Returning to Australia presented a few different challenges to when I first moved in July 2016. Most people know what they’re in for when they return to uni from break, but for me there was one significant change. Having spent the first semester at UWA in the (relatively) luxurious surrounds of UniHall the second semester would see me heading out and into the wilds: rental accommodation.
Actually renting a house had been fairly straightforward. Despite the fact I was in the UK in January, those still in Australia found a house which was both conveniently close to campus and extraordinarily cheap compared to the average. The downside of renting a house from 14,000km away was that the first time I saw the property was after the 90-minute bus journey from the airport, having just landed in Perth at 05:30. The quality of house does somewhat match the price tag, but it’s probably nicer than my previous rental house in Southampton- I certainly don’t have to worry about damp here!
However, while in Southampton students have the advantage of renting properties specifically marketed to students, that is not the case here. What renting like any other pleb means is that, like any other pleb, you must furnish the house yourself. We had been given some furniture by the parents of one housemate (who are moving house in Perth) but I arrived to my (quite cosy) room with some serious interior decorating to do.
I won’t bore you with the details on my shopping, but after just over a week I had made (in my opinion) a fairly good job of the place, possibly my best purchase being a $20 bedframe. The only thing missing at that point was a decent desk, though I then sourced one about a week later. The only issue with this was that it was a kilometre away, and wouldn’t fit in a car. It was let up to me and my fellow British housemate to lug said desk back to the house in 30C+ temperatures and then have to wedge it into place, a difficult task when it only just fitted through a doorframe.
Now a month in to living here, we’ve made ourselves pretty comfortable and I’ve re-adjusted to having to actually cook for myself. We had a few hiccups along the way (notably an extended hospital stay in Perth and two passports lost by housemates in Japan) but so far there have been no major problems.
My re-arrival was also much improved by a surprising email the day after I had moved in. We had received an email in November or December about applying for a scholarship reserved for EU students, and I had speculatively sent in an application. By the end of January, I had heard nothing, so presumed I’d been unsuccessful, given it was only a month until the start of term. Having been in China for three weeks I’d completely forgotten about it, and was utterly shocked to get the email confirming my successful application! I’ll do a supplementary post on all the boring application stuff, but for anyone reading this before heading for a year abroad I’m proof that it’s always worth giving it a shot if the opportunity arises!
Other than that, this month has largely been settling back into the routine of lectures and tutorials, slightly enlivened for me this term by the addition of French classes, which have quite quickly begun to test the limits of what I can remember from my GCSEs four years ago! I’ve also managed to earn some money umpiring softball for the Inter-College championship, which also provided a bit of a test for my rules knowledge given some of the unorthodox play on display.
Given we’re heading into winter here it means the start of both the rugby and (Australian rules) footy seasons, which is a big positive for a sports nut like myself. I’ve already been to a Western Force rugby game, getting to witness their first home victory in nearly two years, and I’m keen to get to an AFL game as soon as the opportunity presents itself. This last week also saw me take part in what is a University of Western Australia institution: Prosh. Getting up at 04:30 in the morning (I wasn’t prepared to pull the all-nighter) students in all sorts of fancy dress descend on campus and are given bundles of the University’s very own satirical newspaper to sell to the denizens of Perth, with all the proceeds going to charity. I’m not sure how many people were put off taking a paper from me given I was dressed as Hannibal Lecter, but spending the morning making up entertaining Prosh-based puns and slightly terrorising the locals by playing the Star Wars Cantina Song on loop the whole time was a pretty fun experience, even if I was somewhat shattered by the end of it!
Finally, my parents arrive this week for three weeks during the UK Easter holidays, so I should have some fun adventures to write about in my next post!