Wrapping Up

Hey there blog,

I’m starting to wrap up the semester. I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say I was sad. We have finals coming up in a few weeks and then it’ll be time to go home.

Last week, Austin, Christy, and I went on a little girls trip to Singapore. It was unreal. It was about an 8 hour flight to Changai Airport. After the flight from Dallas to Sydney (about 17 hours), any flight seems short.

Singapore Airpot

The Singapore airport was unreal. It’s been ranked as the worlds nicest airport and after walking around, you can definitely tell why.

We walked around the city and did all the typical touristy things like going to the Gardens by the Bay and the museum.

Garden by the Bay

On Saturday night, we decided to do a once in a lifetime thing. We booked a room to stay in the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel. It’s ranked as one of the most iconic hotels in the world. I’m not sure how many times in this life I’ll get the opportunity to be in Singapore so we thought it would be such a fun memory to have.

Roof Top Pool at Marina Bay Sands

The hotel was lovely and the pool on top is absolutely unreal. It was such an amazing experience and trip. I’m so grateful for all the memories and opportunities I’ve had by studying abroad.

Been a Minute

Hello Blog.

It’s been a minute. These last couple of weeks have been absolutely crazy. We had our mid-semester break and I got to do some traveling and I can’t wait to share some of it with you all.

Camper Van in NZ

First week of break, a few friends and I went to New Zealand. We rented a camper van and traveled around the south island. New Zealand is beautiful. Words and pictures just don’t do it justice. It should be on everyones travel bucket list.

Arthur’s Pass
Heli-Hike on Fox Glacier
Fox Glacier
Fox Glacier

We flew into Christchurch and drove to Arthur’s Pass and hiked up to a waterfall. The next day we went on a helihike where a helicopter flew us out to a glacier and a tour guide walked around with us. I got to sit shotgun in the helicopter which was pretty cool.

Nevis Swing

The next day we drive to Queenstown where I swung on the Nevis Swing. The views were amazing. I’ve come to realize that I’m quite the adrenaline junkie so this was really fun.

Kayaking Milford Sound

The next day we went to Milford Sound. Milford Sound is the prettiest place I have ever laid eyes on. We kayaked across the sound and got to take in all the views from the water.

Week 2: Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road

We drove back to Christchurch and flew back to Sydney after a week in New Zealand. We then had about a two day turn around and we flew to Melbourne to drive the Great Ocean Road.

Road Signs Down Under

This was my first time driving on the left side of the road. It was quite stressful at first but I got the hang of it pretty quick.

Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road

New Friend Down Under

We drove from Melbourne to Adelaide and stopped to do a treetop walk and look at views such as the 12 Apostles along the way.

We got back to Newcastle late Monday night and it was back to school and real life Tuesday. I’ve had an amazing two weeks but it’s nice to not live out of a suitcase for a while.

Almost Halfway

Bondi Beach
Blue Mountains
Berry Bowls at Bondi

Hello Blog!

Life Down Under is a great as ever. I spent this past weekend in the city with a few of my girlfriends. We went up to the Blue Mountains on Sunday and did some hiking and I won’t lie, I’m pretty sore. The hike from the bottom to the top of Blue Mountains was pretty high, equivalent to about 100 floors.

My classes are interesting, my classmates love asking me questions about life in the states. Next week we have our mid-semester break. It’s two weeks long and I’m getting the opportunity to do some traveling. I’ll be heading to New Zealand on Monday. We’re renting a camper van and exploring the South Island. I can’t wait to share some pictures with everyone. The second week of break we’re hoping to go to Melbourne and drive the Great Ocean Road. 

It’s Fall in Australia and the weather is finally cooling off a little bit (I write this as it’s 90 degrees outside and have both of my fans pointed at me ha ha)  

I can’t believe the semester is already halfway over. I wish I could stay longer. 

I lost Count of What Week It Is

Sky Diving
Blue Mountains
Bogey Hole

Hey Everyone!

