G’Day Mates! I am now in week 2 of my study abroad adventure in Gold Coast, Australia! Packing my bags prior to my departure has been the biggest challenge thus far. I brought 2 50lb suitcases, a carry on suitcase, and a book bag. This may sound slightly extreme to most, but my apartment that I am living in was not furnished with crockery (pots, pans, silverware, plates, etc.) or linens (pillow, sheets, blankets) so I found room for all of that stuff in my bags! Impressive right?! The flights were not as awful as I was expecting as I slept for 12 of the 14 hours on our flight from LAX to Brisbane, Australia. My mom gave me the advice to get up and walk during the flight to keep the blood flowing in my legs. However, since I slept nearly the entire flight I did not follow her advice. This is now my biggest regret of the trip because my anklebones were not visible for 3 days following the flight due to the swelling!
Our move in processes couldn’t have gone any smoother! The people working the front desk at our apartment/dorm complex were extremely polite, helpful, and welcoming! We live in a 5-bedroom apartment. Two of the girls that live with me are my sorority sisters from home, one is another Purdue student, and the fifth roommate attends college at Xavier. The first few days we made trip after trip to the grocery store. There is no Ford or Wiley dining hall here to save us from starvation so we have to fend for ourselves in the kitchen! Food is noticeable more expensive over here so we are trying to pace ourselves on saving our money. However, it only took a few days for us to realize that we weren’t going to be able to live off cereal for 5 months. Since then, we have made tacos, wraps, pasta, stir-fry and other things of that sort. Slowly improving!
We live about ten minutes from the beach so we have spent lots of our days there. We walk to the bus stop that is about a half-mile away and that bus takes us right to the beach. I have never rode the bus while at Purdue so the public transportation has taken some getting used to! The town nearest to us is called Surfer’s Paradise. I would compare it to South Beach, Florida. It has lots of tall buildings, hotels, shops, pubs and restaurants. We love going to dinner in Surfer’s Paradise because of all the lights at night and most of the restaurants have outside seating.
Our school starts February 27th. It’s amazing how excited I am to start classes. I never in a million years thought I would be excited to learn and have homework again. The classes here are much different than at home. Each of my classes has just 1 lecture a week and then 1 recitation a week. I only have classes on Monday, Thursday and Friday. My roommates and I booked our mid-semester break (spring break) trip yesterday. We are going to New Zealand for 10 days with a group of 50 study abroad students from all over Australia. We are also in the process of planning trips to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and The Great Barrier Reef. We are trying to plan our trips around a cricket game, rugby game, Australian Football League game and a horse race. We heard that these are the main sporting events that draw big crowds in Australia so we figured that it would only make sense to experience one of each while we are here!
So far into my trip the greatest lesson that I have learned is to appreciate the simple things in life. Smart-phones are not common among the Australian youth. Most of my Australian friends that I have met so far have pre-paid phones that look like the phones we had in 5th grade to call home from soccer practice. What I am getting at is that a cell-phone is used to contact someone not to be starring at Facebook and Twitter for hours on end. Not having a phone for the first two weeks here has taught me to appreciate what is going on around me. Another part of the lesson is to not get worked up over the small things. A common saying here is “No worries mate.” That is how the Australians live. They are all so happy and calm. There doesn’t seem to be the hustle and bustle in their lives like I notice at home. If I left right now, this would still be by far the best experience of my life!
— Lindsey Yarde, Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences