This Facebook page is hilarious and this post sums up my life, along with heaps of other college students out there (Yeah, I'm talking about you!). Because let's be real, it's hard enough paying attention and learning in your own country, let alone when you study abroad! Geez, how am I supposed to focus on derivative securities and financial institutions during the semester when I'm busy learning how to communicate through the Australian language barrier and enjoying all that Melbourne has to offer?!?!?
Anyway, the last day of class was October 24th. SWOT Vac was last week. The purpose of SWOT Vac is to use the week to study or in other cases, to learn all the material that should've been learned during the semester. Lucky me, I came down with tonsillitis (I've never EVER had any issue with my tonsils or throat, so of course this would happen in Australia) the day after class ended and spent 5 days in Ballarat on antibiotics and recovering. I felt like death. Zac's family was great and staying there instead of the small rooms at RMIT Village definitely helped me get better sooner. His mom is a nurse and instead of waiting in Melbourne to see a doctor on Monday, she was able to get me in to see a doctor that Saturday so I didn't have to wait to start antibiotics. While I was sick, Zac and I watched quite a few movies. I finally watched the Bourne trilogy and we watched Out of Africa. I've been meaning to see that ever since I got back from Kenya. It was such a sad movie, but the scenery was beautiful and brought me back to Kenya. I also got Zac to watch P.S. I Love You with me. Gerard Butler, mmmmmmm!!! He was dreading watching it, but since there was music by Flogging Molly and the Pogues, the movie was redeemed.
I took this picture before we left Ballarat. It's the train station! It was such a pretty building, so I had to take a picture - even though we had about 4 minutes until our train was due to leave and we still had to get tickets. We made it on the train just in time though!
We got back to Melbourne on Wednesday and I was finally feeling healthy again. So we went to Turf for their $0.50 hot wing night! I've never really been a fan of wings, but the wings are soooo good, especially the hot ones! Probably not the best thing I should've eaten after barely getting over tonsillitis, but no regrets!!
And to further my procrastination of studying/learning, we spent some time Friday in the park lounging out in the sun! Spring in Melbourne is so insane - 60 degrees one day then 80 degrees the next. So I have to enjoy the sun while it's out!
Then on Friday night, I went for a much needed run! My throat started hurting in early October, so I hadn't gone for a run since then. I honestly love Royal Park and I got to watch the sunset while I ran!
That's how I spent my SWOT Vac. Honestly, I would prefer to not have the week to prepare and have exams end a week early, but I guess I'm just used to having a day for "reading" at NYU and then having exams start. I feel like this is just way too much time, and I don't need that much! My exams are November 11th, November 14th and November 19th. If I started studying during SWOT Vac, I'd surely just forget everything!! Usually I just need a couple of days to study for each exam! Cramming for the win!
At this point, I'm about a third of the way through my program here at University of Melbourne and I'd like to take the time to explain in more detail my experience in regard to classes/school and how it compares to NYU. Also, on a side note, University of Melbourne has been ranked the #1 university in Australia this year!
Course Load - Credits
**This is from my personal experience and is not indicative of all other subjects or anything - I'm taking Derivative Securities, Management of Financial Institutions, Managing Conflict in the Global Workplace and Change & Conflict in Australian Society.**
**Again, I can only speak for the classes I'm taking, my friends here have had more work that I have.**
While there are quite a few differences between NYU and University of Melbourne, it really hasn't been all that difficult to adjust to so far. I have no complaints and I believe I definitely made the right choice to come here. I have learned so much about Australia already, just from my classes and being in class with local students! It's exactly what I wanted! I hope this could be a help to those considering possibly studying abroad in Australia or University of Melbourne from America!
In my mind, there are three different speeds of time. There is normal time, college time and study abroad time. I'm not sure if it's because I go to school in a huge city, but before starting school at NYU, life seemed to happen much slower. Even when I find myself home in upstate New York, time still seems to drag. But once I got to NYU, between classes, my internship and my club involvement, time seemed to fly. I blinked and it was already midterms. It was crazy.
Studying abroad, it's a whole level above that. I'm already a quarter of the way through my course at Universitu of Melbourne. I feel like I just got here last week and it's been almost 4 weeks already (I really have no problem with it as long as it starts to warm up soon)! It's just crazy how fast time goes by here. It makes sense though - being in a new place, there are TONS of things to take up your time such as meeting new people, seeing new places and getting used to a new university. I really do love it here, though. It's such a nice place, both the university and the city itself!
Lectures & Tutorials.
I haven't really had a chance to really explain more in depth on my in-class experience here yet. Back in NYC, I've never had a semester where I haven't had at least one homework assignment or quiz/exam per week. Here, I have one assignment, two papers and two midterm exams during the semester, in addition to 3 finals during our three-week long exam period. I'm now starting to understand what was discussed during orientation week - it's easy to give yourself a false sense of security and get behind by thinking you only have a couple of things due at the end of the semester. I'm hoping to get ahead on one of my papers by the end of next week.
I actually really like the concept of the tutorials here, helping to lead discussions on the topics covered in the lectures. They allow a lot more interaction between classmates and help you see different perspectives on ideas. I feel that this will definitely enhance my exchange experience here, too, by having these more intimate settings and getting to see how the local students think.
More Exploring - Melbourne's Lane Ways!
This past Sunday, a friend and I explored Melbourne's lane ways. Some, such as Hosier Lane and Union Lane are just fully covered with graffiti while others, such as Centre Place, are lined with discrete, cozy cafes. In a way, some of the lanes (the ones with small boutique shops) reminded me of SoHo. In the visitor centre at Federation Square, we picked up the lane way maps and weaved through the map of different lanes - some even took us into beautiful arcades with pretty ceilings. I will have to go back when it gets a tad warmer and take more pictures! Below are some more graffiti pictures from Union Lane!
Luna1878 - Winter Night Market at Queen Victoria Market!
On Sunday, my friend told me of this cool night market he was planning on going to Wednesday, so we went last night. As we were walking toward the food, I'm pretty sure I said something along the lines of "Oh, I really wish they had pierogies, I've been craving them for so long!" And then he pointed at one of the stands and I couldn't believe it - polish food!!!! The pierogies were AMAZING and I hope to go back the next two Wednesdays and have them again - I can't find any polish restaurant in this city! At least in NYC I have Veselka just blocks from school to curb my pierogi cravings!! Although, Lomzynianka in Greenpoint is definitely the best - cheap, unbelievably good polish food! It's just such a hike though!
I also found a really pretty necklace at one of the craft stalls and I ended up buying it. For me, it symbolizes flight and travel, so I had to get it!
Besides having tons of great food stalls and craft stalls, there was live music, people on stilts and a silent disco to add to the entertainment. I can't wait until next Wednesday to go back :) That's all for now!
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