I am excited to be able to share with you some of my experiences during my time studying abroad in Perth, Australia. So much has happened in the nearly two months we’ve been here, that I hardly know where to begin.
Let’s see … One of the first highlights of my time abroad was our orientation retreat. We traveled over an hour outside the city to a place called Yanchep. There we stayed in a quaint inn and got inundated with Australian culture. American stereotyping of Australia includes kangaroos, cool accents, surfing, boomerangs and the Crocodile Hunter. On the retreat we got a firsthand taste of a few of these stereotypes. The kangaroos around the property did not disappoint us in their appearance and graceful hopping.
Furthermore, surfing that first morning was a huge highlight. It was after I had caught my first wave that I pinched myself and thought, “I can’t believe I’m actually in Australia.” Also, on the retreat we learned how to throw a boomerang and how to perform an Aboriginal dance. Most of all, the retreat provided a time for the 11 SMU students and 30 other students from America to bond as a group, and I have been blessed by all the new friendships here.
Curtin University is located in a suburb outside of Perth, which is a city of about 1.5 million people, and it’s situated alongside the beautiful Swan River. The downtown area is fun to visit, and it takes about 25 minutes to get there by public transportation.
The surrounding coastal towns have also been quite fun to explore. Fremantle is one of my favorite towns. It’s situated right on the Indian Ocean with a large harbor, quaint buildings, great fish and chips, and has a trendy brewery called Little Creatures.
The other spot my friends and I also frequent is Cottesloe Beach. The spot is a well-know surfing location for the locals with the waves cresting beautifully off the jetty (unfortunately, I’m not quite good enough to catch the waves here). The beach has a long stretch of white sand, and we try to come here every Friday afternoon. Though dodgy (that’s Australian for “sketchy”) at first, the weather has been fairly nice after our first few weeks of rain – it was a little hard leaving the American summer to come to cooler weather. Also, for all the Heath Ledger fans out there, his ashes were spread on Cottesloe beach.
Other highlights have included attending a rugby game versus South Africa, and also going to a couple of “footy” games. Australian football is a joy to watch and is best described as a mix between soccer and rugby with American football field goals. We also traveled on a winery tour around the Swan River Valley where we sampled local wines and even visited a chocolate factory.
Classes have been going fairly well. Each individual class only meets once a week, so it has taken a little getting used to not returning back to a class for six days. I’m taking International Relations in the Asia Pacific, Media and Indigenous Issues, Managerial Finance, and Financial Instruments and Markets. My finance classes have been challenging due to the contrasting teaching styles. We do not use financial calculators here, and part of our class is taught by foreign graduate students. Though I enjoy my classes, sometimes I find myself missing my SMU professors.
Well, that’s all for now. I hope I’ve been able to give you a slight glimpse into my adventures and experiences while studying abroad. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have.
Take care and God Bless,