I guess I’ve been in Australia for over a month now. It’s crazy how fast time flies. I’m so used to my life here. I’m starting to feel like more and more of a local.  

Classes are going well. Project Management has been extremely interesting for me. It reminds me of a class I took last semester called Systems Engineering and Management. It’s funny how I can be on the complete other side of the globe and find similarities in our curriculum and classes. I’m enjoying my business classes too. The workload is starting to pickup as the semester goes on. I have assignments and quizzes every week just like back home. The closer we get to mid-semester break the more tests and essays I have. In a few short weeks my friends and I are heading to New Zealand. We’ll rent a camper van and closest friends came to visit me for her spring break and I got to act as her tour guide.

Last Saturday I went on a Sydney harbor cruise along with about 100+ exchange students. We got to view the Harbor Bridge and Sydney Opera house as the sun set on the water. On Monday I went to Hunter Valley vineyards. While I was there I (finally) saw a wild Kangaroo. The vineyards were lovely and so was the wine. On Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday I went to my classes and got to show Michelle around my new city of Newcastle. On Thursday afternoon I did something I never thought I would do, I went skydiving. And holy cow it was insane… Freefalling through the sky is the most wild feeling. On Friday I went to Blue Mountains for the first time. It was absolutely beautiful and breathtaking at sunset. My friends and I are planning a trip to go back and I’ll be able to hike the waterfalls more. This week has been crazy busy between my classes, acting as both a tour guide and tourist in my new country. Learning the public transportation schedule can be a struggle some times. Some days it’s on your side and other days, well it’s not. After I dropped off Michelle at the airport the other day I decided to catch a the train back to Newcastle and not stay in Sydney for another day.  I missed the first train by about 3 minutes so I waited for an hour for the next one. A storm rolled in which caused major delays on the trip and turned a 2 hour and 20 minute train ride into 3 and a half hours. The trains also couldn’t run all the way into Newcastle because of the weather so I was dropped off at a station a little farther from campus as normal. On a normal day this wouldn’t be so bad but because of the delays I ended up missing the last bus from Broadmeadow Station to campus. I ended up having to call an uber even though the prices spiked up to be way more expensive than what I wanted to pay. You win some, you lose some. I can’t complain too much because I’m still having so much fun living and learning in Australia. 

First Week of Class

Coast of Newcastle

So, I’m a little behind on my blog posts and I actually just completed my second week of classes. But, I figured 2nd week of classes wouldn’t make such a good title.

Classes have been going pretty well. I only have class three days a week which has never happened to me before. Lectures are two hours long which is so different from what I’m used to. It’s a lot of information given to you at once so, you have to spend a lot of time reviewing the information on your own. My Optimisation professor used to teach at the University of Arkansas for 10 years. Small world, huh?

Last week I went on a dolphin coast expedition. Dolphins swam up against the boat while we cruised down the coast of Newcastle. Which lead me to realize that I have a fear of open water. Not to say that I won’t ever get back on a boat but, I’m convinced if I fall in the water a shark or some type of sea animal is going to track me down.

I really want to join the Newcastle University Diving & Expedition Club. I need to get scuba certified before I can do on any of the diving expeditions. I know thats so contradictory to what I just said about my slight fear of the ocean. But it’s a once in a lifetime chance so I might as well face my fears.

I’m heading to Sydney this Friday. My friend Michelle (if you’re reading this, hey girl (: ) is flying in on Saturday to spend the week with me so I’m picking her up from the airport.

I’m starting to get a little sad about my time in Australia coming to an end. I know I just got here but, the idea of leaving makes me uneasy. There’s so much to do and see and 5 months is definitely not enough on this continent.

I’ll be better about posting I promise.

One Week in Australia (+ a few days)

Hey Everyone!

