My time in Australia seems like so long ago by now. I’m glad I’ll have the pictures, blog posts, journal entries, and memories to remind me of all my adventures abroad. Before leaving the US, I’m not really sure I believed that I would really go to Australia to study and travel for 4 months. I kept taking more steps to get there like applying for the program, saving money, and buying a plane ticket. However, I still didn’t feel like any of it was real until my best friend and I landed in Auckland, New Zealand before our semester started. That’s when our adventure began.
I never could have imaged all of the amazing, unique, crazy things that we did, but they just sort of happened and seemed like normal things. Sometimes we’d be doing something super awesome and just feel like it was a typical activity since we did awesome stuff a lot. Other times it would really hit us how lucky and blessed we were to get those amazing opportunities. At the Great Barrier Reef, my best friend and I looked at each other with the look that says “Is this really happening? Are we REALLY at the Great Barrier Reef snorkeling with a bunch of fish and coral surrounding us?” I’ll never forget that moment. I had a similar moment on the south island of New Zealand while sailing through a fiord call Milford Sound surrounded by impeccable mountains and awestriking views. The white sand and blue waters at Whitehaven Beach (creative name right?) were pretty incredible as well. I’m so thankful for all of the adventures and special moments that I’ll remember forever.
I learned a lot about myself and the world on this journey. I learned that no matter where I go, I’ll always be the same person who enjoys hiking, watching movies, or going to SkyZone more than going into the city for a night. Everyone is unique, and I met some pretty cool people from several countries that I hope to visit sometime soon. It was really neat to learn about the culture in Australia but also the culture of other countries from my fellow exchange students. I have realized that some people know more about my own country than I do. Thinking about things with a global perspective can really impact how you form opinions or connect certain events to others.
Not everything will go as you planned while studying abroad. You’re bound to miss a flight, bus, or some planned activity, but don’t worry. You’ll deal with it and learn from mistakes. Maybe you’ll go early next time just in case ;) I have definitely learned to go with the flow and trust that we’d figure things out. This experience has taught me to trust the locals more, see the best in people, problem solve, and make the most out of every situation no matter how tired I might be. Something good can come out of every experience. For me, studying abroad has increased my passion for traveling while also making me realize all the blessing that surround me back home. I’m glad I went on this wild adventure with my best friend, and I can’t wait for more to come.
These are some things that we would do on weekends or mostly free days since we traveled several weekends. Belconnen is the part of Canberra that the University of Canberra is in. That’s where you would live if you studied here. Civic is a 15-20 minute, $2.30 Australian Dollar bus ride away. It’s more of the downtown area where there’s more nightlife, restaurants, events, and historical things.
Below are some resources for you to explore how you can get involved if you’re interested in the environment and sustainability. There are various organisations that support different aspects of sustainability. If you’re interested in joining a community garden, there are a few in Canberra listed below, but there are several smaller gardens everywhere. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you could always try to start your own community garden. There are also some resources listed where you can find more scholarly information about whatever area of sustainability that might peak your interest. The references listed were used when researching for the other blog posts about sustainability, so feel free to explore as they provide quality information regarding community gardens and the sustainability issues that community gardening addresses.
Community gardens and urban agriculture in general face some challenges. There are several ways to overcome these challenges. Often, the benefits of community gardening far outweigh the costs.
I woke up with a bit of a sore body from surfing and some new bruises, but the weekend was definitely worth it! I gardened in the morning; we weeded and cut the plants before spreading them over the soil to compost and go back into the soil. Then, we covered it with a light layer of mulch to get ready to plant things soon since it’s spring now. I left with some broccoli and walked straight to the mall to get some groceries. I didn’t get much because I’m trying to use up what I have, but I needed a few things. I was shocked to see a Christmas display up already! That was weird since it's getting warmer here instead of colder, so it doesn't feel like it's getting closer to Christmas. When I got back, I ate lunch and did a little school work before heading back to the mall to use the Wi-Fi so I could post some things for my blog and for school. After getting a few things done, I went back to the apartment and studied a bit more before cooking food for the week. I made some pasta with basil pesto, fresh broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, parsley, and chicken. I watched some TV and worked on my sustainable communities paper.
