Meghan Kl. Spr05

So I haven’t written in a while– sorry about that! I have now been in Aussie for almost 2 months. I have written one entry thus far- my sincere apologies to all! So, what shall I discuss in this entry? How about “College Life”. The equivalent, if you may call it such, of our dorms, are called Colleges. For example, I live in Women’s College. There are others who live in “Emmanuel College” or “Kings College”. Colleges are the way in which you meet people that go to your school. Many of the students live at home and commute each day to classes at Uni. The students who live in collegse, meet their “real” friends there. You eat at your college, have a computer lab in your college, obviously sleep there, collect/send your mail there and plan outings, etc… with those you live near. Your college is much like a “mini school” within Uni. For example, I live at Women’s College. We have colors, chants, cheers, even dances, all pertaining to our college. There is an ICC (Inter-collegiate cup) challenge that takes place throughout the year between colleges. The competition includes (but is not limited to): Sports (Cricket, Vollyball, AFL, Rowing, Netball, Swimming, etc…), and Social (Dancing, Theater, BandFest, Choral, Debate). Members of their respective college show up to each event fully decked out in their colors and “costumes”… Each college tries to out-do the other ones…with screaming and chants. In addition, their “mascot” is also taken to each event. The mascot is not taken lightly and student will literally tackle others in order to save their mascot and keep it safe. One fellow “Woozer” (Women’s girl) had the Mary Woozer Doll (our mascot) duct taped around her body last year at the swimming event and a Jabber (Member of John’s college) picked her up and stole her…that’s right, these attacks are very common. Anyways, in addition to competition, each college also usually comes up with a slogan for their merchandise (be it a hoody, a tank-top, a polo, shorts,etc…). This year, the Women’s College slogan is “Walk in our shoes or stand in our shadow”. As you can already guess, I live with all girls…something that I must say, I really wasn’t ready for… however, after spending almost 2 months here, I must say, I quite enjoy it. Yes, it’s like a gigantic sorority house…we must always look our best and be a good representation of the college… and yes, getting decked out in high heels, mini skirts, jewlery, hair done, make-up done, and dawning our acas (Academic gowns) for a formal dinner, every tuesday night gets a little tiresome, it’s still fun and the excitement is well worth it. The WoCo girls are truly phenomenal…they’re funny, cute and full of pep…seriously. They’ll forever do some things that I for one, just don’t understand, but what can ya do…it’s part of the culture and you must simply embrace it! Take for example- belts. Gigantic, thick, sparkly belts are in fashion right now…doesn’t matter what you wear, but if you wear a belt and high heels, you’re golden…:0) In addition, the mealtimes/methods are very interesting… you do not have the choices that Dickinson offers, by any means. The food however, is still good…it does get a little boring sometimes…for example, there is usually rice and veggies for dinner (as the sides) but the desserts are heaven-sent, the cooks are friendly and just makes you appreciate Dickinson meals that much more. There are no point-systems here, etc… you eat during the allotted times, or you are responsible for buying your own food elsewhere. People from other colleges can come eat with you, but they have to pay $6…unless it’s a girl and you can try and sneak her in…sometimes they don’t realize every girl that lives in college. Another thing- the phones are set-up so that you can “call” everyone…you can access everyone’s voicemail and leave them a messege…so yes, there are always tons of msgs coming through… They are about a wide range of activities…. everything from safety workshops to pub-crawl announcements to sports practices to where you can purchase cocktail tickets. The idea of the college system is actually reall neat. What’s even cooler is how they plan social events between colleges… for example they’ll set up a pubcrawl with three of the colleges, and the members of each college will wear their colors, so you know who lives with you and who are the other people you’re with…thus making it easier to branch out. The amount of spirit in college is what makes it truly incredible. I don’t think in my 21 years of schooling in the states (well, i guess 20 years, if you don’t count this year abroad)… I have ever seen this much spirit. I sometimes wish I could videotape it and bring it back to Dickinson so everyone could see how neat it is when the whole school is hardcore about their support…almost like the eastern part of PA during the superbowl!! Alright, I gotta get going again, but there will be more later— so much to tell!!!

