Study Abroad - Australia

My Roommate from Tassie

Posted on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 @ 12:50 PM

by Nicole Porras

Nicole_LaurenMy roommate, Lauren, is from the beautiful city of Hobart, Tasmania. (See photo below.) Although I have only seen her home on Google maps, I am looking forward to going to visit her home and explore Tasmania right after our final exams.

When I moved into RMIT Village I had an American roommate, also from New York. But lucky for me, I met Lauren, we quickly became friends and decided to move in together. I personally think that living with someone not from your home country is a great way to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people.

I highly recommend anyone staying at RMIT village in the future to request an Australian roommate because it is pretty common for them to pair study abroad and exchange students as roommates. But of course, if you're looking to make more American friends, that is fine too! It’s all about what you are comfortable with and what you want out of your Australian experience.

So… as I was saying, I am really excited about visiting Tasmania. We plan on going to scenic places such as Wineglass Bay, Russell Falls, the Bay of Fires and more. Tassie is filled with so much natural beauty and wilderness.

Nicole_Lauren_1Even more excitingly though, I am really looking forward to some of her families home cooked meals. She is always telling me how her dad grows his own herbs and vegetables in the garden, goes fishing for his own fish and even goes diving for his own clams for meals.

I find this so amazing. Who goes diving for their own clams?! I love that. I can only image how deliciously fresh and tasty their meals must be. I have seen some pictures of their dinners and it just makes my mouth water every time. I’m sure Tassie will be an adventure to remember!

And in more good news, Lauren is planning to study abroad in America next year and we are currently looking at schools for her to attend. A big, “YAY” to new friends, and exploring new places. (A photo of Hobart, Tasmania is below!)

Hobart_Tasmania

Tags: study abroad, Australia, RMIT, LIM College student, roommate

Quick Trip to Sydney

Posted on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 @ 12:27 PM

by Alyxis Flaggs

Sydney_BeachThis weekend will be my first official trip outside of Victoria, aka the state. We got pretty cheap tickets to Sydney for the weekend so we are off to explore that lovely city.

Our flight left at the crack of dawn on Friday morning. I got back from Uni on Thursday and did some homework and then the next thing I knew it was already time to head to the airport. It was about an hour flight, but it felt forever…probably because I hadn’t slept the night before.

After we landed, we were off to Nicole’s cousin’s house. Her cousin, which she had never met, was gracious enough to allow four strangers stay in her house. She lived in Tempe, which was about 20 minutes outside of the city, which was great. We settled in and then we were off to explore.

Alyxis_Sydney_Opera_House

Nicole’s cousin was kind enough to give us a tour of pretty much every beach. We went to Botany Bay, Marboura Cogee, Bronte and Bondi beach. It was absolutely breathtaking. We even saw a dolphin at Marboura. We definitely would not have been able to see all of those beaches without having a “tour guide”, which was completely free! I was super so excited to go to Bondi beach and take a picture with the famous lifeguards from the TV show. 

After all of that, we went to the Botanical Gardens to see the Opera House at sunset, which was absolutely magnificent. I of course had a photo-shoot there.

By now it was about time for dinner, so we headed back to Carmenia’s house (Nicole’s cousin), to have dinner on the table waiting for us! It was soooo nice to have a home cooked meal!

Sydney_Opera_House1

The next two days were jammed pack with exploring. We took a ferry to Manly Beach where we were able to get great views of the city from the water. We of course explored the city and walked around and we even went to Chinatown and saw and did tons more!

Although were there until Monday morning there was so much more I wanted to see. So I will definitely will be back to Sydney… especially since I prefer it to Melbourne, but don’t tell anyone!

Tags: study abroad, RMIT, Sydney, LIM College student

Visiting Kangaroos and Koalas

Posted on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 @ 01:34 PM

by Nicole Porras

Nicole_KangarooToday, we finally got to check off seeing kangaroos from our to-do list! Even better, we got to feed them!

We visited the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park and were able to get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures. As excited as we were to feed them, we were also very nervous to get close to them at first. We’ve all seen that YouTube video of a kangaroo boxing and kicking so we know how powerful they can be. However, these kangaroos were nice and gentle.

We had to walk into their habitat in the forest, hold our hands up with some food and hope that they wouldn't kick us. Luckily, none of us got kicked or hurt and it was a beautiful experience. There were some really large kangaroos and even some joeys and baby wallabies.

Nicole_Koala

Australians have told us that kangaroos are as common as deer, and they have to be careful not to hit them while driving as they are known to run across the roads. They even have to shoo them away from their crops and farmland sometimes so that they don't mess them up. We don’t see any kangaroo’s running around where we live here in Melbourne, but that’s just because it’s very urban.

At the Moonlit Sanctuary we also saw some very adorable koala bears. Although we were allowed to touch their backs and feel their fur, we were not allowed to carry them. The woman who works at the sanctuary told us that it is a state law and that unfortunately, people are only allowed to carry koala’s in the state of Queensland. Although I wanted to give that cute koala a nice big hug, a picture was going to have to do for now.

Tags: study abroad, Australia, RMIT, LIM College student, kangaroos

Hangin' Loose

Posted on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 @ 01:07 PM

by Alyxis Flaggs

Hanging_LooseToday definitely was not an ordinary Friday! Surfing was on the agenda for this RMIT trip.

I was initially pretty calm but then everyone was asking if I was nervous. And of course then I became very nervous about drowning, sharks and embarrassing myself.

It was about a two hour drive to Angelsea Beach from Melbourne, which gave me plenty of time to relax before our adventurous day.

First, we went to a surf shop to meet the instructors and get our wet suits. Then we were off to the beach to catch some waves.

It was pretty weird how we had to change into our wet suits on the side of the road, but thank goodness it wasn’t a busy road. Now that we had on all of our gear we were one step closer into getting in the water.

We picked up our surfboards, which were surprisingly heavy and walked down the stairs to the beach. So now it was time to get ready to surf!

We started off by introducing ourselves to our three instructors, Lucas, Ry and Scott. Then it was on to the important stuff, like things we should avoid, such rip curls and rocks and what to do if there was an emergency. Now that we were aware of everything we should not do, we learned what we should do and how we should do it.

Surfing_ShotWe then did some yoga stretches to loosen up our muscles and were taught how to paddle and jump into a quick stance. We did this about three times and then we were finally into the water.

The tide was surprisingly strong that day, and it all seemed pretty difficult, especially for beginners. The instructors were really helpful and motivating, and it was so refreshing how they remembered everyone’s name!

After about 30 minutes I was exhausted but I was determined to catch a wave! After trying forever I finally stood up…but only for like five seconds, but it still counts!

My hair was completely ruined, and I’m pretty sure that I drank half of the ocean but it was completely worth it! To say that I learned how to surf in Australia is something worth bragging about!

Tags: study abroad, Australia, RMIT, LIM College student, Surfing

So you wanna live in Melbourne?

Posted on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 @ 03:06 PM

by Nicole Porras

Nicole_MelbourneMelbourne, Australia was named the world’s most livable city in the world and I can see why. I have already become so comfortable and familiar with this city and it has truly become my second home. But if you want to live in Melbourne there are some things you should know.

Melbourne main form of public transportation is a tram system. What’s important to know is that you need something called a “Myki” (similar to a Metrocard) to ride the tram if you are not in the free tram zone.

Unfortunately, RMIT Village is located one stop out of the free tram zone, so we villagers need a Myki to get into the city where our school is located, that is, if we don't feel like walking.

A Myki can be purchases at a local 7/11 store and, trust me, there is a 7/11 on almost every corner. However, even better advice is to wait until orientation when students are given transporation forms. Then, just pick up your concession (discounted) Myki from Melbourne's Central Station.

With a concession (discounted) Myki, not only does the card itself cost less, but each tram ride is also discounted. Melbourne also offers concession (discounted) prices at various places like zoos, museums and movie theaters.

Another important thing to know is that unless you have an international phone plan, you're going to have to buy a SIM card, or purchase a phone while you are here. I decided to get a SIM card to put into my iPhone. I simply popped into a Vodaphone shop, bought a SIM card, chose the amount of gigs that I wanted and just like that I had an Australian number. There are other carriers that my friends use such as Telstra or Yes, Optus.

I haven’t had any problems with my data or carrier so I think I made a good choice with Vodaphone. Another good thing to know is that if you choose to stay at RMIT Village and purchase the “Exchange Package” when choosing your room then you are given a certain amount of Wi-Fi that you can use each month. There is also free Wi-Fi in the study lounge here at RMIT Village. Oh, the glory of Free Wi-Fi!

Tags: study abroad, Australia, RMIT, Melbourne, LIM College student, public transportation

A Beach Day in Brighton

Posted on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 @ 03:52 PM

by Alyxis Flaggs

Brighton_BeachLately, I’ve been trying to “soak up all the sun” as possible these last few really hot days of summer before the weather changes. On Saturday we all decided to venture out to Brighton Beach to the iconic Bathing Boxes.

We woke up packed our lunch and had the esky (the Australian word for cooler) all packed with drinks and took the tram to the train station, and then took a train directly to the beach. It is so convenient how the trains go pretty much everywhere in Melbourne, which is great for exploring on the weekends.

When we get there I can smell the salt water and automatically think of summer vacations with my family. As we head over to the sand we find the perfect spot and set up for the day.

By that point it’s around 1:30 and it is blazing hot outside! (114 degrees to be exact.) I literally felt that I was melting, yet it was so beautiful. 

Brighton_Beach_Alyxis

After laying out for a while and continuously going in the water attempting to cool down, we headed down the beach to go to the Bathing Boxes. 

The Bathing Boxes are like sheds on the beach but way fancier. There are 82 at Brighton and they are all pretty unique. Some people even rent them out and have lawn furniture in front of them and it is the perfect place to escape the sun for a few hours on a really hot day like today, or they are just used as decoration. Either way they’re pretty cool.

They're painted in all different colors and designs, and there was even one that resembled the Australian flag! Sadly, there were way too many people by that box I was not able to get a good picture, but it was really cool.

Tags: study abroad, Australia, Melbourne, Brighton Beach, LIM College student

Mid-Semester Break in Cairns, Australia

Posted on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 @ 04:02 PM

by Nicole Porras

MinjinFor our mid-semester break from RMIT, we wanted to spend it somewhere warm and relaxing, so we decided to go Cairns, Australia, also known as, the doorway to the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns is located in Queensland, a northern state of Australia.

My friends and I had a lot of activities that we wanted to do while in Cairns so we tried to keep the costs as low as we could when it came to the flight and the accommodation.

We flew Tiger Air, but it was definitely not as comfortable as Qantas or Virgin Australia, and we were only allowed one small carry-on bag, but we didn’t expect much given the low price we paid.

The hostel was also a very interesting experience because none of us have ever stayed in one before. Although it was clean and I felt safe staying there, I think for the next trip we will invest in staying in a hotel room.

Cairn_NicoleWhile we were in Cairns we visited the famous Esplanade Lagoon. (See photo below!) From a distance it looks like an infinity pool, going into the ocean. Although it was a little crowded, it was still beautiful and scenic.

Besides the Lagoon, we did other fun things like snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, riding the Skyrail over the rainforest, taking a tour of the rainforest and learning about the Indigenous people of Australia, and riding the Minjin Swing through the jungle.

I highly recommend snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. That was one of my favorite parts of the trip. I even saw little “Nemos” or clown fish to be exact.

It was definitely a city that left me feeling adventurous and in touch with nature. It made me think about wanting to skydive or even go bungee jumping as Cairns is the city known for these types of crazy adventures. But then I remembered I might faint or have a heart attack, and all was right with the world again. We are back home in Melbourne now, safe and sound. Back to Uni life and colder weather!Lagoon

Tags: study abroad, RMIT, LIM College student, cairns, melbo

 O-Week at RMIT Village

Posted on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 @ 01:01 PM

by Alxyis Flaggs

OchellaNow that I am all settled into RMIT Village, it’s great! My roommate finally came, and she’s super cool. Her name is Chelsea and she goes to Rutgers in New Jersey. I was hoping to have a foreign roommate, but she’s great and we have so much in common!

I also started to decorate my side of the room, which makes it a lot cozier now. I definitely advise anyone studying aboard to pack pictures of your friends and family, it makes you feel more at home…if that’s possible.

Any who, this week will kick off O-Week at RMIT Village, which is just a cool name for orientation week.  This year’s theme is "Coachella" so that should be pretty fun. It’s so funny how an American festival is a party theme all the way across the world in Australia. So pretty much O-week consists of five days of events to kick of the school year before classes start.

Ochella_1

Monday’s was the “Welcome Party BBQ” and then there was “Gender Bender Speed Dating”. I’m not the most outgoing person but I feel that Australia just brings me out of my comfort zone, which I am slowly starting to accept.

The “Gender Bender Speed Dating” consisted of the girls dressing up as guys and the other way around for guys, and then you just talk for a little. Just like speed dating but as the opposite sex, this definitely took me out of my comfort zone, but I really enjoyed it and had a great time! I can’t wait to see what this week has in store with all the different events and I can’t to meet more people!

Tags: study abroad, orientation, Australia, Melbourne, LIM College student, RMIT Village

Learning to Surf

Posted on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 @ 11:26 AM

by Nicole Porras

Nicole_Alyxis_Surfing-1Learning to surf was probably one of the coolest, most fun things I have ever done in my life. Before coming to Australia I knew that surfing was something I had to learn to do while I was here because, not only would it make for an awesome story, but it is a country known for its surf culture.

Back at home a lot of people advised me to think twice about this idea because of the dangerous waters of Australia (sharks, jellyfish, stingrays, etc.) However, I am so glad that I did decide to do it despite my fears of what may lurk in the water.

First, Alyxis and I signed up for the “Learn to Surf” trip through RMIT Link, a program through RMIT University that sets up various discounted trips for students. We went to Anglesea Beach, which is very close to the Great Ocean Road, where we met our surf instructors.

Nicole_SurfThey taught us some safety tips, and how to properly get up on a surf board. Within minutes, we were in the water with the instructors trying to catch some waves. It took many, many tries but I finally stood up on the board and felt what it was like to surf. The water was nice and warm and the waves weren’t too big or too scary. It also made me feel safe that we all relatively stayed within the same area of the water, especially since it was my first time surfing.

After surfing we all sat around and had lunch and enjoyed the beautiful scenery around us. It was definitely a day that I will never forget. I am officially addicted to surfing now. I can’t wait to go again and practice some more. I already told my parents that I wanted to buy my own surf board when I got back home as well, HAHA!

Tags: study abroad, Australia, LIM College student, Surfing

Aussie Phrases/Words/Lingo

Posted on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 @ 06:23 PM

by Nicole Porras

CrispsAustralia, is a country known for shortening almost all of their words and for using phrases that pretty much only make sense to Aussie’s. I am almost halfway done with my trip, and I have already encountered so many phrases and words that I was not use to prior to coming to Australia.

Below I have listed a couple of Aussie phrases that I have already encountered while studying abroad and how they translate to us Americans. 

How ya' goin? = How are you? 

G’day = Hello 

Mates = Friends

Thong_cake

Good on ya' = Good job or good for you

Fortnight = 14 days, or 2 weeks

Capsicum = Peppers

Coriander = Cilantro

Avo = Avocado 

Arvo = Afternoon

Woop-woop = middle of no where

Thongs = Flip-Flops

The boot = The trunk of the car

I’m pissed = I’m drunk

Brekkie = Breakfast

Tea = sometimes used to refer to dinner time 

Biscuits

Chips = French Fries

Rubbish bin = Garbage Can

Biscuits = Cookies

Crisps = Chips

Measly = Granola

Keen = Excited

Cheers = Thank you

No worries = You're welcome

Heaps = Tons or a lot

Do ya' reckon? = Do you think?

Chips

I’m sure there are so many more that I can’t think of at the moment, but some good advice if you are planning to study abroad in Australia would be to go on YouTube, and on the internet and start familiarizing yourself with the Aussie lingo. That’s what I did prior to coming here, and it really helped prepare me for all the new terms and words. I hope to go back to America using some of the awesome new words and phrases I’ve learned since I’ve been here. I love Aussie English! 

Tags: study abroad, Australia, RMIT, Melbourne, lingo

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