February 26, 2014
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I love where I am located but…
I don’t think I want to live and work in a small town, especially long term. I love where I live and intern here in Oz, but ironically I ran into my ex- host family at the grocery store (the day after I moved out!) It unfortunately reminded me too much of running into people in the grocery stores in my hometown! No thanks. As much as I love being surrounded by nature all of time, maybe I’ll turn into a city gal at some point. This study abroad opportunity has helped me to become a more open minded person. I feel that too many people I know are afraid of change in their surroundings or only think of negatives when it comes to moving away.
My hometown is often called a bubble. Personally, I think this is because people here are not well traveled, oblivious to other cultures and think it’s like a vacation going to the next town forty minutes over. I never want to become that person, and I know I am on the right track. I surprised myself because at the fifth week mark of my time here in Australia I began to get very comfortable, so I adapted faster than I thought. I have a feeling I am going to be getting some symptoms of reverse culture shock when I get back home.
I enjoy the company of others more than I thought…
As an only child I was always used to not having to share, keeping myself entertained as a young child, etc. I was always interested in looking for a specific career where I didn’t have to deal with people very much, but that has changed. I never thought I was a “people person,” but I think differently now. I recently went on a work trip where I knew there wasn’t going to be anyone my age around, but the ladies I hung out with were really fun and interesting! Sometimes they talked about things I couldn’t personally relate to but I joined in conversations anyway by asking questions and listening. By being abroad you learn how to talk to everyone and this is how you learn about yourself. I am thankful that I have met people who possess similar qualities as I do, for example discussing how we are the “Motivators” in our group of friends.
Facebook gets boring when you are abroad…
Whitsunday Islands work trip
I found myself starting to become less engaged in social media and my phone after getting accustomed here. I may not be as fast to respond to messages and there were certain situations where no internet was available. I don’t really miss much anyway, and I do not have much interest in finding out what is going on at home. I was Skyping a lot the first few weeks, but now I just say “I’m sure you still remember what I look like!” I also promised myself to take a break from an online forum I used to read all of the time, and I have stuck to my promise. I can just let the other members know I was on a trip and update them when I get back. I have been participating in lots of outdoor activities here and I hope to get my friends off their computers this summer and go on adventures.
February 14, 2014
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This past weekend I took a three day trip to Fraser Island, one of the main reasons I was interested in staying in the state of Queensland. I met lots of interesting people! This trip I decided to go by myself, and that’s how it seems like you meet people easier. The great thing was it was a diverse group of nationalities but everyone mingled a lot. I just wanted to make it my goal to try and talk to lots of people and I definitely did. I reached out to quieter people as well and made sure to ask them questions and make conversation. During the day we went on many excursions driving in 4W drive vehicles along the island visiting many lakes and nature areas. Long amounts of time were given at each spot and the tour guide made sure to give background about the areas we were in. At the end of the day we went back to camp and joined in on lots of conversations and interesting stories about peoples’ travels so far. We also discussed several things about our own countries such as driving and the school systems. I even did some networking! A guy who has a communications degree like myself gave me his information in order to get me in contact with some people which could lead to potential job opportunities!
Overall this trip was really interesting and the island is a really unique and beautiful place. My favorite part was probably seeing the Maheno shipwreck and wild dingos! I will give a shout out to Drop Bear Adventures for the wonderful tour, and I highly recommend them.
Now I’m basically to the point where I don’t want to leave! I’ve gotten into a nice routine, coming home from work and running along the river, I found foods I really enjoy (including cereal, which took awhile!) and I finally know my way around town. My order at the deli is even starting to get memorized and I’m starting to see more familiar faces when I am out.
I love how at my internship I get such a large variety of things to do. I even found myself working on some projects at home because there is always something I am editing or designing. This past week some company Facebook pages have been featuring my photos that are being used for an upcoming contest, and one of these pages has about 100k likes! I am also making a brochure which I am a bit nervous about, since they will be getting it printed I believe. Something to put in my portfolio though! Next week will be a nice break from the office since I am going on a five day work trip to the Whitsunday Islands. I will be with a tour guide who runs the official Whitsunday Islands marketing and social media. Sounds like some more networking! I also had lunch with my co-workers today and I must say I fit in really well with them because we all have a similar sense of humor. I’m always laughing.
