Aussie Uni

Between midterms and spring break it has been nearly impossible to keep up with my blogging. Within one week of school I had three papers due on top of a management presentation. Good news, that heavy of a workload hasn’t been a frequent thing for me while studying here in Australia. Bad news, the papers here are a lot longer than the ones back in the states and because of different referencing styles and spelling they were a lot more difficult to write. However, between some prior planning and talking to my teachers it helped me get a better feeling of what kind of work they expected. I barely slept all week but thankfully after getting my assignments back this week I can see that my hard work paid off. Stressful midterms in the states and stressful midterms in Australia aren’t much different except that it’s even harder to stay in and study when you are in a foreign country and want to explore.

All in all, school is going really well. Classes are difficult but my professors are extremely nice and understanding. It’s interesting to be the foreigner in class for a change. I’m often called on in class to talk about issues or practices in the states. Being on the other side of things and hearing different opinions makes me realize different beliefs and thoughts I have about the way we do things back home.

To give you a heads up on school abroad I thought I would share some tips:

Tip One: Talk to your teachers prior to turning in assignments about expectations and referencing styles.

Tip Two: Keep your schedule and assignments very organized. One main difference in school here is professors don’t remind you about your assignments. They provide you the information and it is your job to apply what they are teaching, do the work, and turn it in on time without reminders.

Tip Three: Find out what kinds of clubs and organizations are going on around your campus. A couple of my roommates and I joined an event planning club that we are helping to plan a Halloween party.

Throughout the semester I have snapped a few shots of my campus. I thought they would be fun to share….

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Jenolan Caves/Blue Mountains Day Trip

Included in our program University of Notre Dame offers the opportunity for a couple day trips throughout the semester. Our first trip offered was up to the Blue Mountains. Of course, my roommates and I jumped at the opportunity to sign up as soon as we got the email! We’re always looking for different things to get involved in or check out. International students were offered the trip first but other students at our school could fill any empty spots left over so it provided us with the chance to meet some other students at our uni. We met at Notre Dame at 7:30 on a Saturday morning to catch a bus up to the mountains. The drive was over 2 hours but I enjoyed the drive seeing as how I don’t get many chances to be in a vehicle here besides public transit! We stopped for a coffee/snack break and took some pictures of the Three Sisters and surrounding area. The mountains were BEAUTIFUL! After growing up surrounded by mountains and nature it’s definitely an adjustment to look around and see skyscrapers and city lights every day in Sydney. It was so nice to breathe in the fresh air and have a little escape from the city mayhem.

Once we finished the windy drive up to the Jenolan Caves we were greeted by our tour guide. We went over some of precautions before entering the caves for our tour. We learned all about the different types of rock formations and how the caves formed. Our tour guide also told us stories about explorers and how different parts of the cave were discovered. I loved getting to wander down the different caverns of the cave and do a little exploring of my own.

After the tour we took a walk around the town where the Jenolan Caves are located. It is only a couple buildings but it is darling! There is a motel and restaurant that almost has a European feel to it. The restaurant offered sandwiches and other treats and we made sure to get a snack before hopping back on the bus for our trek home. We also took a stroll around the hotel and gift shop looking for something fun to take back with us.

By the time we got back to the city we were exhausted! Here are some pics of our day…

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Paddington Market

After a long school week and a Friday night out exploring the town it’s always hard to get ourselves up early on a Saturday to make use of our day. However, last Saturday a few of my roommates and I decided to check out Paddington’s market only a short bus ride away from Bondi Junction. I have become such a big fan of the Rocks weekend market so I was eager to check out a new place and compare the two.

Between the market and surrounding area you can find just about anything you want at one of the stands or inside one of the many boutiques. Although the market has a higher price range for clothing and other souvenirs, many of the surrounding boutiques have great deals and lower priced items. We had heard that Paddington’s market is a good place to buy souvenirs for our parents or other loved ones seeing as how most of the stuff is one of a kind and a little more pricey. We checked the market out first incase an item for a loved one broke our bank right off the bat.

The market was filled with an array of treats, clothing, and trinkets. We walked up and down the aisles looking at all the homemade goods and even getting a few tastes of the goodies there.

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We stopped by the food stand area of the market and picked up a couple of treats. Between three of my roommates and I we tasted a wrap, noodle dish, waffle, and lemon tart. We sat on a picnic table and just enjoyed watching all the people stroll by. After checking out the markets we ventured over to some of the surrounding boutiques.

