Sarah is currently studying abroad at La Trobe University in Australia as part of her Art & History of Art degree at Reading! The semester down under started back in July and this is how she got on just a few weeks in.
I arrived in Australia to an initially grey and wet Melbourne morning, perhaps the most British weather I could have encountered, and embarked on my next journey to my new house. As I decided against halls I had found this house on a flat share website and Skyped the people to say ‘how you going’[i] – they seemed lovely and had a pup so I was very optimistic! Three weeks down the line I have not been disappointed. We cook together a few days a week, play board games and go out for a couple of pots[ii] whenever we can. For me personally this is an ideal situation of living with graduates and exploring a more city orientated life than university based one. As I am in my third year and took a gap year I would definitely recommend this for slightly older students embarking on their study abroad, if a hiking trip trumps a club night!
In my first year of university many of my friends in my accommodation were study abroad students themselves, and one of my best friends was from Australia! Since coming over here I have visited him a few times and experienced a few Aussie’ rules football games and also a ‘footy-ball’, which was a swanky and exceedingly Australian affair with a live band, cocktail dresses and many a stubby[iii]. This was a great experience to get to know a very Victorian[iv] culture as they are all footy mad and love a beverage.
My classes (arguably the reason I came here) have been very interesting so far. After a slight hiccup of discovering they no longer have practical art classes on this campus I am taking a few history modules that are relevant to my dissertation topic. I think one of the most important things to realise quickly is to not panic about university, it will take a week or so to sort out but it should work out fine! I am taking this opportunity of being down under to learn about the history and culture of Australia, from the time of the colonists and before, a subject I knew less than nothing about before being here. I am looking to write my dissertation around cultural impacts on the aboriginal people of the settlers and this is an ideal opportunity.
Now that I have got settled into my routine here, the time difference and the hemisphere (all us Europeans agree that it definitely affects your sense of direction) I am starting to plan my travel and research around Australia. I’ve already booked a trip to Byron Bay and the Gold coast and will begin some more adventures soon!
I’ll keep you updated on those and will carry on having an amazing time for now,