In has been a week since I arrived in Melbourne. Australia has proved to be a whirlwind of new and exciting sights, friends, and even a three-day trip to Lorne!
I departed LAX to Melbourne at 11:30pm, which was nice because I slept a majority of the time. The flight took 15 hours, but it was well worth it to land on a beautiful sunny morning in Melbourne. Deakin University arranged for a shuttle to pick up all the international students arriving that morning. The shuttle took all of us to our accommodations near Deakin University in the suburb Burwood. I chose to live in the Burwood Student Village, or the “ressies”, which is Deakin’s on-campus accommodation. The student village consists of twenty stylish units housing ten students each. Every unit consists of a single bedroom for each resident, a laundry room, two bathrooms (with multiple sinks, toilets, and showers), kitchen, and living space. I am thrilled with my living choice because it is close to campus and I get a chance to live with the Aussies.
Getting over the jet-lag and adjusting to the 16-hour time difference was a bit challenging, I found myself wanting to go to bed at 7-8 in the evening and waking up anywhere from 4-6 in the morning. After arriving in Melbourne on Friday July 1st, I spent the weekend taking the trams and buses to various parts of the city with my new international friends. The public transportation along with a lot of walking has helped me get acquainted with my surroundings quickly. It is exciting to know that I can walk up the street from my housing and hop on a tram or bus that will take me anywhere in Melbourne.
The following Monday all of the international students boarded a bus, and off we went to the coastal town of Lorne! This trip was free three-day excursion for all the international students coming to Deakin. Our rooms, meals, and activities were all provided through Deakin. Lorne is a charming seaside village along the scenic Great Ocean Road about three hours west of Melbourne. Although the views of the ocean and the coastal terrain were stunning, the weather was not. I thought the winters in Australia would be mild, but along the Great Ocean Road cold winds and rains are quite common; I was glad I brought my winter jacket with me. During our stay, we were provided with activities to do like mountain biking, surfing, yoga, kayaking, and hiking. Because there were around 150 international students, we were divided into 3 different groups to take turns doing different activities. It was too cold for the water sports, but I enjoyed the mountain biking and the yoga right by the ocean. Many people told me that the surfing was an awesome experience, and I think I am going to give it a try when it’s warmer.
The Lorne trip concluded on the following Wednesday with a drive along the Great Ocean Road to see the rock formation the Twelve Apostles. During the drive we encountered a few sleepy koalas, a kangaroo, and the historical shipwreck of Loch Ard. Finally, we drove back to Melbourne and arrived back to our accommodations in the evening with just enough time to do some laundry and get a good night's rest!
My first week in Australia has been an exciting adventure full of new friends and places. I'm excited to see what Deakin classes are like, and what life is like in the Burwood Student Village. Cheers!