I headed back to the apartment that day with a full belly, a new fedora made by a local, and a bag of both chocolate and regular chai to make at home since I had been buying so many out at cafe’s. Since I haven’t decided just yet whether I am a bigger fan of the Rocks market or Paddington’s market I think I may just have to make a couple trips back to both to get another taste of what they have to offer!

Bye for now….

My First Weekend Excursion!

After hearing numerous times how we HAD to check out Hunter Valley, a few of my roommates and I decided that we were going to book a vineyard tour and check out the proclaimed HV! We signed up with a company that offered a pick up at our apartment, a driver of a bus for the day, and a stop at 5 vineyards, a cheese shop, and a chocolate shop, yummmm! We started out the morning with an early pickup, 7 am, but after a stop for some breakfast and coffee we were awake and ready to go. The drive up to the valley was relaxing. We hadn’t been outside of Sydney since we had arrived over 6 weeks ago so it was nice to finally get out of the hustle and bustle of the city. We checked out three different vineyards before finally stopping for lunch where we enjoyed some wedges with chili sauce and vegetable spring roles. Afterwards we hopped back on the bus and headed to the cheese shop where we tasted cream cheeses, hard cheeses, goat cheeses and even bread dipped in different balsamic dressings. Whatever they didn’t offer a taste of during our smorgasbord we were able to ask for at the counter. I would definitely say I was stuffed by the time we finally waddled out of the store. Last stop was the chocolate shop. Even with a full belly and sore feet from all the walking I was ready for some chocolate. It seemed fitting to finish off a perfect day with a little something sweet. We tasted fudge, “chocolate rocks”, chocolate covered coffee beans, and finally chili chocolate. I had seen chili chocolate around Sydney a few times prior to the weekend and I was excited to finally try the sweet. Although I found that the chocolate had a nice flavor to it I probably would opt for something a little less spicy instead. After leaving the sweet shop we climbed back in to the bus for the two and a half hour ride back home. It’s safe to say that every person on that bus was passed out for the majority of the ride since we were all content with the long day and our full bellies. I woke up right when we were arriving back in Sydney by way of the harbor bridge. Having a view of the Sydney skyline and the Opera house was the perfect way to come back in to the city. Although the day was splendid, filled with good friends and good food, it was nice to come back to the city, my new home.

Here’s a couple pics from the day…

Our attempt at a Panoramic

Kelman Vineyards

^Wild Kangaroos! 

Beachin’ it at Bondi

It’s no surprise that Australia offers miles and miles of picturesque beaches and endless days of sunshine. Lucky me, I am less than 2 miles from one of the most famous of all the Aussie beaches, Bondi Beach. Because it’s so convenient, my roommates and I have found that it’s a popular place for us to spend our afternoons. For one of my roommate’s birthdays this past week we decided to wander down to the beach to spend a couple hours lounging on the sand and watching the surfers. To my disappointment I’ve found that the majority of surfers down at Bondi are tourists learning how to surf and that the real Aussie surfers are found hanging out around the small beaches that the locals know about. Even without all the surfing pros it’s still fun to spend some time relaxing with friends or walking along the coastal trail. There are even some yummy cafés along the boardwalk with some delectable treats. My roommate, Kelsi, captured some photos from our latest trip down to Bondi. She is an AMAZING photographer and you will probably see quite a bit of her photos on here as the semester goes on and my blog continues…

Aroma Festival

Today a few of my roommates and I decided to spend our sunday down at the Rocks near Circular Quay. We had heard about a festival called the Aroma Festival which promised delicious coffee, food from all corners of the world, and mouth-watering desserts. The festival delivered just as promised. There were booths set up lining the streets of the Rocks and you could literally find any type of food you were looking for. I scoured the streets for some tasty turkish food and I finally found the a stand which offered fetta, spinach, and chicken turkish gozlemes. The line was long but it was well worth the wait!  My roommates also got some coffee, cannolis, and chocolate dipped strawberry kababs which all looked delectable. The weather was perfect and it was hard to find someone without a smile on their face while strolling the streets. I am happy to say that I have yet to find a part of Sydney that I don’t like however this was my fourth time back to the Rocks and I think it may be my favorite part of Sydney! I’ll attach a few pictures of our day to give you an idea of the lovely atmosphere…enjoy!

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All settled in!

It’s been a full three weeks. Between orientation, moving in, and figuring out how to navigate this city I finally feel like I have my bearings! School starts tomorrow and although I am not ready for my summer to be over I am ready for some sort of routine and organization in my life.

Here’s an idea of what my last few weeks have been filled with. Pictures can only give a small taste of the beauty this city has to offer!