Mid Semester Break Road Trip

For mid-semester break, I was lucky enough to have my brother and my father visit me. We rented a car and explored Victoria and New South Wales. We saw the ocean and the desert, and tried to spend as much time possible in the sun. Here are some photos from the trip!

My dad, brother and the Sydney Opera House

Nymagee – an old mining town

Crimson and King parrots!

The London Bridge along the Great Ocean Road

 

Hello from Australia

G’day, how is it going?

So this is the first time I’m writing a blog post at this blog, and I figure that it might be a good start with introducing myself to you readers. My name is Rebecka, I’m 20 years old and from a small village in the south of Sweden. Usually, I’m studying Peace and Conflict Studies at Malmö University, but right now I’m doing one year as an exchange student at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. The units I take here is within Murdoch University’s program ”Security, terrorism and counterterrorism”, I have just finished my first semester down under and the units I took this spring was about terrorism, counterterrorism, global security in general and also the US and Australia’s foreign and security policies. The units I’m going to take next semester is about democracy and international politics, relations and security, the difference from the last semester is that these units are more about the theories than practice and not specified to a specific country as the other units were (they all had a focus on Australia and the US).

First the plan was that I would only be here for one semester but halfway through it I felt that I hadn’t taken all the units I wanted to take here at Murdoch University and therefore e-mailed Malmö and asked if there were any chances that I could stay for one more semester, and to my great joy – there was! So here I am, still in Australia – my new home, having winter break and waiting for another semester to begin. All the internationals who was only here for only one semester have left by now and it’s quite quiet and I would lie if I say that I don’t miss them. After all, we were like a family, and the goodbyes were harder than  I thought it would be – maaaany tears! But I guess that’s a part of studying abroad, and in like 2 weeks new internationals arrive and a new family will probably be created.

By now, I don’t have that much to write and tell you but if you want to, and can read Swedish (or just use google translate) have a look on my private blog in the meantime http://nouw.com/rebeckahillbertz.

/ Rebecka Hillbertz

First week (9 days) of Melbs

Hi! Today I will write about the first 9 days I’ve experienced in Melbourne (11 in total if counting the two arrival days I wrote about in my last post)!20150718_145548
So I arrived and enrolled to my subjects and got my student ID. One and a half week left before semester and nothing to do with school? Well not quite right. Friday the 16th was off school though. I actually had time to go around the area of Prahran where I live (a suburb to Melbourne City Business District). Plenty of cool bars, stores, old school barber shops and much more. It feels like a hipster area. Very modern but at the same time old. I had finally time to contact my family and the day went pretty fast. Next day, Saturday, was planned for THE AMAZING RACE! A student activity arranged by school for the exchange students. Only 80 tickets for the game were available and I bought one as soon as I knew about it (first day of arrival). We got free lunch to start the day and after that the race startet. We had to get around town to get to know the city, Australian culture and much more! It was an AMAZING Amazing Race!pie20150718_150223

(A Dogs Eye with a Dead Horse (A meat Pie with Tomato Sauce) – one of the items we had to find during the Amazing Race and an Amazing Race Jump)

Well my team didn’t end up winning, but still we got to know all of the city in one day. Okey that’s a lie.. I still don’t really know how to get around. After that a few of the students went out for a drink.. or more like plenty of drinks, which resulted in a slow Sunday pretty much hanging around in the apartment Skyping, which also is needed.

Upcoming week was orientation week in school. Everything from compulsory sessions to lectures about how to be Australian. Very fun and I made a lot of friends! Since I missed the compulsory information meeting on my arrival day I had to go to a new meeting during the week, which was fine since it had to be done! During the first 3 days of the week all students got free lunch and morning tea, BEST THING OF THE DAY.. haha! Monday to Thursday had a planned schedule where I had to attend to sessions and Friday was off.. Well not for me. I had forgot about my Arrival Form that had to be turned in to Malmö University, so I contacted La Trobe and arranged a time to get it signed during the Friday. Oh yea.. I also found a new place to live!! A house about 1 km from school. I will live together with one La Trobe student and a Football player. Feels like a really great place! And I got a Cruiser Skateboard to get around town! And a haircut. Aaand… Well yea alot of things happen all the time! -931331

(My new accommodation – Cute House! 😀 )

Yesterday (Friday) I went out with friends after getting my paper signed. We went down to the Docks to see fireworks and later during the night we went to a sport bar for a drink! The evening ended early and I came home for some late night Skyping!20150724_193756

Today I am trying to clean the apartment since I’m moving to the house next week!

