Same same, but different.

Hi!
Last saturday my housemates and I went to The Butterfly Club, which is a theater, to see our other housemate perform in the show “Mr Marmalade and the Catawampus Cabaret”. My housemate is working with circus and juggling but in a more artistic way than what the “regular” circus artist does, at least I think so! The performance was entertaining and the bar at the theater itself was very cosy – red lights everywhere in the room, big book shelfs stuffed with books (of course!), creepy dolls, christmas decoration here and there and old 50’s furniture. Lovely!

After the show I went to take the tram home and an australian guy came up to me and asked me something about the tram. After answering his question we started chatting and he said that he thought that I was swiss since he thought that I sounded a bit german (?). I said that I was from Sweden and he then asked me if I knew about Eurovision song contest. It’s kind of hard to avoid that contest, so I said yes and we started talking a bit about it. Apparently this guy is working as a designer and he had worked with Alexander Rybak in 2009 when he won the whole thing. The guy was telling me this as if I would have some kind of connection to Rybak, which is why I told him that I’m swedish and not norwegian. He then said that “our” flags kind of look the same – he was referring to the flag of Switzerland, which is red with a white cross, and the flag of Norway which is also red but with a blue and white cross. I told him once again that I’m swedish but I’m still not sure if he got it or not… Keeping the european countries separated seems to be a bit hard! I had a similar experience in Italy last semester – one of the kids at the center where I did my internship asked me if I spoke german and I said yes (since I have studied it). She then said that she didn’t know that people spoke german in Slovakia – she thought that I was from Slovakia and not Sweden, and that people spoke german in Slovakia. And I just thought she was curious when she asked if I spoke german… This happened all the time during my internship, people often thought that Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia and Slovakia were all the same, which I find very interesting. Sure, they all begin with an S and they are all european countries, but besides that… Apparently people mixing Sweden and Switzerland up is pretty common since a quick googling got me to this site: http://www.swedennotswitzerland.com/

Finally – Melbourne, Australia!

Hi!
For those of you who might not have read my presentation at the main site (http://blogg.mah.se/studyabroad/who-is-blogging/, you will also find the blogs of other MU-students here), I am a 25 year old student at the bachelor programme of social work at Malmö University. I will start my exchange semester at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne next week and this is my second exchange – last semester I did my internship as a social worker in Genova, Italy, which was a great experience! My current exchange will be a “regular” theoretical semester, beginning in february and ending in june.

I arrived in Melbourne a few days ago and I have already fallen in love with the city! People are friendly and social, the architecture is great (cute looking townhouses everywhere, it’s rare to see tall buildings except for in the Central Business District, CBD), the sushi is cheap and of course, the climate makes it easy not to miss the swedish winter (today it is 38 degrees…). It’s a bit strange to think about the fact that I applied for this exchange semester in march 2013 and now I’m actually here! After I sent my application and found out I was nominated for going on an exchange, several things had to be done. First of all, I had to take the TOEFL, which stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. The test measures your english level through four sections (reading, writing, listening, reading). The university I wanted to do my exchange at was Australian Catholic University and they had a score limit – therefore it is not possible to “fail” the TOEFL because the test itself doesn’t have a score which means that you haven’t failed. The limit is made by the university.

After doing my TOEFL and getting the scores in accordance with ACUs limit I had to put together an application for my host university, Australian Catholic University, as well. After doing this and accepting my place at ACU I had all of the practical issues left – applying for a student VISA including requesting documents from several swedish authorities that needed to be attached to my VISA application, applying for CSN, renting out my apartment in Malmö while I’m being away, booking the flight, finding accommodation in Melbourne and so on… In the end it all worked out well, even if I was really stressed out several times during this process.

Anyway, the 20 hour flight went well (I flew with Qatar airways which I really can recommend for future MU exchange students going to Melbourne, they had great food during the whole flight) and now I am in Melbourne! I live in a sharehouse in Thornbury with three guys, who are all very friendly and social. They have shown me a great market with organically and locally produced vegetables, a bar on a roof top and a cosy breakfast place in Fitzroy. I found my sharehouse through the website Air BNB where people post ads renting out their own apartments/houses, usually for short term. I am staying in this sharehouse for one month and then I need to find something more permanent, which will be my next mission!

 

 

View from the roof top bar.

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A part of my street in Thornbury.

 

 

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CBD.

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