Thursday, August 30, 2012

free oh!

Being an exchange student is really cool, because CIEE, Murdoch, and locals keep offering to take us places and show us Australia.

the toilet
For instance, Paul and Kate - the CIEE directors here in Perth, took the group of us to Jus Burgers in Freo. This place had so many options of burgers, I had no idea what to pick! After learning that the pumpkin patty was stuffed with cheese (of which I am not a fan), I opted for the kangaroo burger. It was spicy, delicious, and absolutely lovely! We then disembarked to a torchlight tour of the old Fremantle Prison. Now before you get to excited, here a torch is a flashlight (not to say that a flashlight tour isn't cool...). This prison has a huge historical past as a convict jail and closed down only relatively recently after becoming a high security facility. WA, it also appears, was the last state is Australia to ban capital punishment. While I have not been to any other prison for which to compare, the showers and toilets did not look too inviting to me. Afterwords, the CIEE group got gelato - a perfect beginning to the night.

A few weekends ago we also had a chance to go to an AFL game. Footy, Australian rules football is called, is pretty impressive. Unlike our NFL, no protective gear is worn. The ball is passed with a kick or a toss that almost looks like a volleyball underhand serve. When the ball goes out of bounds, the referee throws the ball back in while facing backwards. Oh, and the field is circular and there are 4 goal posts which seem sort of Quidditch-esque. My favorite part was how fast paced the sport is - there are no time outs (rather, the "paused time" is just added on. So a quarter runs for 20 minutes but really the clock counts it out longer). Basically, it was such a sunny and exciting way to spend a Saturday afternoon. As the fourth quarter finished, Dockers fans across the stadium started cheering, Free-oooh! Freeeeee-ooooooh. Freeee-oooh. Freo! <3

Of course, CIEE is not the only program that puts on free events for us. The exchange program here at Murdoch (the responsibilities of which seem similar to Clark's OIA and Study Abroad Office) has get-togethers for the 70some exchange students here this semester. There is a buddy program where each of us is partnered with an Australian (mine is pretty cool!) and we get to attend events like pizza nights at the Tav and BBQs.

A few Thursday's ago, we were also able to go to a local sports club and learn to lawn bowl. This is yet another Australian sport. I would consider it close to bocce ball, where a small white ball is rolled out and then each person wants to get their team balls as close to the white one as possible. The trick, however, when rolling your balls (each player gets two) is to aim right or left. Rather, the ball is weighted towards one side so it will roll straight and then turn back in like the hook of a cane. Tricky, yeah?

And before this post gets too long, Murdoch Village gives us free food (and activities) too! This is the resident hall - though it is not quite like Clark RLH in that it is not actually part of Murdoch University. Alas, every Monday there are free yoga classes, Wednesday they offer a Zumba class, Thursday we can get catered soup, and Friday mornings we can get fresh pancakes. And as it is a Thursday evening, I am off to get me some tasty dinner!


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