So, I’ve been Down Under for about 10 days now. It’s crazy how in 10 days you can completely adapt to a new lifestyle. I’m still the same 21-year-old girl that I was a month ago. Yet, I’m living such a different life. It’s kind of like when you get used to being in college and then you go home for 3 months for summer break. You have to get used to being home, having a different schedule, not seeing your college friends, going to work instead of class, etc. Except in my case instead of going home, I’m on a different continent where everyone has an accent and drives on the wrong side of the street.    

Using the public transportation here is surprisingly not as hard as you would think (Thank you, Google Maps). I’m still getting used to not having a car. I miss the convenience of going somewhere when I want instead of waiting for a bus to show up (If you know anything about Aussie Public Transportation, you know they are late the majority of the time). That being said, using the busses and trains actually isn’t too bad until you have to go to the grocery store. Aussies are very ecofriendly (Save the turtles!). You’re expected to bring your own grocery bags to cut down the use of plastic. If you’re me, you forget 9/10 times. If you’re also me, you think it’s a great idea to get a watermelon and case of water at the same time. Then, you somehow have to struggle to carry both back on the bus to campus.  I’m really working my upper body strength with all this grocery shopping. The good news is that I have learned that the Uni has a free shuttle to the grocery store every couple of days which is convenient for people like me.

We had orientation this week. I met so many people from all over the world. I’ve met people from other states back home, China, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Canada, and probably more that I can’t think of off the top of my head. Classes finally start this coming up week. I feel like I’ve been on winter break for too long, everyone back home is already over a quarter of the way through the semester. 

Unfortunately, the past few days have been pretty rainy and windy thanks to Cyclone Oma up in Queensland. I haven’t been able to go out and explore as much so sorry if this post is pretty uneventful. I was supposed to go on a boat tour to see dolphins today, but because of the weather it got postponed. The only picture worth sharing this week is of my engineering building (aka my new home) and my UoN student id card. Campus is pretty, it’s different from Arkansas I would say. It’s like I’m in the middle of the woods. I feel like the University of Arkansas cleared out a lot of trees to build the buildings around campus and planted new ones in place. Here, you walk around with trees so tall, they double the height of any building on campus. I’ll check in again next week once classes have begun. Hope everyone is doing well!

First Impressions

Hey Everyone!

I’ve been in Australia for about 3 days now. Newcastle is absolutely breath taking. 

Life in Australia is a bit different than in the States. For starters a lot of the student accommodation buildings on campus don’t have air conditioning and even the ones that do aren’t what this Texan is used to. My first order of business was to buy two fans for my room. Australia is still in summer so it can get pretty warm during the day. 

Another thing that I’m getting used to is that they drive on the left side of the street. I’ve had to Uber a few times from the grocery store. Every single time I instinctually walk up to the right side of the car thinking it’s the passenger seat.

I’m also getting used to the fact that they abbreviate EVERYTHING. Brekky is breakfast, avo is avocado, “How yous?” is “How are you?” and etc. My building is called Edwards but they call it Teds. Not sure how they got Teds from that. If you ask me, they should have shortened it to Eds.

They jet lag hasn’t hit me so bad. I tried really hard to power through the first day so I wouldn’t be up all night. Newcastle is 17 hours ahead of Fayetteville. Which isn’t as bad as you may think. It’s like I’m 7 hours behind but in the next day. As I’m writing this it’s about 9 am on Saturday in Australia which is 4 pm on Friday back home.

The past few days I have been exploring Newcastle and getting settled. I went to the beach on Thursday (yes, I did get sunburned) and Blackbutt Wildlife Reserve on Friday. The Kangaroo exhibit was closed so I was pretty disappointed. 

Today, I’m heading back to the beach and this time I will wear loads more of sunscreen. Monday is international student orientation and the beginning of O-week for all students. Classes don’t start until the 25th so I still have some time to explore and get settled.

I’m still getting used to the swing of things down here. It’s like everything is the same but a little different at the same time. (Also grieving the fact that I don’t have my Keurig here. I am caffeine deprived) I’m having fun. I’m excited to travel more and meet new people during O-week and classes. What an absolutely incredible opportunity I have been given. See you guys on the next one.