Two down, two to go

One week left in Townsville, one week! I have two finals left, one international dinner to attend, bbq on the beach, “traditional” Swedish midsummer and goodbye party, and much more… Time will fly, I know that, and it is a strange feeling leaving the life here.

Still looking forward to see Sydney and the Blue Mountains though, and coming back to my home, back to summer. Which probably isn’t as warm as the winter is here, but that is OK.

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THIS IS NOT ANOTHER FOOTBALL MATCH, THIS IS WAR!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_nfnu1RDdA

Wednesday 5 june 2013, one of the three greatest days of the year for NRLloving Queenslanders and New South Welshmen: State of Origin. Yes, indeed people: State of Origin.

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State of Origin is the annual best-of-three series of the rugby league football matches between the Blues (New South Wales) and the Maroons (Queensland). It is said that State of Origin is Australian sport’s greatest rivalry, one of the country’s and the region’s premier sporting events, and frequently cited as being the highest-level of rugby league played anywhere in the world. The players are selected to represent the Australian state (QLD or NSW) in which they played their first senior rugby league, that’s why the game is called State of Origin. Like every rivalry the two teams have unbecoming nicknames: the QLD Cane Toads, and the NSW Cockroaches.

soo

 

Even though I’m not that fond of NRL (or AFL), the fact that I’m studying in Queensland, means supporting the Maroons! Not bread and born in QLD, but studied and educated in QLD. Besides one of the star players is Johnathan Thurston, the captain of the Townsville Cowboys. And another nice fact is that QLD has won state of origin 7 years in a row. Will this be the 8th time?

With our Maroon jersey on, we headed to the Riverway tavern. We were there early, but it was still packed! Most people where in there Maroon-jerseys, but there was still a couple of Blues present. This wondered Stefania and me, because coming from European (hooligan) nations, this doesn’t really seem like a “real” rivalry. During the game..well, Queensland played really bad. We lost too, so no happy ending (yet!).

But it was nice to see how the people in the pub behaved towards each other. There was a lot of swearing, middle fingers and booing during the game, but in the end people shook each other’s hands, congratulated each other and the Queenslanders warned the Blues that the next two games and with it the State of Origin-cup would be QLD’s. In the end that is what Real rivalry means: enjoying sports for the game.

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Innisfail traffic, Cessna 152/172, Tango Quebec Romeo, joining crosswind, runway 14, Innisfail.

My landlady is what we in the Netherlands, well actually everywhere in the world, call a BADASS. She always had a need for speed, but after years of driving it didn’t provide her with the same rush of adrenaline. So one day she though: “Maybe I should fly” and thats how she became a pilot. She is now in training for her navigation, at least that’s what I think she’s doing, because she calls al her flights “nav-flights”.

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I already had the privilege to fly with her on one of her trainings, but now she invited Stefania and me to join her on her Nav-flight. Super excited, Stef and I were heading to Innisfail at 6.00. We met up with David, the Catalonian instructor, ate some meat pies for lunch and around noon we were up in the air.

I have to tell you something funny about this flight: both Stefania and I are scared for heights and get seasick pretty easy. So drugged up with traveling pills, we were flighting over the Tablelands. It was beautiful to see the rainforest and waterfalls from the sky, to see the clouds up close and to see the transition fro rainforest to nothing/bush bush/outback-land.

1,5 hour later we arrived at Mount Surprise, which is located in the middle of whoop whoop (Australian slang for nowhere). The winds weren’t working like our pilot wanted so the landing was a bit…rough..yes that is the proper way to say it. But as any proper pilot says:

“Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing, even if you have to walk through the living room and out the front door of the house you crashed into.”

We flew back to Innisfail, but not before we flew over the Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is as beautiful from the sky as underwater. Our pilot decided to do some 30 degree turns,
which made the flight sickness even worse, but in the end everything was worth it!!

Thank you, Rhi!

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Completion Gathering

As Stefania already told you all, we had a completion gathering ceremony at JCU. Everyone was looking good with heels and ties as the dresscode asked for. I just didn’t expect that the ceremony would be so…. “American”? Don’t get me wrong; this is absolutely not an attack on America or the USA. It’s just that in the Netherlands we’re really down to earth. Ceremonies are only symbolic, but not a celebration for a certificate. Because well..it’s just a certificate, not your diploma.

