I didn't do much today because webail and the cool site weren't accessible from school, so I spent a lot f my time finding communities to join plus reading journals etc. I made a suggestion about downloading comments which had already been suggested, damn, and hopefully will get it iplemented. I think lj is damned if they do, damned if they don't kind of thing. If they implement saving of comments, it'll load the database. If they don't, someone'll code something that will work.
Not much Else is happening, I've got some stuff to continue downloading tonight, and will read my friends page which is getting harder to slog through, happily, these days. In the mean time and until next time, Here's y article I wrote for the Study Abroad Student Associatin in Arkansas. They don't know about the beer part, but hey, it's cool anyway.
There are many things I remember about Australia, some touristy, some mundane and some downright one-of-a-kind.
I remember kukaburras waking me up at five-thirty in the morning, too early to be getting up on a school (uni) day. I also remember the late evenings in which we’d notice kangaroos bounding across the road and koalas hidden away in gum trees.
I remember the clickety-clack of train rails as I spiraled up the great dividing range to the interior of New South Wales the slow drawl of those on the train so curious of me and America. “You’re from Arkansas? Where’s that mate?” I’d always say, “It’s near Texas, do you know where that is?
I remember the smooth cool flavour of Aussie beer drank at the pub and during fun times with my mates. I also remember watching people much like myself, studying abroad Americans, who’d avail themselves of Aussie beer too. Some, most I should say would over avail themselves like the guy one day who got so drunk at the dining hall that he decided it’d be a neat idea to pour the whole sugar container down his throat. The sugar didn’t stay down too long. “Ah, my fellow countrymen,” I’d say to myself.
My fellow countrymen. How can I define it? How was my study abroad experience so much different from some, or was it?
I spent three semesters studying at the university of Newcastle, located just north of Sydney 100 miles in a city of about 500000 people. I lived on campus which added to my experience immensely. I was able to meet new people, and generally reek havoc around the place.
On first inspection studying abroad in litteral terms should involve studying: poring over uni materials in the late nights, going to lectures, and of course experiencing local life, abroad.
On second inspection and careful pondering; sure, you do study, you go to lectures, you do your assignments. But experiencing being abroad, experiencing what it’s like to be 12000 miles away from home and the life I knew, was the basis of the majority of my odyssey.
I spent much of my time with the “locals”. They showed me the ways of Australia. They told me the tales of the land like the legend of the “drop” bear, a mythical creature which is like a vicious koala that pounces on unsuspecting tourists and KILLS them. In only talking to the Aussies you could change the story if you saw fit like “Drop bears usually pounce on those who did I find out that by putting a dab of toothpaste on my collar it would stave off a drop bear attack. I never believed a word, but loved to tell the story to new Americans that would move into our college (dorm) every semester. “is it true, is it really true?” “why yes, so make sure when you go to the Wild Life Park today that you bring some toothpaste because I’ve heard those things can be nasty. See this scar on my leg?” They’d gasp because I really do have scars on my leg, and though I never found out if they actually brought toothpaste, I loved to tease them with my local knowledge.
If there was a moral to the whole study abroad experience that I gleened from the many late nights I spent not studying but conversing, if there was something I could tell anyone going anywhere on a study abroad adventure I would say this. No matter how scary it may seem, no matter how hard it would appear, it’s so much more fun, so much more mind opening, if you make friends with those who live where you are.
The advantages are limitless. For one thing, as I’ve outlined some of the fun things and fun experiences that I had while with my friends. If I told everything, I would have to write a book probably.
Mostly though, my adventure was so wonderful, that I’m sure to go back some day, I’d even like to live there some day. If I hadn’t made those friends, spent hours talking and not studying, cursed myself at five-thirty as the loud wildlife was my natural alarm clock, I wouldn’t have places in most every town in Australia to stay, “anytime”. I also wouldn’t have friends to spend lots of money on shipping candy from the states to the. And ultimately, I wouldn’t be able to say that I’d had such a wonderful time “studying” abroad.