Friday, July 29, 2011

First Week of Classes

So, I have officially finished my first week of classes and didn't skip any of them...success!!  That's big time news being that i have THREE 9am classes, one being on Friday.  While here I am taking: Human Nutrition, Finance, HR Management, and International Marketing.  The grading structure here is SO different and making me miss MSU quite a bit.  The final exam is worth at least half of your semester grade, with finance being 70%!!! of my grade!  CRAZY...I know.  Then some have projects, presentations, or papers but on a whole you have to do well on everything to do well on the class, which is intimidating.  However, I guess this is why we get about a month off before finals to study!  The lectures are pretty similar, but 3 of my classes are 2 hours back to back instead of being split between 2 or 3 days a week.  Then on top of the lecture, we have to attend a "tutorial" for one hour a week to have a smaller group learning style.  The only nice part about my classes is that I don't have classes on Monday or Wednesday.  They refer back to the US quite a bit in all of my classes which is awesome  and makes me feel proud to be an American! (Not that I didn't before coming over here.)      

It's so funny how much American culture is grasped over here.  They watch a ton of American TV like Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother.  They also listen to A LOT of American music, so the culture shock in those aspects never really occurred, which is fine because I love American TV and music! 

We are going downtown today for Valerie's 21st birthday!!  She is one of the American girls I became friends with in AustraLearn.  We are going to the Casino, which is apparently HUGE and AMAZING, so I am super excited!  My birthday is in a month and I will be 22, which is depressing being that most of the people on my floor are 19 and 20! Anyway, I hope everyone is staying cool back home I heard it is HORRIBLY hot!  I love you all :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Oh Goon and other Uni Culture....

Let me just begin and say that everything over here is a bit pricey and I will never complain about US prices EVER again.  Alcohol is extremely more with a fifth of Smirnoff being over $40.  So, I thought that alcohol would be a once in a week thing maybe and then...they introduced us to goon.  It is boxed wine that they think is horrible so they mix it with juice, but Rachel and I drink it straight because it's really not that bad!  So, we have now found a solution for our budget!

Re-O Week is coming up this next week which is actually during their first week of classes.  Each night is a different theme like Scribbler Party, floor theme (ours is Heaven and Hell), intercollege ball (where you wear old dresses), and bad taste (where you don't match).  I'm so excited!  We went to Savers which is like a giant Goodwill and got all of our clothes for everything.  The people on my floor are amazing too!  Most are still on holiday, so far I've met Molly, Ellia, Maddie, Rowan, Alice, Ruby, Jeremy, BJ, and Marco (who is the other international student from Britain).

I absolutely love it here so far except the cold temperatures.  It's not nearly as cold as our winters, but coming from a St. Louis summer to 50's was a rough transition.  I miss you all and wish I could win the lottery to have you all come see me! :)  Love you all!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Settling in...

This week has been focused on international students, which I still have a hard time calling myself.  The first time I went down to the city (Melbourne) was a free day and so Rachel, Valerie, Canada (Chris), Zack, and I went down for the entire day to explore.  The city is HUGE and beautiful.  It is a great mixture between historic and modern. All of the streets are lined with restaurants and shops.  The tram/ bus system here is so interesting and well integrated into everything.  The trams go up and down every street and stop at lights just like cars.  So, after taking the tram to the main part of the city and going to the museum, we took another tram down to St. Kilda, which is a beach front and yacht club.  The ocean everywhere is clear and beautiful!
We then ate lunch at this amazing Italian restaurant and 4 out of 5 of us got the chicken parmy which was amazing!  We then went back to the sports and aquatic center and just walked around.  Finally we when to a chocolate bar and split a chocolate pizza, which was the perfect end to a long day!  Yesterday we went back down to the city with the big group of international students, so not only were we a diverse group the LaTrobe students who took us kept calling out "INTERNATIONALS!!" when we needed to gather which was embarrassing. lol We got to go to the market which is every Sunday all across the town which I am excited to go to and then we got to go the the Eureka Tower.  This is the tallest building in Melbourne and it's actually a residential building!  From the 88th floor we could see the entire city, which made me realize just how big the city really was.  It was definitely more spread out and seemed bigger than St. Louis, but the entire country of Australia has just 22 million people so it's definitely not as populated.
The city is gorgeous and I can not wait to explore more...because it will honestly take me the entire semester to even see most of the city.  Well I sign up officially for class tomorrow so that should be exciting...not! Talk to you super soon! :)  Love and miss you all...try to stay cool in the crazy hot weather! (I'm wearing a coat and pants everyday....)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

In Love...

Where to begin...Australia is amazing!! I mean the 15 hour flight from LA was crazy long and boring but it was a double decker plane with endless free food and movies.  After arriving in Sydney we had to go through customs and then take another 3 hour flight to Cairns.  I will tell you a 65-70 degree winter with little humidity was amazing.  We went to the Rainforestation the first full day we were there where I held a snake and was up close and personal with kangaroos and a koala.  We also went to Cape Tribulation and a nice little boat ride where we saw crocs in there natural habitat which was interesting.  We then helped in the community by helping clean up Mission Beach which is one of the beaches hit hard during the cyclone 5 months ago.  We talked to a local Dylan who was honestly one of the funniest people I've ever met.  Finally the last day we spent the whole day out on the Great Barrier Reef which was honestly the most beautiful place I have ever seen.  I went snorkeling for a bit and got to see some crazy fish and coral.  Coral is actually brown which surprised me because I was expecting bright colored coral.

I am blessed to have an amazing LaTrobe Family.  Not everyone from the first week was from our school, but everyone was really fun.  Our small LaTrobe group instantly became a close knit family which has been a great support as we have started to move in at school and get settled in.  Rachel, a girl I saw was from StL before I left, and I became friends quite quickly which is exciting because I will get to see her pretty face when I get lucky!!  

So as you can probably guess I am now in Melbourne which is where I am going to school for the next 5 months.  School down here is SOOO different than in the States with at least half of your grade relying on one huge final so oh boy!!...NOT! Thank the good Lord that it is pass/fail.  But other than school everything else is absolutely amazing!! My dorm is amazing!! Everyone who I have met so far is crazy awesome!  I am one of two international students, the other being from England.  

Funny story...they all knew I was married by the "Mrs." on my housing but didn't know if I marked it on accident, so they tried looking me up on Facebook.  I am on like top notch private so they couldn't find me and literally thought I was this 40 year old married woman coming back to school. haha So, when they met me they were relieved to say the least.  I probably didn't tell that story great but it was really funny.

Ok this is getting long, so I will post about my city adventures tomorrow because we are going back down! :)  I miss you all very very much and please keep me up to date on your lives too!!  Talk to you soon....