For the love of Quokka

University of Reading student studying abroad in Australia for a Semester

Cameron spent the first part of his second year studying abroad at Curtin University in Australia as part of his Film and Theatre degree at Reading. If you’ve been following his semester abroad, read on for his final blog from his time in Australia. 

And so it is: my semester abroad has come to a close. Right now the end is in immediate sight but that does not mean that I squandered my last month in the land down under; sat on my haunches waiting for my flight home. Far from it! These last few weeks, like my whole time here in Australia has been outstanding. So let’s get into the details as I recount some of the spectacular stuff that I’ve recently experienced.

Firstly, what goes around comes around, as Ellie, my Melbourne-based study abroad partner in crime, came to visit me here in Perth. During Ellie’s time in Western Australia, we went on a quick tour of the state’s sightseeing highlights, including areas such as Fremantle Prison, as well as areas of the capital that I had not previously visited. However, the pinnacle of this lightning stop tour had to be travelling to Rottnest Island. A short ferry-ride from the coast of Perth, Rottnest acts as one of the few homes of the quokka, which are often cited as being the happiest animal on Earth.  After spending the day on the island, in their company, I have to agree.

After Ellie’s visit, normality resumed for a short while as I finished off some assessments. However, this did not last for long as I jetted off to Sydney to spend my penultimate week visiting family friends.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Australia for a Semester

Sydney Opera House

Sydney, like everywhere else that I have been in Australia, is an incredible city. The streets were lively, the people were welcoming, and the weather was beautiful. Thanks to an abundance of establishing shots from every movie that has ever had a scene set in Sydney, the iconic image of the Opera House has been ingrained into my consciousness since I was a child. I was always aware of it being a spectacular architectural achievement but actually witnessing the endlessly photographical building (or buildings) with my eyes was a breath-taking experience. Also, to see this building from the top of the Harbour bridge climb, on cloudless, sunny day, has to be one of the greatest moments of my life so far.
As stated earlier, I stayed with family friends while in Sydney and I could not have wished for better hosts. So generous and kind, with a great knowledge of the city, it was shame that I couldn’t stay any longer. When one of them comes to visit me and my family in the future I hope we can return the favour.

And after Sydney that was it – back to Perth to collect my things and say good bye to my friends at Curtin. I’m sure I will see them again.
Now it’s a very peculiar sensation as I write this final blog sat in Perth airport, waiting to board my first of two planes home. I feel as if studying in Australia is the only thing I’ve ever known, with my time at Reading being a distant but fond memory. At this moment I truly feel split between two worlds. Travelling and exploring the Land of Oz has been a terrific experience that I am going to miss dearly. But at the same time, I am longing for the crisp, chill air of Britain as Christmas creeps upon us. There is something very unsettling about tinsel being displayed while the sun blares down in 30 degrees Celsius. Either way, I’m sure I’ll settle on an opinion when I write my retrospective blog in about 4 weeks. Till then, in the words of Simon & Garfunkel, my thoughts go “To England, where my heart lies.”

Cameron

Missed Cameron’s last post? Catch up here: http://bit.ly/2k3223C

From Perth to Bali to Melbourne and Back

University of Reading student studying abroad in Taiwan for a Semester

Cameron is currently studying abroad at the Curtin University in Australia as part of his Film and Theatre degree at Reading. It’s been a month or so since Cameron’s last blog – read on to see what’s he’s got up to since!

My, oh my! It’s fair to say the past two months have been pretty spectacular. A lot has happened since I wrote my last blog; including 3 trips, my twentieth birthday, and a little bit of work – it’ll be pretty hard to condense all the events down to such concise descriptions. However, I will try my best to detail all of the amazing experiences I have gone through since the start of August.

Firstly, I was able to see some of the beautiful scenery on display in Western Australia, going on a 3-day tour of the south-west. On this trip, we visited numerous beaches and coves, hiked up hills and walked amongst the tree tops, as well as having the chance to visit Margaret River and one of its famous wineries. A highlight of this trip had to be climbing the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, a towering green giant, with a platform positioned at its 75-metre tip, which was once used as a lookout for forest fires. Despite being absolutely terrifying, the climb to the top was absolutely worth it one of the best views imaginable.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Taiwan for a Semester

The travelling continued as during my first study break a group of us foreign exchange students took a holiday to the sun-drenched island of Bali. Going to Bali gave us a brief escape from university work, as well as providing a refreshing change of scenery with its beautiful beaches and coastlines, being especially relevant when we got to watch the sunset from a bar built into the side of a cliff. Bali was an incredible place to visit and somewhere I didn’t expect to be venturing to while studying abroad in Australia but I am so glad that I go to go there. I’m sure I will revisit in the future if I get the chance.

My adventures did not end here. Far from it!  In my next study break I jetted off to Melbourne to meet my fellow study abroad-er, at La Trobe University, Ellie. Melbourne was an amazing city that radiated culture with its vast ethnic diversity (the largest Greek population outside of Greece as the historic 35 tram told me), huge food scene, as well as the numerous amount of museums and galleries. While there, Ellie treated me to a swift but packed tour of some of Melbourne’s best attractions to visit. If I had to just name a few I’d have to go for; The National Gallery of Victoria, Hozier Lane, Brighton Beach Huts, watching penguins go to their nests at a St. Kilda beach, ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Image – could technically count it as revision). This is just a quick highlight of some of the locations from my brief visit to Melbourne and doesn’t even include all of the excellent restaurants. Melbourne is definitely a city that I can’t wait to return to, only having scratched the surface of what it has to offer.

During the moments when I have been at Curtin University, my work has been going well. Through my most recent assignments I have been able to explore an aspect of film that I am strongly interested in, this being screenwriting. One of my assignments saw us creating the concept and synopsis for a TV Drama, then writing a pitch for it, which was a lot of fun, giving me the chance to let my creative juices flow. Another intriguing aspect of my education at Curtin so far has been the unit Experimental Screens. This unit has really progressed my definition of what cinema can be and has opened my eyes to a new idea of filmmaking that I will hopefully implement into my future projects.

I can fairly say that so far I have been thoroughly spoilt by my trip down-under, being blessed with opportunities to explore not just Australia but also Bali. However, even though I have done and seen so much already that’s not going to stop me from adventuring out and seeing all that Oz has to offer. I just have to see what the future has in store for me.

Till then, have a good one.

Cameron