Cheers,

Arriving to Melbourne

Hi! I arrived to Melbourne 8 days ago! So much have happened and I am not quite sure if I am done with everything I need to do before the semester starts. NEXT WEEK!! The 27th.

This will be a long post, but don’t drop out! It will be fun to read, promise!

Lets take it from the beginning. I was supposed to arrive to Melbourne the 13th July to do my registration and enrollment. But due to waiting times with my visa and CSN I had to wait with booking my ticket and it went so far that all normal tickets were all sold out. I PANICKED! The cheapest ticket to Melbourne was 28000 sek, but after a whole day of calling and mailing with TICKET.SE I finally found a ticket for a decent price. What I didn’t get was a decent travel time. Copenhagen to Melbourne should take around 30 hours.. my trip was 50. Copenhagen – Amsterdam – Guangzhou – Melbourne. I had 15 hours in Guangzhou, China. In my mind 15 hours of boring waiting at the airport in China. This wasn’t the case when I arrived. I came to the airport, got checked in to a 5 star hotel, had free rides in town and it was actually really good! Extremely fun to take a short visit in China before the final destination, Melbs! Well I will not talk about my China trip to much, but I actually recommend to take a flight with a long transfer. It doesn’t really matter if it takes 30 or 50 hours to get to the destination.. it’s already extremely boring to travel for 30 hours. Take a 50 hour flight and a mini vacation at the same time!
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Well, I arrived at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport in the morning the 15th, LAST DAY OF ENROLLMENT!!! I was stressed out I had to get to La Trobe University    in time I had 3 hours to get to the compulsory information meeting. 3 hours sounds like a good time span… well not if you realize that there are about 2000 human beings in front of you in a line to get in to the country. One hour passed, Two hours passed, and another half hour and I’m in front of line. I check all my papers and… I forgot the paper that proved that I haven’t visited an “ebola country”. Well it was solved eventually and I was finally in the taxi to school. I registered, ran around school to fix everything I could and then took the bus and metro to my accommodation.

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I was quite lucky I thing. I got to borrow a friends apartment in a really nice area of Melbourne, only problem, over an hour to school, one way. Next day I enrolled to my course and subjects, got my student card and most everything for that week was finally done!
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I did not really have time to reflect over my stay. It was up and down fast forward both days. Was it worth all the stress? YES! It was a relief to be done that quickly and everything worked out fine even though I was late 2 days. Well I think this is it for this post. Next one will be about the first weekend and second week in Oz!
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Cheers!

Aussie = Awesome!

Har nu varit i Aussie i tre veckor kan man säga. Jag har skrivit in mig i 4 kurser som man måste här nere. Har varit inne i Melbourne några gånger nu, har ätit middag med flera andra utbytesstudenter, och även haft en lite skandinavisk middag. Super kul att få se staden lite och jag hann faktiskt med lite bilder.
Det har det varit mycket att göra sen man kom ner, busskort skulle fixas, bankkonto och simkort har fixas och säkert mycket mer som jag inte kommer på nu.
Jag bor på campus och rummet är helt okej, på min våning (korridor) bor vi 7 tjejer från olika ställen i världen. Kommer bli en bra termin då alla verkar vara super gulliga och snälla 🙂

Skolan har börjat nu och jag har haft en föreläsning och en workshop. Det känns bra med dessa ämnena än så länge. Min lingvistik föreläsare visade ett klipp från big bang theory i går, så jag gillar honom redan 😀
Har även hunnit planera mina veckor. Här ser skolan mer ut som i gymnasiet där man har fasta tider varje vecka, skönt tycker jag för det är lättare att planera. Dock är terminen bara 12 veckor och man läser 4 ämnen samtidigt, det är lite jobbigare då de flesta av mina inlämningar ligger samtidigt..

