Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Reason and Overview for this blog

Hello family and friends,

I made this blog in order to keep everyone updated on my adventures in Australia! Since communication will be very limited (due to expenses), I felt this would be an easier way to give everyone an overview of what will be happening while I am away. This is my first time blogging so I am not sure if this form of communication will stay consistent. 

Most of you may know that it has been a goal of mine to study one semester in another country while I am in college. I did get the opportunity to spend a month in Europe visiting historical Holocaust sights with a group of Elon students, but that was only for a short amount of time. I will be spending my time in Australia for most of July to the mid November (about 5 months). This will be the longest I have been away from family and friends. Why would I pick Australia out of all countries? For my major and minor, I did not have an abundant amount of options when it came to study abroad. Australia was one of the options I had, but the biggest reason I decided on Australia compared to my other choices was because Australia is on my list of countries I want to visit. I have heard only amazing things about Australia (minus the large bugs and poisonous snakes). This includes how sunny and how beautiful the beaches are as well as the amazing people.

Here is a bit of information about where I will be. I will be living at the University of Sunshine Coast in off campus housing. Demographically, Sunshine Coast is located in northeast Queensland, a 14-hour drive north from Sydney, a 19-hour drive north from Melbourne and a 30-minute drive north from the Australian Zoo where Steve Irwin worked. The University of the Sunshine Coast is located fifteen minutes (driving) from Mooloolaba beach. The great barrier reef ends in Bundaberg Queensland which is North of the Sunshine coast, making the University of the Sunshine Coast only a four hour drive to the number 1 largest reef in the world. Since I will be there between July and November, this would be considered Australia’s winter. Temperatures will be between 45ºF and 72ºF, which is not to warm but not to cold. From the amount of research I have done on my location, University of the Sunshine Coast will be a bit like Elon University’s campus where it is not located in a city and driving and biking is the best way to get to places. I might be living in a similar life style to North Carolina, but I will still be in a different setting that will take a bit of time to get comfortable with.

There is a lot out of this experience that I would like to take but I have compiled a list of fun activities and tasks that I wish to complete while I am in Australia. This list is based off of priority!
·      Visit my cousin Lindsey in Melbourne
·      Scuba dive in the great barrier reef
·      Catch at least one wave surfing while I am there
·      Visit the Australian zoo and get a picture with the statue of Steve Irwin and his family (he was my childhood hero shut up!)
·      Take a trip to Fiji
·      Take a trip to New Zealand
·      Learn better eating habits
·      Try vegemite while I am there
·      See what different foods I can try while I am there
·      Hold a koala (yes I know they are a bit mean!)
·      Ride a sea turtle
·      Cage dive with sharks (because I am nuts!)
I might not be able to do everything on the list but it would be great to cross off some of these tasks while I am there. Some are more realistic than others but it does not hurt to throw in a few crazy tasks. Since I will be located in the Eastern Hemisphere, I want to take every travel opportunity I can get hence why I added traveling to Fiji and New Zealand to the list. Visiting my cousin is my number one priority because I never get to see her and would love to spend a longer amount of time with her than normal. For the scuba diving and surfing, I have a scuba certification and I know how to surf a little. My fascination with Australian surfing and the Great Barrier Reef are the reasons why I learned these skills. This opportunity might be my only chance to accomplish these tasks. I have a lot of reasons why some of these tasks are on my list but I would rather not go into that much detail.

I will add some times to when I am available to talk once I figure out what my schedule is. I will most likely use Skype and Facetime for video chatting, and iMessage, viber and whatsapp for messaging and calls when I have internet.

To end this, all I can say is, that I am excited and nervous to start a new adventure and meet new people. Though being this far away from home will be different than being in North Carolina, I think it will be an amazing experience. I hope to give a good description of my adventures to all my friends and family so I do not have to repeat myself when I come back 

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