GENERAL UPDATE AND STUDIES
I cannot believe how quickly the time is going! At the moment, I have lots of deadlines due as the end of term is looming; it is nearly the end of October and I only have one more week of official term left and then the exam period begins so I will be busy revising then. It’s quite sad saying goodbye to my Australian classmates after twelve weeks studying with them but I am very glad to have had this opportunity. I’ve met some really lovely people here and have been made to feel very welcome. This past week has been quite hectic with some presentations but thankfully they went well which I’m pleased with. The way students are assessed here is different to Southampton in which the tasks are broken down into smaller pieces. For example, for my “Icons of Decadence” course it is weighted through: Participation – 10%, Assignment – 15% (600 words), Seminar Presentation – 5%, Seminar Paper – 30% (1500 words) and an Essay – 40% (2500 words). In Southampton, my courses for first year were broken down into mostly two things, such as two large essays worth 40%/60%. I have found that by breaking things down into smaller chunks it lessens the pressure at the last-minute (which I seemed to experience quite a bit in first-year!). My class presentation for this module was interesting because it had to last for around a quarter of an hour, whereby the research I did and the questions I came up with on the set topic essentially ran that part of the lesson and it was interesting to see the way my questions were debated. There is a lot more emphasis on student participation here which has greatly improved my confidence.
For my mid-semester break, I spent a week in Melbourne which was so fun. My first impression was that it is a lot bigger than Adelaide (most Australian cities are), but also that it is quite a futuristic city and the architecture is amazing. I was able to do most things on my bucket list and saw so many amazing places. It’s safe to say I spent a fair bit of time walking around the city (and getting lost several times when google maps decided not to work on my phone) but many people were happy to help. I visited the state library (which was more like an art gallery as it looked amazing on the inside and even had some exhibitions), the museum (also very impressive), Hosier Lane (incredible street art) and explored many of the small alleyways around the city which held cute bookshops and cafes. There was this one street I went to which was lined with Italian restaurants and I went to an area called Fitzroy where I had brunch at a place called Proud Mary (we had to walk for about an hour to find it but when we got there it was 100% worth the wait). I also visited the Queen Victoria Market and went for a picnic in the park and saw the Botanical Gardens. I barely covered any of it as the gardens are huge – you can easily spend a day getting lost in them. I also went up the Eureka Skydeck which is the highest point in Mebourne and watched the sunset over the city – it was an incredible site. I stayed in an area called St. Kilda so had to commute into the city by tram but St. Kilda is a great area. The sunset on the beach was amazing and I even saw penguins (yes, penguins!) at the end of the pier. They come out everyday at sunset.
I was also able to see the Great Ocean Road which was a long day in itself but definitely the highlight of my trip and something I had been looking forward to. The day began early at 5:45am in order to get out of the city. We passed a place called Torquay and stopped at the infamous Great Ocean Road sign. We had lunch at Apollo Bay and also took a detour and short walk through the only pocket of rain forest in the state of Victoria. I saw the infamous Tweleve Apostles landmark and also stopped off at many caves and beaches on the way. It was truly amazing, and I can certainly see why it’s called “The Great Ocean Road”.
Back in Adelaide, I have also visited the little German town called Hahndorf which is about an hour away on the bus. I went on a very hot Saturday where the weather was around 30 degrees (and it’s only Spring at the moment…). Safe to say I was melting, but my fellow Australian classmates have warned me that it only gets hotter…
My last exam is on the 19th November and on that evening I am kicking off my end-of-year travels by flying to New Zealand (which was a bit unexpected). I am meeting a friend from home there who happens to be in New Zealand and we are going to road trip which I am greatly looking forward to. I am still in the process of planning this one but have booked my flights and insurance at least.
At the beginning of December I will be doing my main travels around Australia, starting in Tasmania and then doing as much of the East Coast as possible. For Christmas and New Year’s I’ll be in Bali and then I return to Adelaide early in January when I will finally fly back to the UK. Most of my travels have been booked and organized but I am still planning things so am doing this in between studying and deadlines.
I’ll try and squeeze in another blog post before I leave!