I går fixade jag så att jag ska börja ta ett dykarcertifikat, det kommer bli super kul! Jag ska bara klara mig igenom läkarundersökningen sen så får jag börja!

//Lotta

Wine tour in Mornington Peninsula.

Hello!
Yesterday I went on a wine tour in Mornington Peninsula with three of my american friends. We found the deal on Groupon and for 70 dollars you got picked up by a mini bus in the city (with seven other people that were also going on the tour) and then taken to five different vineyards in the Mornington Peninsula region. We started off at a dairy farm where they made different types of goat cheese, from the goats that lived at the farm. Then we drove to our first vineyard – we got to taste about six different wines at every vineyard and you could, of course, also buy some wine if you found something special – which I did! I bought a sweet moscato that I tried last night after getting back from the tour, along with the two goat cheeses I bought at the dairy farm. The wines and cheeses were pretty fancy but I thought that I would treat myself since I’m going home to Sweden soon. Anyway, one of the wine bottles I bought is perfect for saving a few years, so I really hope bringing alcohol back to Sweden is legal and that it will survive the almost 25 hour flight back home…

Here are some pictures from the tour! The tour guide Jason was really nice also and having a good tour guide is really important to fully appreciate a tour, so if you’re going on exchange to Melbourne, I can highly recommend this tour! We booked through Groupon for a special price, but you can also book straight through the company here.

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Easter break in Australia.

It’s been a while since I posted something here, I keep forgetting about the blog. Anyway, my easter break is just finished and tomorrow it’s time to face reality – back to uni! I have four essays due in the next couple of weeks as well as several minor assignments. Then I have three final exams in june and this exchange semester is over. I already feel that the time has gone by super quickly here.

However, back to my easter break! My american friend Paige and I booked flights to Alice Springs in Northern Territory about a month ago. On tuesday we left Melbourne on our five hour delayed flight with Tiger air, which is a budget airline. I guess you get what you pay for… We got to Alice Springs safe and sound anyway and Miles from Toddy’s hostel picked us up. We had booked a three day tour with The Rock Tour, which included one night at a hostel before leaving at 5.30 am on wednesday for our first tour day. I keep forgetting how huge Australia is – we sat several hours each tour day in the van going to different places. This was part of the experience, meeting people from different parts of the world (we were around 20 people in the van taking the tour) and seeing almost no other people or cars on the road. The desert was the only surroundings and it was truly beautiful even if it became a bit hard to figure out where we were sometimes!

On tour day one we went to beautiful Kings Canyon for a three hour hike. It might not sound that hard but keep in mind that it was 30 degrees and no shadow anywhere… It was a good hike anyway and during the tour we got information about aboriginals and their history. It was very interesting and I would like to more about it since it is such a big part of Australia’s history and I feel a bit ashamed coming to Australia without having any deeper understanding of how of an impact this has had on the Australian society. I guess it is a good thing that I at least feel encouraged to read more about this now.

After our hike we had lunch in the sun and then went for a drive to Curtain Springs where we set up our bush camp. We made dinner over the camp fire and then we slept in sleeping bags underneath the stars, it was really beautiful and a great experience!

On day two we had to get up at 5.15 am – we were driving to Kata Tjuta to go on another hike. Our tour guide lied when he said that day one was the hardest part of the tour… However, it felt really good being outdoors for three whole days and sleeping underneath the stars. On the last day we saw the sunrise over Uluru and then we went for our last hike.

I had such a great time and I really recommend future exchange students in Australia to do this tour. However, a major critic of this trips is that it is based on the history of aboriginal culture but almost no money goes back to the aboriginal community, which I think is a great problem.

 

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