After spending the past semester in Costa Rica through the School for Field Studies Program, I really didn’t know what to expect from my semester in Australia. I had never been to the “sunburnt country” but it was always a place that I one day hoped to visit. I had an absolutely amazing time in Costa Rica and believe it or not, I thought that this semseter was going to be lame and dull in comparison.
I was excited however to be traveling so far from home and with a group of Dickinson students, most of whom, I didn’t really know. Alas, as I crossed the days off of my calendar and continuously talked with new friends from the Costa Rica program, I could once again feel the butterflies of excitement in my tummy. Finally, the day came. It was an early early morning and there was snow on the ground. Some how, I managed to get all of my clothes, notebooks, shoes and other random odds and ends into two bags. Packing all the things you’ll need for a semester in two bags is very taxing.
Well anyway, I made it to the Philadelphia Airport afterall. I checked my bags all the way through to Australia…a biggggg plus!! When I got on the plane, I moved into my seat next to another guy from Dickinson whom I had been in contact with prior to departure to make arrangements for flying. As it turns out, there were about four of us on the flight together. We flew to the L.A. airport (about 5 hours). Once we got there, we really didn’t know what to do. The group concensus was that we were supposed to all meet up, but no one really knew for sure. We walked toward the gate, however we couldn’t go through yet because we had about a 6 hour lay-over. We did manage to find most of the rest of our group and we grabbed lunch and then hung out on a couple benches getting to know each other and waiting for others.
Finally, the departure time came up and we went through, although we were missing one member from our group. He eventually made it – turns out there were problems with his flight and it got delayed by a couple hours back in Maryland. Alas, we all made it onto the plane in one piece and we were all seated together- which was awesome!!
We had a 17 hour flight ahead of us… and somehow in the mist of it all, we lost a day and really didn’t technically exist, I suppose. We each had tv’s on the back of the seat in front of us and we had remote controls, which was cool because the tvs had music, tv shows, movies and games. The flight really wasn’t bad at all. We were served dinner and breakfast on the flight and the meals were actually really good. We talked with the steward a lot…he was from Australia and we explained that we were from the states and studying for a semestser. He was really nice. He gave us the names of a few places to go and then suggested drinks that we should try.
After a veryyyy long flight, we watched the sun rise over New Zealand (where we flew for a layover). We spent about and hour and a half in New Zealand’s airport. Then, we finally boarded our last plane to take us to our new home for the semester. As the plane slowly decended over Australia…we were taking pictures of the coast and land through the window and then passing our cameras to those seated in the middle section so that they could see what we were looking at- yay for group work! We landed in Australia around 8:30am local time ( our bodies felt like they had hit brick walls and like it was 5:30pm, Carlisle time). Again, we didn’t really know where to go…all we knew was that we had to go through customs and then pray that our luggage made it.
After about an hour wait, we had found every piece of luggage- talk about luck! We walked outside and Ann (our director here) greeted us with a great big smile. She had us follow her to a bus stop, where we loaded our luggage underneath and took off for the University of Queensland- it was about a 45min. drive. When we got to UQ, they drove to each college and dropped off whoever was living there. We had about an hour to move in and eat lunch at our colleges. Then we all met up at Chancellor’s Bus Stup ( a main bus stop on campus). There will be more about my college later.
So after lunch, we met up and caught a bus to TooWong…it’s about a 10minute bus ride to this little shopping mall that had a K-Mart and some other stores…so we could buy anything we had forgotten and so the two guys living in the campus lodge could buy food (they have to cook all of their meals). Prices here are mad expensive. Although it’s $1 australian to .75 cents american, it’s still pretty bad. So yes, if you study here, bring lots of money, you will need it!!! Well, I’ve got to run for now- classes. But don’t worry, there will be a lot later.
It’s absolutely beautiful here. Everyone should come visit!!