In the morning, I worked on my blog posts that I have to write for my sustainability class. I’m writing about community gardens and how they can be sustainable and benefit the members. Then, I went to the gym before showering, eating lunch, and heading to campus to study. My sustainable communities class ended with solutions to the issues regarding sustainability that the world has to face. My teacher talked about solutions in different categories such as culture, technology, politics, and economics. It was really interesting and gave me some hope for the future and possibilities. After class, I went to the library to find articles for my food, health, and environment. Kiley and I walked back together after studying and watching Netflix for a bit. I read some articles and took notes in the evening while watching some TV before heading to bed.
I was supposed to have a nutrition lecture in the morning, but it turns out it was an online one. I tried to find it online, but I just ended up working on other stuff in the library until my sustainable communities tutorial. People presented about their projects like I did last week, and it was kind of interesting to hear about all the different areas of sustainability that people can get involved in. After class, I walked home and then went for a little walk. Then, I came back to study and eat dinner. Nicola came over to watch The Bachelorette with Kiley and I while I did some laundry and colored some pictures. We all needed a break from writing assignments.
I went to the gym in the morning because I knew I’d have to be sitting and studying most of the day. After I got home, I showered and started reading articles for a paper right away. I spent most of the day in the apartment studying and taking study breaks by doing some chores or watching a bit of TV. I had some delicious pasta with chicken, broccoli, kale, carrots, and basil pesto for dinner. Then, Nicola came over the Bachelorette finale together. I was kind of sad about who lost, but oh well. Batman Begins was on after that, so I watched Bruce Wayne turn himself into a symbol of hope for Gotham city before I went to sleep.
I went to the mall to use the Wi-Fi so that I could look up some more articles. I also changed my schedule for ISU next semester a little bit because of the classes that I’m taking this semester and how they’ll transfer back. When I got home, I ate lunch and started reading articles and taking notes for my food, health, and environment paper about sustainable food systems. I had to take some study breaks because the work was pretty monotonous at that point. The thought of being done with school work by November 6th and then spending the rest of my time in Australia travelling and hanging out with friends is what got me through. After eating dinner, Kiley, Nicola, and I went for a walk and then got ice cream. It was nice to sit around and forget about our school work while enjoying some delicious ice cream. When we got back, Kiley and I watched part of Maleficent on TV before going to sleep.
I went to the gym, and Kiley and I went to Body Attack together. Then, I went back to the apartment to shower, eat lunch, and work on my food, health, and nutrition paper. I wrote quite a bit of it which was good, but it took a while to get through. Kiley and I played a game to have a break from studying all day. Then, we ate dinner before meeting Nicola to take the bus in to the city. We went to a candle lighting festival in Canberra. It was pretty cool; there were Asian food stalls selling all different kinds of food. We also saw some sumo wrestlers put on a show for everyone, and there were a couple of live bands that performed music throughout the festival. We walked along and saw the candle display while it was still light out and then we went back after the candles were lit and the sun had set. It was a pretty unique experience to see so many candles lit. There were also lights that shined on some of the trees and changed colors over time. I’m really glad we went because it was a fun event, and we ran into some of our exchange friends from Hong Cong and China while we were there. We listened to the band for a while and then took the bus back to Belconnen. I watched some of Forrest Gump on TV while finishing a few things before going to bed.
I slept in a little bit in the hopes of feeling less tired in the morning. I woke up feeling a little more refreshed, but on Sundays I always feel like relaxing and not being productive. Kiley and I went to church, and then I made lunch and did a few things. We got ready and left with Nicola for the mall. We wanted to plan out Tasmania and book hostels, tours, ect. Kiley and I also worked on planning Melbourne since we’re going from Canberra to Melbourne and then meeting Nicola in Tasmania from there. We got pretty excited since we were looking at everything and the adventures to come. However, we couldn’t get too excited yet since we still had final papers, projects, and tests to get done. We also had some troubles finding tours that left on the right days, but we found some cool ones. After we finished booking some things, Kiley and I got groceries and then walked home in the rain. We weren’t in the best mood, but we spent the rest of the day watching movies, relaxing, studying, and playing games.