Study Abroad - Australia

Did Somebody Say Sydney?

Posted on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 @ 01:41 PM

by Danielle Infantino

Sydney_Harbor_Bridge_Danielle.jpg

 

Mid-semester break is finally here, and with almost a week of no classes, it was the perfect opportunity to head to one of the largest cities in Australia.

When I first arrived in Sydney, I wanted to start exploring as soon as possible considering I only had three days here. From the airport, my friends and I headed straight to our hostel, which was called “The Original Backpackers.” I had never stayed in a hostel before, so this was a new experience.

If I could give any advice to future Aussie travelers, or those traveling in other parts of the world, I would say: 

  1. You might be staying in a room with people you don’t know, so be prepared!
  2. Make sure you leave all real valuables at home.
  3. Pack light.
  4. Be open and meet new people.

After getting to our room, we immediately dropped our bags and started exploring the city. Our first destination was the extremely popular and beautiful Bondi Beach. 

The drive to the beach had to be one of my favorites so far. I was able to watch the people and see how the city turned into a beach town as we got closer. I also noticed an abundant amount of Italian-themed restaurants and shops, which reminded me a bit of home.

Pool_Bondi_Beach.jpgGoing to the beach has always been one of my favorite things to do. When I first saw the beach, I honestly didn’t think that it was real.

Not only was the beach just so stunning and the water so blue, but there was a section of the beach that had a pool. Waves coming in from the ocean flowed in to fill the pool. I have never seen anything like it, and didn’t even know something like that could even exist.

We wanted to have the full Australian beach experience, (Our friends back at the village suggested.), so we stopped for lunch and had some Fish n’ Chips at a small shack, called “The Bucket List.” (Just a tad ironic.)

One of the top things on my bucket list is to visit the Sydney Opera House, and with this trip, I knew I’d be able to cross that off the list.

Beach_Danielle.jpgThe receptionist at the hostel suggested a route that allowed us to walk and see more of the city. We started the day super early, grabbing breakfast and then embarking on this forty-five-minute walk.

After spending the morning being super touristy, we wanted to take a walk over the Sydney Harbor Bridge. As we walked across the bridge, almost halfway, there was a spot where you could look out at the entire harbor. I was hesitant at first, because I have a terrible fear of heights, but I knew that this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

After climbing about 16 flights of stairs, I made it to the top to see this outstanding view. Then I immediately knew I did not regret my decision.

Overall on this trip to Sydney, I learned that you can’t let anything stop you from doing these once in a lifetime opportunities!

Tags: RMIT, Sydney, Sydney Harbor Bridge, Bondi Beach

Uni Life, Food & The RMIT Village

Posted on Wed, Mar 09, 2016 @ 01:05 PM

by Danielle Infantino

Danielle_Australia.jpgThe sound of taxi cabs, and police sirens blaring down the city streets at 7 am…it is safe to say that doesn’t exist here. Instead its absolute quiet. It's so peaceful that you might even find birds on your balcony (which of course you would then have to chase out your room.)

My mornings here in beautiful Melbourne start pretty early because of “Uni” (what they refer to as University). In regards toUni Life, classes here are completely different from those at LIM.

Instead of about twenty students in a lecture, there are usually ninety and sometimes more. Following our lectures, we are required to take Tutorials or tuts, which are made up of a smaller class and require group work and a final project.  

One of the perks of studying abroad, is you that get to take your electives. You can take classes that you would not necessarily be able to take at LIM, which is something to take full advantage of. Some of the classes I am taking here are Introduction to Advertising, as well as Introduction to Australian Society and Culture.

AWaffle.jpgfter a day at Uni, usually my friends and I will find some cool places to get lunch which allows us to to explore the city more. I have been able to check out some really good burger places like Grand Trailer Park Taverna. I have also come across a couple cafés which I will be going back to soon, called Seven Seeds and Naughty Boy.

The food here is very diverse, which is a cool way to experience the culture. I have learned to order things I normally wouldn’t, and thus far, I have not been disappointed.

Of course, one of the best parts is being able to learn all the different Aussie food slang, for instance some of my favorite to hear are:Australia_Ice_Cream.jpg

Chips - Fries

Barbie -Barbecue

Greasies - Any type of fried food

Tomato Sauce – ketchup

Fairy Floss – Cotton Candy

Maccas- McDonalds

Once the Melbourne heat gets too much, and believe me since it is summer here, it gets really hot, I head back to the RMIT Village.

RMIT_Pool.jpgStaying here was one of the best choices I made. I am able to be around other students who go to RMIT and the University of Melbourne. The environment at the village feels like one big family, everybody seems to know everybody and everybody looks out for each other. Which I also feel accurately reflects the Australian culture. 

I know that the village is supposed to be a student dorm, but it feels much more like a vacation spot. But, I swear I’m getting all of my school work done first. The village is made up of a large study lounge, laundry rooms, balconies, a glass house with a pool table and table tennis, a larger kitchen, (in addition to your own kitchen in your room) a small café, a lounge room (perfect for movie nights), and did I mention a heated pool?

Needless to say, I can officially say I think I have settled I pretty well in Melbourne. I have been getting used to the area, and even planned some trips outside of this city!

Until Next time!

Cheers!

Tags: Australia, Melbourne, RMIT Village, electives

Welcome to Australia... (It's Been Waiting For You)

Posted on Wed, Feb 24, 2016 @ 02:55 PM

by Danielle Infantino

LIM_in_Australia.jpgIt felt like the last few months have been going by so slow, but finally the last of the LIM study abroad cohort has made its way down under!

I have never left the United States before so this opportunity was a huge experience for me. To be able to go to the opposite side of the world for about five months actually seems unreal. The first couple of days in Australia have been a bit a mix of both exciting, overwhelming. From unpacking, meeting new people, exploring and trying to figure out a new city, well, an entire country.

Danielle_Australia_Beach.jpgNo doubt, there is a bit of a culture shock. The overall vibe from the people is different and it takes time to get used to. One of the first things that came to my mind was that I now know how the exchange students who attend LIM feel when they were starting new in a whole new place.

Over the course of the week I have met people from all over the world, including my roommate from Denmark as well as, India, Spain, Italy, and London. For me,  one of the coolest parts of studying abroad is being able to hear about different cultures and how they compare.

The minute I got off the plane, I knew I didn’t want to waste any time. I wanted to start exploring and see what it has to offer. After unpacking and dealing with some slight jet lag, I wanted to visit the beach and have a relaxing day to prepare for my stay here. What better way to start off our trip with visiting St. Kilda.

Water.jpg

 The beaches in Australia do not even compare to the beaches back home on Long Island. I have never seen anything more beautiful in my entire life. Some of us decided to go later on in the day where we were able to have dinner at a restaurant called Republica. The server knew we were foreign, (as he proceeded to call us “The Americans”), so he suggested a couple seating options to eat dinner so we could watch the beautiful sunset and even see some penguins when it got dark out. 

The moment I saw the sunset, I felt truly lucky that I am even able to have this opportunity to see this part of the world. I can’t even put into words how excited I am to embark on this experience and be able to share it!

Cheers!

Tags: study abroad, Australia, Melbourne

Australia: Looking Back

Posted on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 @ 02:51 PM

by Nicole Porras

Nicole_LIMWith about three weeks left in Australia, I can’t help but begin to reminisce. I am SO GLAD that I chose to come here. I have learned so much about myself and I have so much appreciation for Australia and the wonderful places I have visited.

I am grateful for the friends I came here with, and the new friends that I made while living here. If you are reading this and are thinking about studying in Australia, just know that this experience is what you make of it.

I have found so much happiness here and I truly believe that it is because I lived every day the way I wanted to. Remember that what makes YOU happy might not necessarily make someone else happy, but this adventure is about YOU, so do whatever it is your heart is set on doing.

Nicole_Great_Ocean_Road

The greatest thing that I will take with me from Australia is this easy-going attitude about life. Not to stress the little things and just enjoy every moment. To have fun and be in the moment. I liked that even people my age aren’t glued to their phones when going out. Australians care so much about being in the moment, and enjoying the company of friends.

Studying abroad in Australia has given me the opportunity to explore natural beauty, and be a bit more adventurous. I would also like to let everyone know that Australia is not full of sharks and deadly spiders. Well…it sort of is, but they’re not EVERYWHERE like people make it seem (or at least how people made it seem to me before I came).

Most of the really dangerous and big spiders are in the country or outback. I have not seen one spider throughout my entire time here in Australia (*knocks on wood*), and I have been in Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns and a small town called Corowa. I have also not encountered any sharks, but I have seen some dolphins (from a distance) and a couple of jellyfish (on the sand).

Australia has been absolutely amazing so far and as much as I miss my family and friends at home, it is going to be so hard to leave this beautiful place. I have truly had the time of my life, and all I can say is that I am grateful and incredibly happy. Australia will always have a special place in my heart.

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

Aussie Food Adventures

Posted on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 @ 02:15 PM

by Alyxis Flagg


To start off, I am a HUGE lover of food! I love to go out to eat and discover trendy restaurants. So, while studying abroad at RMIT I made sure to do just that.

Melbourne is a very diverse city and are restaurants with all different types of cuisines. There is a large population of Asian immigrants living in Australia, which is great because there are tons of Asian restaurants there! From ramen, dumplings, Japanese, Thai, to Chinese restaurants, they’ve got it all.

Australian_MexicanThey even have a Chinatown as well where you can get some great food that’s pretty cheap as well! My friends and I love to get dumplings after class at this place in Chinatown. Oh yeah…and the sushi here is amazing! It typically isn’t cut into individual rolls, so it is very easy to eat and walk!

