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Journals from James Cook University, Australia

2011-07-30 The First Couple Weeks in Australia

So, here I am in Australia! It hasn’t been too hard of an adjustment with the relaxed lifestyle of the Aussies and the beautiful scenery. My only complaint is getting here. On the flight my ankles swelled up the size of balloons, and a 13-hour flight across the Pacific Ocean just isn’t so comfortable! Not to mention the other 13 hours of traveling. But it all just part of the excitement of traveling to the other side of the world. I am  living in Smithfield, just outside of the city of Cairns. I am staying in the Student Lodge, which is right next to the James Cook University, and works out quite conveniently, considering I am only a 15-minute walk from the campus. There are quite a few international students here, and I have become friends with people from Belgium, Germany, and Norway, as well as the United States. It is also quite touristy in Cairns. In fact, most of the people that I have met in the city are actually foreign, and I think I have met more foreigners than I have Australians!

The first week of classes has gone well for me. I am mainly taking classes that relate directly to Australia in order to maximize my experience and learn all I can about the country while I am here. I am excited for the class, Biodiversity of Tropical Australia, where we get to learn about local Australian plants and animals, which include the famous deadly taipan snake and the box jellyfish, which is arguably one of the most venomous creatures in the world. Field trips are planned for almost every class that I am enrolled in, which should all be invaluable experiences. We will be able to see a lot of the animals and plants firsthand (hopefully not the deadly ones!). 

My most exciting experience here so far was visiting Fitzroy Island, offered as a day trip through the school. We got to see Golden Orb spiders on our bushwalk, which are HUGE, and actually are commonly known as the bird-eating spider! Snorkeling was also a hit, where we got to swim with tons of varieties of tropical fish, and see the unique coral of Australia. It is an absolutely beautiful place, with so many things to do, you could never be bored. And nothing beats a day where you can hit the beach, work on your tan, and stick your nose into a good book!

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