As my fellow Whitties finish up their second week of classes, I am getting ready to leave for my semester abroad at the University of Melbourne on the southern coast of Australia. Given that I’m already two weeks behind, you may think that I’m going straight to the University of Melbourne and immediately starting classes. You’d be wrong, though I am also finding it strange.
Tomorrow begins my trek across this country and the Pacific Ocean until I land (with my sister!) in Sydney on the 31st. That amount of travel time sounds incredibly intimidating until you think about the fact that Sydney is 19 hours ahead of the American west coast, so I’ll really be landing on the 30th. For the next 9 days, my sister and I will be exploring Sydney and Cairns (a hub where many tourists go to see the Great Barrier Reef), so I apologize if you don’t hear from me for awhile. After my vacation, I begin the first of 3 required orientations, the last of which won’t be done until just before classes start on the 29th. I have a vague idea of when I’ll be where and a list of some activities I can anticipate, but after my sister leaves me at the hostel and goes home, I don’t really know what will happen.
So what do I know? Not much. A couple weeks ago I learned that I got into a residential college and if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry, neither did I. I’ve heard residential colleges described as similar to co-ed Greek Life back in the US. They are basically dorms outside of the University’s purview that not only house students, but compete against each other in IM sports, put on a variety of events and provide their residents with a host of amenities including a full meal plan, gym and a library that promises to provide students’ textbooks. Good deal, right? The closest tie-in to Greek life seems to be the level of spirit. Which residential college you live in seems to be a point of pride and people love to be legacies. I’ll be a part of University College which means you all should anticipate a picture of me in one of these shirts in the near future:
I hope to be better able to explain the college system once I’ve lived within it for awhile. I’ve read several books about Australia, but I still don’t feel like I know what I’ve gotten myself into. Studying abroad is supposed to be a transformative experience and I hope I can capture that on this blog. Since this is my first post, I think it’ll be nice to note what I expect now so that I can see how that differs from what actually happens.
- To see some crazy, cool wildlife and for some of the animals to make me frightened for my life
- To feel completely overwhelmed
- To be able to find most of the food I’m familiar with
- To feel homesick anyway, in part because I’ll…
- Find the landscape noticeably different from the US
- Learn how much residential college life is like US Greek life
- To take some of the best classes of my student life
- To get sunburnt
- To try Vegemite
- To have an experience unlike anything I’ve had before
So I hope you’ll stick with me and we’ll see what happens.
Over and out,