Thoughts From a Woman Destined to Live in Paris
My adventure into Melbourne also included a trip to the Melbourne Sealife Aquarium. I was, perhaps, way too excited about this adventure and barely kept it together when I saw the turtles and penguins. I captured many cute and adorable creatures on film and I wanted to share those photos with all of you! I did my best to be a live action photographer, and I think I had some pretty good shots.
Below is a real life shark sighting with me at the aquarium.
Update: Kangaroos sighted in the paddock by the main highway on my way back to campus. They were more exciting than the first one I saw who was dead on the side of the road (That really did happen, poor guy.). I hope to have photos of more kangaroos that I encounter in the future, but I didn't get a chance to take any when I saw them.
My tour guide from the historic walking tour of the Ballarat last week told me that Melbourne has often been known as Marvelous Melbourne. Well, I figured I'd test that theory myself. Another American student was kind enough to let me join her and we ventured into the city together. I can honestly say, it really was marvelous. The city is beautiful, full of amazing food, fabulous shopping, incredible architecture, and just oozing culture and tourist attractions. I was hooked.
The first step to this adventure was getting there. Now, while I think Americans from all over use public transportation, I haven't lived in areas where it's been as popular or necessary. Sure, I've used it. I love the premise of it, but I'm not accustomed to it. I probably have romantic notions of train rides being full of rolling hills and sunset scenery (which is not out of reach considering Australia really is a stunning country). Nevertheless, I arrived at the train station with false bravado and my handy dandy iPhone ready to conquer the day. We made it to Melbourne in one piece and traveled around the city like (almost) pros!
Melbourne has the neatest tram network. This makes it so simple to get around town and visit different parts of the city. I loved how easy it was to find a tram with some of the applications I had downloaded, and grab a ride to another part of the city. I didn't get to everything I wanted to do today, but I hope to go on more adventures and be a Melbourne tourist again in the future!
I have so many photos from this adventure, and I'm excited to share all of them. There was so much to look at and see and do. We went to the aquarium, took the city circle tram, had fish and chips, and visited the sky deck. I felt like a complete tourist with my practical shoes, cross body bag, giant camera, and look of awe. But I didn't feel unprepared or overwhelmed. Instead, I just figured things out. It was exciting, riveting, and humbling all at the same time.
I think the moment that stuck with me most is that I felt this sense of awe and wonder at the top of the Eureka Skydeck. There is something so beautiful about seeing all of the world around you at peace. Words can't describe it. All I can do is lock that memory away and keep it in my heart as one that I will cherish.
I knew that I'd be a different person after this journey than when I started, but I didn't realize how quickly I'd start to see the changes in myself. Who knew an adventure into Marvelous Melbourne would help me see that I'm not the same person I was when I started, and I like who I am becoming.
You may have been wondering how I found myself in Australia this summer. Well, I'm glad you asked! :) I applied through an internship exchange with the Association of College and University Housing Officers International (ACUHO-I). Federation University is involved with ACUHO-I and the Australasian Association of College and University Housing Officers (AACUHO), a regional partner of ACUHO-I. ACUHO-I and its regional partners are separate entities, but they are also connected.
The ACUHO-I Internship program is focused on providing students interested in learning more about housing, residence life, facilities, conferences, operations, and many other disciplines within the profession. The organization is international, and this provides a great chance to really grow your network.
I applied to be an ACUHO-I Intern candidate in general and I wasn’t quite sure where I’d end up. I decided that I was going to put my best foot forward and apply everywhere that interested me. I focused primarily on marketing/communications related roles and other assessment and evaluation experiences. I thought this would be beneficial for me to learn about how these operations work at a different institution.
When I saw the description for FedUni Campus Life Intern, I was really excited. I thought it was such a cool opportunity and I applied. I was shocked when I received a message a few weeks later inviting me for an interview. (You never think it’s going to be you!) I accepted my interview offer and scheduled it. A few weeks later I received an email offering me the position. I joked that I would cry if I got the position and cry if I didn’t get the position. I certainly felt like shedding tears of joy.
Now that I’m here, I can’t convey how thankful I am for this experience and opportunity. My work responsibilities are extremely interesting, and the staff has been so helpful and connected me to other offices and opportunities. I am hoping to go to some on campus trainings and learn more about higher education in Australia and abroad.
I am still learning the position, understanding the experiences, and adjusting to life on campus. I know that it is going to be a day by day process, and I feel supported by the staff and other professionals in my journey. I’m growing confident to introduce myself, meet students and staff, and learn all that I can.
ACUHO-I Internships are the kind of experiences that shape who you are as a professional. It’s a chance outside of your graduate assistantship to help you see the world. It builds your professional network, challenges your skill set, and gives you a chance to discover what you’re passionate about.
Also, as promised, I've got some more photos! These are from my tour of all the residences near and at Ballarat. A few of the beautiful view photos are from the residences at City Campus in downtown Ballarat. My chariot for the tour was the cool truck looking car called a Ute. It was awesome.
Anytime I go somewhere new, I'm always fascinated by the surrounding area. I want to know about what there is to see and do. I may not always make it to all of the events and activities, but I like the idea of knowing about them and understanding why they are important.
