Tuesday, February 24, 2009

school starts!

It has been a week today and I am now starting to realize this is my home for the semester! It has seemed much like a quick trip or vacation so far. I am starting to catch onto some of the cultural differences, the traditions, and just in general, what it is like to live in Australia and on the Sunshine Coast. Australians really love and treasure their country. I am excited for school to start next week, but it will be hard considering I have had a very long break from it! Structure for my life will be nice however.

All though school is starting I am hoping to start some planning for trips! Just weekend visits to other big cities, hiking trips, or to see some friends. Yesterday the school prepared a trip to Kondililla Falls. It is located about 30 min away and it is beautiful! It is a very long waterfall with hiking paths winding in and out all around it. A few of us stopped to jump off the cliffs into the “rock pool” so we weren’t even able to take the whole trail. I hope to go back sometime! On our way home we stopped at a small local cafĂ© that is located on the edge of the rainforest and information center. The rainforest!! Almost just as you would imagine; a lot of green, plants, bushes, crazy trees, and hanging vines. Unluckily we didn’t come across many animals.
It was really hot all day today. But once it started getting dark, the rain just started pouring down really hard!

This past weekend some students took a trip to Fraser Island that the school put on. It was full very fast however and i was unable to go. I plan on venturing up that way another day because i hear it is absolutely wonderful!

On Sunday, my German friend Regina and I went to Grace Christian Church, which is just down the road from USC. It was a very warm welcome from the pastor and a refreshing experience. Many people heard we went and would like to go next Sunday with us, so that is awesome! I am sure God will work in a way of his own through me and through that church to reach out to students, local and international!

School started this week...Monday, Feb 23. Not like I can complain, but it is a big change! Of course it is a different country and different school so the systems are a little different. Which will be a good experience, but a little stressful to make sure to do things correctly. I am sure once we get in the groove it will be no sweat, well i hope atleast! It will be nice to be on a schedule again. So far the classes have been well and some even very interesting, which is always a plus!

If i am not on campus i typically spend my time walking around, hanging out on the porch enjoying the weather, in the pool or at the beach, going for a run, grabbing some groceries, and an occasional trip to the shopping plaza.

the beginning

How can I sum up my last few days w/o writing a ridiculous amount of information you all do not care to hear….I will do my best! On Monday, Feb 16 “O-week” started. This is the start of orientation for all students, but especially for international students. So we all sat through some presentations and listened to various people talk about all you would expect them to say. It is a lot and gets long, but is nice as well to feel informed! It is a prime time to start meeting others by simply introducing yourself to anyone and everyone. On Tuesday there was Market day, which includes the advertising and representation of different clubs, organizations, and local businesses. There were also tours and food and an induction ceremony. Can’t forget to mention I saw a salvation army, have to make sure to check it out of course. Ha! For those of you who will appreciate that(sarah), the building said “thank god for the salvo.”

However, once done on campus or should I say choose to be done, what else to do!? Last night was a pretty loud night with a ton of people in and around the pool and beach volleyball court. It is awesome that everyone is out and about. It will be interesting to see what it is like once Uni (school) starts!

Besides that, Sunday and Monday were very sunny days, and none-the-less Sunday at Mooloolaba(the beach) provided some definite swimsuit lines. Oops! I even defied the norm and wore sunscreen! We also walked around the strip/boardwalk and checked out some shops and grabbed some food. The wharf is right there as well, filled with big boats! It is a beautiful area.

As part of the international students at Uni, there are a lot of Germans and a lot of Asians. Besides those, there are some Americans, Mexicans, and also many Canadians. It is nice to meet people of many cultures, but a challenge as well to effectively communicate and interact with them.

To get around the Sunshine Coast we have been using the public transport system(buses), asking Aussies for rides, or using a taxi. I also have been doing some exploring by jogging and taking walks.

My apartment complex has over a hundred apartments, with four apartments to a building and four rooms to an apartment. There are two pools and a beach volleyball court. Scattered around the complex are some barbeques and there is also a pretty weak workout room. It is nice to have activity going on all around the complex, especially once you start to get to know the other students and you can just walk onto their porches to hang out!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

the journey...

hilary and i made it to the MSP airport with no sweat and too early!! i decided to reorganize my bags a little anyways so i did not have to pay the overweight baggage fee. it worked out wonderfully. no problems with check in and security, so i got through and did some browsing...oh and got some coffee or course! then eventually bought a book and got some food.

the flight to chicago was really fast but unnecessary. only 5 of us stayed on that flight to continue to LAX until more boarded. the other 4 had been trying to get to hawaii so the two kids could get married, but kept getting into delays! poor family! i had originally switched seats with the groom so he could sit by his fiance...not knowing at the time and later when they got the whole row to themselves i assured them that was my weeding gift to them! i then sat next to a crazy frizzed out curly haired lady who is the kind of person that doesnt care what anyone thinks. she was great! this flight took forever!!!

i stepped out and enjoyed the california weather for a bit and used some of the perfume and cosmetics at the duty free shop! brushed my teeth and felt much better after that. i decided it was time to go through security which led to pure chaos! the area was under renovations and just packed with people who had no where else to go as we were all waiting for our flights. soon enough i ran into justin and stephen from my school, and a few minutes later wes. it was a nice change seeing them!

the flight to AUS was really good! long of course....but easy. just watched some new released movies, played games, ate, listened to some tunes, and slept! some how we were able to rearrange it so me and the two boys sat next to each other, which worked out just perfectly!

finally got to sydney, transferred planes to fly out to brisbane. of course this is when we have to all get our bags, go through customs, and recheck everything! it all went great however, especially because i was with wes and his two friends the whole time. they helped me with my large, large suitcases.

next came getting to brisbane, finding our cols air transfer dude and getting to our apartments! he eventually found us and we were on our way once again. i feel as though at this point every australian we had encountered was very outgoing and upbeat!! love it. we got to the apt's, had to fill out a bunch of sheets, hand over a bunch of money, and finally were able to get in our rooms!
so yes, the trip consisted of a lot or driving, waiting, flying, busing, and sitting! but now that i am here...i dont even think about the morning i left my house! it all went so fast.

now only if it would stop raining!!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

all about it.

location: Queensland, Australia

school: University of the Sunshine Coast

departure: February 11

return: June 29

study: business management/international business courses

address: 8 Varsity View Court
Apartment 07 Room 4
Sippy Downs Queensland 4556

facebook:chelsey smith