Friday, September 7, 2012

backward flushing toilets

Today, it is so nice and sunny outside! In fact, I am sitting here on my balcony [yes, you read that right - if your flat is on the second floor you get two balconies! LOVE IT!] basking in the warmth. With the start of spring there has been rain, hail, wind, sun, and heat in mixed amounts. So I have taken it upon myself to be outside whenever I can. Unfortunately, computer screens are a bit more difficult to read in the day light - and I really do need to get some research done and written. Humph.

Tomorrow, a group of exchange students here at Murdoch are headed to Point Walter, which is a park by the Swan River [home of the black swans] about 30-45 minutes away. I am super excited for that, as I have heard rumors that there will be cliff jumping opportunities - and I am definitely down for some adrenaline!

More specifically, though, I wanted to share with you my average week - as I have noticed that I have not actually done that yet. I think first it is important to realize that as many cool things I've done to explore Perth and the surrounding area, I have probably done double the number of things which are average every day things. For those of you reading this blog in contemplation of studying abroad, remember that. You are here to discover an entirely different world, to let go of what you know and become someone better, to take risks, and to have a good time. But also, you are here on an University exchange program. You - or at least I - came here to take classes and live on a different campus, not to be a long term tourist. That, of course, is not to disregard the daily reminders that I am here, like backward flushing toilets, funny sounding birds, and sayings like "good on ya."  Just something to think about - I feel the actual daily routine of things gets lost when people say that study abroad is an amazing and life altering experience.

Cool. So, my school week:
Monday: I wake up, sometime between 7:04 and 9:36, though usually 8:29. I might be headed to work for a few hours or walking to the grocery store. At 2pm I go to a CIEE class (as opposed to a unit run through Murdoch) were we learn how to observe our own culture and understand Australian values. We then have afternoon tea wherein class members bring in snacks such as cheese & Vegemite rolls, triple chocolate brownies, and lamingtons
Tuesday: I don't have class so if I don't have work scheduled I usually find my way into Perth to work at the Parliament library on my internship research. I have been asked to observe the benefits of increasing the loan book of a lending agency designed to provide first time homeowners from low to moderate income levels assistance on down payments. It is a really cool issue, though it turns out very little work has been done recently in regards to the benefits of home ownership policies and shared equity schemes.
Wednesday: I have a Murdoch unit, Politics and the Media, from 12:30-3:30. This class is super interesting, because we are given the opportunity to look at media representations around us and decipher what it means about our politics and thus about our world. Very theoretical.
Thursday: My weekend begins after my internship lecture at noon. In this class we mostly talk about our different projects, the progress we are making, and how overwhelmed we are by the prospect of writing a 8,000 essay by the end of the semester. In this unit, I think, I have made the most friends.
Friday: I usually drag myself out of bed for some free pancakes at 9am. I then pretend to do homework (as I am doing now) or I go exploring - on walks to neighborhood parks or out to Freo and the beach. :)

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