Sunday, July 25, 2010

Week 2: Brisbane and Sunshine Coast!

I promised I'd upload the picture of the Koala! 

This past week has been amazing! My roommates and I have officially settled into our pretty apartment and are all starting to become more accustomed to the Brisbane area. I live in South Bank which is a really nice area of the city. You can see the entire city from the South Bank and if you just cross the nearby bridge you're downtown. I've had the chance to go on 3 mile jogs right around the harbor/city area which makes running that much better!
All of my roommates are from all over America minus my friend from Columbia. They're pretty cool roommates :)

Since we are starting school this week, we had a free week to explore all of Brisbane. I love to go the West End area where I buy all my fresh fruit and veggies. Not too far is a grocery store and several other shops. We go into the city almost everyday since it is so close. There are always things going on downtown. My friends and I go out almost every night. There are several fun clubs/bars that cater to students, which has been a fun way to meet everyone. This past week was my roommate's birthday. Which we celebrated very well.  I'm not sure if I've ever been out this many nights at a time... hehe
Also, orientation was this past week. Tomorrow will be the first day at Uni. The University of Queensland is absolutely beautiful (pictures to come). It looks different than any campus I've ever seen. I'm excited to start classes and have a routine. I'm taking a lighter load which will be nice while here in Brisbane.
Lastly, my friend Alejandra and I just got back today from spending the weekend at the Sunshine Coast (a.k.a. the beach). It's basically like a Miami, but obviously cooler. The beach was gorgeous even though it wasn't warm enough to swim. Once Spring begins in a month or so, we'll definitely be going back to the beach often to hit the waves. The Sunshine Coast is a popular spot to go to on weekends here in Brisbane. The nightlife there is also something. It reminds me a lot of Vegas. There are a lot of interesting people walking around and just craziness everywhere.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Week 1: Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef

My adventure began last Sunday when I arrived at Cairns. Before going to Brisbane (where I'm studying) I had the opportunity to go to Cairns with the program I am going through. We stayed at a hostel which was definitely an interesting new experience. This one, in particular, was pretty nice. Once we got settled we went to this place called "Rainforeststation." There, we were shown various things that are native to Australia. First, I got to hold a koala! He was absolutely adorable. I also got the opportunity to pet kangaroos and hold a snake. It was pretty terrifying but awesome. We watched an aboriginal Australian dance performance and afterwards, the aboriginal people taught us all how to throw boomerangs.

The next few days I got the chance to white water raft through the rainforest. It was an adrenaline rush! Later on I learned to play Cricket back at the hostel which was super fun.
As the week came to an end, our entire group took a boat out to the Great Barrier Reef. There I got the chance to snorkel and scuba dive. The Great Barrier Reef is absolutely breathtaking. The pictures I often saw within books became real underwater. I was lucky enough to spot a huge sea turtle. I even got to touch its shell. I spotted a sting ray, eel, cucumber fish, many large fish, and Nemo. No matter how cheesy this all sounds it was truly unreal.  

There was definitely time at night to go out to the various bars around the downtown area. Australians definitely know how to have a good time :)

Today I left Cairns and just moved into my apartment. My apartment is right near the downtown area in the city and not too far from campus. It will be fun to take a boat to campus everyday across the river. Classes don't start for another week and a half, so a few friends and I might travel to the Gold Coast to sight see more.
I'm starting to feel more comfortable here and I am very excited for whatever is next to come!