he's pretty cool. We saw some tigers, fed some kangaroos, and just generally walked around talking about a wide variety of topics, it was nice. The following Wednesday, Arbie, his friend Michael, my friends Betsy & Ash, and I went to Fontana's. It's a little Italian restaurant down town it was fun and had good food. The next day was Global Highway, which is essentially a showcase of different countries and things from their culture run by some students from those countries and some who aren't. Betsy and I were in charge of the American booth, we had sweet tea, basketball (which was apparently invented in Canada but we have the gold medals so :P ) trivia, face painting, signs with out money on it and of course baseball, it was a hit (pun intended).This past weekend my new deck mates and I went to the beach then Sunday Ihouse created two teams for ultimate frisbee and played Marketview on the grass by the beach, we lost. Later that day I walked back to the beach with a friend, going to new places has a way of making people walk more than they normally would. This week is a research week for the psychology department so we don't have class. That means I didn't have class at all today, so instead I went shopping, found a few more souvenirs and bought a new shirt.
When going abroad, while it will be fun to say 'oh i bought this shirt in Australia' it is also a good idea to bring cloths for every occasion, it's better to have brought something and never wear it than to not have brought it and end up having to buy it there. You should save your money for the things you really want to do rather than just buying clothes.

Posted by Sara Owens 23:30 Archived in Australia Comments (0)


The study part of Study Abroad.

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I've talked a lot about the differences between Wollongong, Sydney, Australia and home but not much about school. I suppose it's because there's a wealth of information online about the differences in their schooling. However, it is the small things that are bugging me. I don't like that their printer paper is bigger than ours therefore it's too big for my binder or folders. Some of the tutorial (a lot like recitation if you ever taken a subject that has one) instructors don't go into much explanation when talking about events in Australia's history, which most of the time means I have no clue what they are talking about.

I do like the 3 subjects I'm taking though. Myth of Oz: Film and Fiction is a study of some films and fiction books that play on the myths or stereotypes of Australia. Psychology of Physical Activity and Health is more about succeeded and how to do so using examples from the profs past work with sports teams and athletes (most of whom I don't know) rather than the actual psychology of physical activity or health. My last class is definitely a history course. It may seem weird that I say definitely but if you'd talked to me before I'd left i wasn't certain from the description. It's called Locating Australia, it isn't so much about pointing out where Australia is on a map although in a sense that's what he spent all of lecture last week talking about. It's more of how Australia's history has been shaped and both on it's own and by other countries. It's really quite interesting or at least I find it interesting because it overlaps a little with what we were talking about in my myths class. It's also interesting actually learning about history that I haven't spent the last 12 years hearing about something outside of Europe, England, and America.

All in all, school is going well. I have some reading I need to catch up on but I'm not too worried about it, talk to me in a couple weeks, that's when I might be in total freak out mode.

Posted by Sara Owens 06:27 Comments (0)

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