February 5, 2014
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After leaving Cairns, an airport shuttle dropped me off at my host family’s house in Noosaville. I’ll just be honest and tell it as it is, but staying with a host family didn’t work out for me. This was mostly because I felt isolated where they were located and they somewhat treated me like I have been living in the area all of my life, expecting me to know and understand everything fairly quickly. They didn’t have any kids and were just a couple, so I felt like a third wheel the majority of the time and wasn’t very comfortable. They also contradicted themselves because they said for me to help myself anytime to food, etc yet they wanted me to replace a chocolate bar I ate and put sticky notes on ice cream saying “Janelle, do not eat this.” Hey, I just wanted some sweets. Well, anyway that is put behind me since I was only there for two weeks. Not everyone is cut out to host international students. I learned a lot of about people in just a short amount of time.
Because Noosaville isn’t a large area I didn’t really have an option to share a place with roommates. Luckily, the people at my internship went out of their way to help me out and find me somewhere new to stay. My co-worker introduced me to a girl closer to my age, and ironically in her email she wrote “does she happen to need a place to stay?” Globalinks was extremely helpful, checked up on me often and got me moved out the homestay fairly quickly and in with my new roommate. She and I have a lot in common and her place is on a great location along the Noosa River where there are lots of activities and events going on. The other weekend we went stand up paddle boarding which is a newer water sport now getting more popular in Australia.
I also must talk about the food here! The coffee, chocolate and yogurt are way better than back at home, but not so much the cereal and pizza, which are sort of bland. Fruits and vegetables also seem way fresher and there are more variety of them. Some well-known snacks popular here are Tim Tams, which can be very addicting!
Love the Cairns farmers markets!
I feel much better here and now I feel that I am comfortable and settled. I am really enjoying my internship and I have learned several new things in relation to advertising and marketing for a travel company. The people I work with are great, have wonderful senses of humor and make me feel included. So far I have redesigned web banners and ads for an upcoming contest and I am also running the contest on some new forms of social media which I have never used before. On the first day my supervisor gave me a plane ticket for our marketing and development work trip to the Whitsunday Islands! Although things started off a little rocky, I have lots of great things to look forward too, also including Fraser Island, The Australia Zoo, and Sydney!
Volkswagon vehicles are quite popular here!
January 31, 2014
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G’day mates! My Australia experience has finally arrived after all of the planning and research I have been doing since over the summer. It seems like everyone has a country they are naturally drawn to and fascinated about, and Australia has been mine from a very young age. Once I found out more students from my school and in my classes were going to be studying abroad, I felt that I could do the same. I feel as if King’s has prepared me for this experience as well.
My journey began by flying from New Jersey, to Los Angeles, to Brisbane and then to Cairns for orientation. Several people seemed to get me nervous about the flying by myself part, but it went very smoothly. My best advice would be to not let other people scare you when it comes to flying. Staff at the airports are there to help you out with directions, and everything is clearly labeled so you know where you need to be. Now that I have done this once, I know I can do it all over again. The fourteen hour flight actually went by faster than I thought it would! Between falling asleep, reading and watching shows, it didn’t feel that long. Qantas is a wonderful airline to fly with and flight attendants made sure everyone was well fed and taken care of. I arrived at the Brisbane airport and went through customs, where I just had to fill out a card saying why I was going to be in Australia. Because the line was really long for customs, I didn’t make my scheduled flight to Cairns which then caused me to have a six hour layover at the airport. But I was actually ok with this! Things like this are bound to happen with traveling, and I was glad it happened sooner rather than later. I loved the environment of the airport and kept busy, tried new foods and people watched of course!