Of course we had to find a place similar to Chipotle since my LIM friends were having withdrawal. We tried out a few fast food Mexican restaurants and settled on Mad Mex being the best! I highly recommend their nachos with shredded beef.

Staying on the subject of fast food, McDonald’s here is called Macca’s and Burger King is Hungry Jacks. The food and the quality is pretty much the same as America, so I try to avoid the two.

Belles_Hot_ChickSome of my recent food adventures includes Belle’s Hot Chick, which was amazing. It’s a fried chicken restaurant in Fitzroy, and it was very trendy. The food? Absolutely wonderful! (Let’s just say I’ve been there more than once!) 

8_bitAnother food trip was to Footscray to find 8Bit, which is also this really good burger restaurant. It was like shake shack but it’s not a chain. The bacon barbeque burger and beer-battered onion rings and loaded fries are to die for! Let’s just say that I’ve made that adventure to Footscray more than once as well.

Axel_Coffee_RoastersNow on to brunch! There are tons of cute coffee shops that have amazing brunches throughout the city. One restaurant in particular was Axel Coffee Roasters in Hawthorn. There I ordered a banana caramel waffle with popcorn on it! And yes, it was amazing!

There are so many good restaurants in Melbourne with so many different types of cuisines, I could literally go on for days about all my food adventures! Well, I hope I didn’t make you guys too hungry!


Tags: study abroad, restaurants, RMIT, Melbourne, LIM College student

Weekend in Sydney!

Posted on Wed, Aug 05, 2015 @ 03:04 PM

by Nicole Porras

Dusk_Sydney_Opera_House1While Melbourne with its art and culture is one of the coolest cities I have ever been to, there is something that felt so…RIGHT about Sydney.

It’s CBD (Central Business District), reminded me so much of NYC, and I instantly fell in love with its modernity and scenic oceanside views.

It actually turns out that I have family living there that I have never met before. My dad has a cousin who moved to Sydney a long time ago and I was never able to meet her. However, I was lucky enough to be in contact with her right before I visited Sydney and she invited me into her home. 

Her family showed me and my friends so many wonderful places like the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and so many beaches including Bondi, Manly, Bronte and more. There was so much to see in Sydney and I had so much fun exploring the city and getting to know family I had never met before. 

sydney_opera_house

I think the thing that I was so shocked (and partially jealous) of, was that my cousin and her family had beautiful, thick Australian accents. It was amazing to hear about how they grew up feeding possums in Sydney parks (because they are as common as squirrels), watching footy games, and eating meat pies, and eventually as they got older finding their love for beer, travel, and adventure. They are total Aussie’s! 

I feel like Sydney is definitely a place that I have to visit again sometime in the future. This city quickly made me feel at home and I feel so lucky to get to know my family members who were so welcoming and kind to me and my friends. I could definitely see why my dad’s cousin chose to live in Sydney. It is a place full of modern sights, and although it is a little more fast-paced than Melbourne, it is still a very relaxed and an enjoyable place to live.

Alyxis came along with me on the trip. 

Tags: study abroad, RMIT, Sydney, Melbourne, LIM College student, Sydney Opera House

The Melbourne Fashion Scene!

Posted on Wed, Aug 05, 2015 @ 02:30 PM

by Alyxis Flagg

Aussie_Op_Shop

Studying at RMIT, sometimes I feel extremely out of place when it comes to the Melbourne fashion scene. 

I typically think it’s pretty cold outside and will have on sweater and a jacket and then people will be wearing shorts and sandals. 

Yes, Melbourne typically has four seasons in a day so that may the reason. Overall, it’s just pretty difficult to decide what to wear on a daily basis. It might be pouring and then five minutes later it’s warm and sunny outside.

Besides the weather confusion, at Uni, students tend to dress up. Nobody shows up to class in their pajamas or even in sweatpants. I suppose that it’s not socially acceptable, which I guess is pretty similar at LIM.

Aussie_Shopping

That being said, after being here for a while, of course, I wanted to enhance my wardrobe with some stylish Aussie clothes, but sadly I wasn’t so successful. Why? …Because CLOTHES ARE SO EXPENSIVE! The only stores that are relatively affordable are H&M and Uniqlo.

There are tons of trendy clothing stores, but the quality is not very good and the clothes are overpriced! In Fitzroy there are tons of great boutiques that have really cool unique brands, but I simply cannot afford them! There just aren’t any stores like Forever 21 where you don’t mind paying $10 or $20 for something that's trendy for only one season.

So, I tend to shop at “Op Shops,” along with the majority of other Uni students. “Op Shops” stand for Opportunity Shops, which are similar to thrift stores. They pretty much have everything there and are super cheap. One of my friends got a blazer for $4 the other day, and it looks really nice!

Don’t get me wrong. There are great stores, and tons of wonderful boutiques. But, personally, I would rather be able to afford food for the week!

Tags: study abroad, shopping, RMIT, Melbourne, LIM College student

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!

Take a look at Nicole's blog post about our trip to Sydney.

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

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