The surrounding area of Ballarat and the countryside is beautiful. Absolutely stunning. It's a mixture of small towns and breathtaking countryside. The ground is also perfect for growing potatoes (which why I took a photo of a giant potato and the potato stand). I have enjoyed being able to explore the area. I don't have a car here, but that just means I need to get creative when planning how I can go explore!
I met a young woman from Europe who is here for a few weeks during a year of backpacking Australia. It's been nice to meet someone who is also learning the area and has suggestions on where to go. She invited me to go with her to explore the Talbot Market, a giant farmers market in one of the nearby towns that happens once a month. Apparently, they close the whole town for this market. It was awesome. I had this incredible fried potato on a stick and I found a little plant to put on my desk. (I recognize the irony of coming halfway across the world to buy a tiny plant, but it looked sad and needed a home!) It was so cool to see a whole town transformed into a giant street market where there was something for everyone.
We also stopped at another local town called Clunes and went to a cafe. The pastry and cafe game in Australia is strong. Every town has cafes and shops where you can get incredible confections and amazing food. The town had some beautiful buildings and nice shops. There was also a nearby park with a lake and walking trail. It was calming to find adventure in the little things and see the beauty of something as simple as a little town and a walking path.
Going to a new place is hard, that's not a secret. But adjusting to the area and learning about things to do is something that I have to focus on. I know it wont be easy, but among the busy days and Australian slang lessons are moments like this one where I can take a second and appreciate the gift of a calm weekend with an unusual adventure.
This summer, I'm based in Ballarat, Australia. Well, the university is actually nearby, but Ballarat is the closest city and one of the campuses is located in the city center. Ballarat is in the Australian state of Victoria. Ballarat is a town that has its roots in the 19th century gold rush. The architecture, which is stunning, was initially the product of a boom town. The main street is extremely wide and this is because they had anticipated the city being a like a new London. I went to explore the city one of my first few days here, and I'm really glad that I did!
Ballarat is home to the Eureka Rebellion, which was an uprising back in the 19th century by miners who disagreed with licensing rules and regulations by the government. One of the famous figures to emerge from the uprising was Irish Australian Peter Lalor. I'm still researching and learning the story, but I did find some interesting resources with more information.
I spent a good amount of time walking around the city to orient myself with the area. I walked past a McDonalds, aka Maccas, and stopped at a coffee shop called Hudsons which had the best croissant and almond pastry combination I have ever had. I plan on going back to Ballarat many more times so I can continue to learn about the city I am hosted in, as well as learn about the history and life in the area. So far, it has been a really interesting journey.
Here are some of the things I did when exploring Ballarat:
Yesterday, after 27 hours of travel, I arrived in Australia. After being picked up from the airport, we made the hour and half drive from Melbourne to Ballarat. During the ride I spent too much time looking out the window and asked tons of questions. I even saw a kangaroo crossing sign on the highway.
My journey here has just started, but in the past day it's been a whirlwind experience. Arriving was exciting and scary, but everyone has been kind and friendly. Luckily I came on a Friday, which gave me a chance to meet some staff and get acclimated with the area. This also meant that I had the weekend to explore and learn more about where I was. The first day I took a walk around campus to start familiarizing myself with the area (photos are below). The campus is beautiful and charming.
After learning more of campus, I went to the grocery store. I don't know if going the grocery store is something that I should be really excited about, but I find it's always one of my favorite things to do when I visit a new country. It was really neat to see foods and products I recognized, but also see a lot of other products and foods I had never heard of before. I've been told there are incredibly delicious cookies called Tim Tams that I HAVE to try while I am here. There is also something called Vegemite that is like a spread that you put over toast or add into soups. I have been told that I will either love or hate Vegemite, there isn't really an in-between. I'll keep you updated on the Tim Tim and Vegemite taste testing in the next few weeks.
In addition to learning about the city, exploring the campus, meeting a lot of great people, and watching for kangaroos, I also caught up on sleep. I had not realized how hard the jet lag would hit me my first day. I stayed awake until it was getting late (okay, I'm kidding, it was 6pm), but I think that pushing myself to follow the schedule everyone else is following will help me adjust faster.
I know I have not been here long, but I'm so thankful for this experience. I have already learned so much. I know that I would be pushed out of my comfort zone on this trip, and I certainly believe that's been true so far. It's all part of the adventure, and I can't wait for the journey to continue.
It's official, I leave today for the adventure of a lifetime. I am excited, but also terrified to start this journey. I accepted an ACUHO-I internship at a university in Australia. I cannot wait. I'll be embracing the big city life for the summer. I'm (almost) packed and ready to go.
This is a really new experience for me. I've never studied abroad or lived outside of the U.S.. I have traveled abroad before, but I have not lived abroad or spent more than a few weeks abroad. This is going to be something that challenges me, inspires me, and hopefully changes my life forever.
As a graduate student, most days I feel like I've got a good handle on adulting. Well, perhaps I just present the illusion of being an adult. Who knows. Either way, I'll be off on my adventure sooner than I can blink. My hope is to use my blog as a way to document my story and tell others about my journey. I think I'll end this trip a different person than I started, and I'm really excited about that. I am going to be so far out of my comfort zone (something I am actually looking forward to) that I won't even be able to see it.
So crazy kids, stick with me :) the adventure is just beginning. I will do my best to post as often as I can. Adventure is out there. I'm going to find it.