Once I arrived in Cairns, a shuttle took me to a hostel that our group of interns would be staying at. I never stayed in a hostel before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and I also never had roommates before since I’ve commuted back and forth to school for four years. I am an only child as well, so I’ve always been used to being by myself. This is where I learned a lot about myself fairly quickly. I never thought I would like having roommates and always thought I would get a place by myself when I got my first job. But it turned out I really enjoyed the company of the other girls and didn’t mind sharing and taking turns. So at least now I know am happier with others as opposed to wanting to live by myself.
I loved having a small group of interns! We got to know each other quickly in a short amount of time and did several fun things together. Cairns is a great place and I wish we had more time there! It’s really easy to get around and there’s lots of cool shops and farmers markets. While there, I accomplished my long time goal of holding a koala! It was a beautiful moment! We did a rainforest tour and a snorkeling/scuba diving trip as well. All of us went in our separate directions for our internships, but we plan on meeting up in Sydney/Newcastle during our time here.
Next week, I will discuss some more challenges I have encountered here and what I have been doing at my internship.
March 27, 2013
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I have been attending Regent’s college for about two months. I absolutely love it here in London. When I first arrived I was overwhelmed by my new surroundings. The city of London reminds me a lot of New York. It’s very fast pace,filled with a lot of people and taxi’s. Adjusting to the college was a lot harder. My shortest class is one hour and half, compared to fifty minutes. The catch is I don’t have any classes on Friday, which make it a lot easier to travel for longer weekends. The students at Regent’s made the transition a lot easier for me. There are a little over two-hundred students from all over the U.S. who I attend classes with. Some classes are mixed with other European students! The professors have a cool accent and are a lot like any other professor I’ve had a King’s. I don’t have to be as studious at Regent’s because all my grades consist of papers.I have enjoyed all my classes thus far and I’m getting ready for finals already. Before I come home I have a few trips planned that I’m looking forward to. This weekend for Easter Break I will be taking a ten hour bus to Scotland! In April I plan on going to Brussels, Rome and Florence, I can’t wait.
February 25, 2013
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My classes at Southern Cross University began last week. I was nervous at first about having different professors but it really just makes for a whole new experience. The classes here are very hands-on and interactive, which I love. There are a lot of different resources for students to use to their advantage and even more resources for international students. The classes here are a a lot larger than the classes at King’s, however all of our lectures are video taped and you can also access the power point slides and a message board online. To my surprise, the hardest part of adjusting to a new campus was finding my way around. The campus here is much larger than at King’s and it is located in a sub tropical area so you can’t really see over the trees and plants. When I walk to campus I feel like I am going on a hike through the woods, which I like, but it makes navigating more difficult. The first few days I was walking around with a campus map but once I found all my classes it became a lot easier. The one thing I don’t think I will get used to are all the hills on campus. I come home every day out of breath, but at least I’m getting some exercise to prepare for my Outdoor Education class hiking/camping trip next week.
February 17, 2013
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I have been at Southern Cross University for over a week now enjoying Orientation week. Classes begin tomorrow. As soon as I arrived at Orion College, where I am staying, everyone was extremely helpful and friendly. I do not make friends easily and I am a shy person, so I was nervous about meeting new people. Making friends isn’t something you need to worry about when you come to Lismore. There are no cliques here. Everyone talks to everyone and we are all friends. I have met so many people that I can’t remember half of their names.
Campus is in a rain forest-like area. There are lizards everywhere and I saw my first koala on campus. Since it is almost always warm here, Orion College has its own pool right outside my bedroom where everyone hangs out. Although campus is not in the city, there is a bus that takes you 10 minutes into town for shopping, restaurants and bars. Being outside of the city makes everything a bit cheaper.
Since I’ve been at Southern Cross, I have been to Byron Bay and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for two different free school trips. There have been fun events on campus all week for Orientation Week. My roommates have also taken me to a local waterfall where people like to cliff jump and swim. I signed up for the Outdoor Adventure Club so I can see more of the nature in the area and go hiking and rock climbing. There is always something new to experience here. You just have to take advantage of it.