But still it was an amazing experience. I felt just like in the movies! We were called upon the stage, where the president of JCU presented us our certificate; we posed and waved while walking off the stage. Yes indeed people, it doesn’t get more American (film culture at least) than this. There was a professional photographer present who took pictures of everyone. One while our certificate was presented to us, and more while we were enjoying (free!) sushi, beer and wine. Yes, indeed: JCU knows how to make an international student feel special.

So a big shout out to the international office of JCU: YOU ARE AWESOME!

And I am using the proper word, because awesome literally means full of awe. Well I was full of awe the entire duration of the ceremony.

So again, I cannot repeat it often enough, thank you so much International office of JCU!Closing cerimony

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The State Library of Victoria

Now it’s time for the last countdown of final exams! Hurray! There is no better place to study than the State Library of Victoria, a place of knowledge. It’s amazing what effect the atmosphere in here has on your learning outcomes – or let’s better say that I’m extremely focused on my studies without being distracted by my lovely housemates or by spontaneous attacks of procrastination else where. Everyone seems to be so concentrated and this vibe of people willing to gain knowledge is simply wonderful.

And before I catch myself losing the focus, I’d rather spend some more time with my books and study for tomorrow’s exam.

Oh, and for everyone who is busy with studying, I’d love to share this with you:

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/Hany

(and Kinga-  just sitting in front of me, very focused and concentrated as well – … that’s my impression at least)

 

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God Save the Queen! (and let me pass the exam)

Rather annoying, when you have the long weekend but you know you’re gonna spend it over books, notes and computer. Especially, if you are passionate procrastinator. It feels even worse, because you know it is all your fault. Instead of slogging through all that books, you could have been in Grampians or watching penguins on Phillip Island or whatever. And let me tell you, the winter here is a joke. I mean, it doesn’t feel like winter at all. More like autumn. Just perfect for a one day gateway. Just because I am in this very educational mode, I am going to share some information with you.

The Queen’s Birthday is a public holiday celebrated in most states and territories in Australia on the second Monday in June, making for a much-looked-forward-to June long weekend (for those, who can actually deal with their assignments EARLIER and plan something fun to do with that extra free time…). Queen Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states and the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. She was born on 21 April 1926 but her birthday is celebrated on a separate date. She has been Queen since 1952 and is currently the second-longest reigning British monarch, the longest being Queen Victoria who reigned for 63 years.

Why can we not celebrate president’s birthday in Poland (idea worth considering)?

Anyhow, because it is a public holiday, getting a cup of coffee was slightly more difficult than usually. Melbourne made me an absolute coffee ADDICT, so a day without it, is a day wasted (and it is not an overstatement, just visit this city). So, we ended up with the worst coffee I have ever tried, which made me feel a bit sick and not very enthusiastic about the cramming. But frankly speaking, have we ever been enthusiastic about that?

 

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can’t keep up!

Hi guys,

what a crazy month June is! I’m completely lost in books and notes, studying for exams and feeling a bit stressed about it (first is on Tuesday so keep fingers crossed!). But that’s not the only thing that happened to me already in a last week.

As a part of my super-internship I had to prepare a presentation regarding Poland’s Foreign Policy after the Cold War and present it to Griffith students from Griffith International Relations Association. Although before I was really nervous about speaking for roughly 30 minutes to native-speakers, it turned out to be quite an awesome experience since those students were (or seemed to be :D) interested in a topic, they asked a couple of questions and tried to make things for me as easy as possible so that I wouldn’t feel shaky.

Next thing is, of course, the one and only: State of Origin Game. As I started to understand rugby rules (finally, after attending 4 matches!) I was pretty excited about that particular game between Queensland and New South Wales for the title of the Australian’s State of Origin. Along with some friends I went to the Unibar to enjoy this time with a number of other students. I know, I know, I’m currently living in Queensland and I should support The Maroons, but I went for an underdog. I mean, a switch after 7 years (to clarify: NSW hasn’t won for 7 years now) is not a harmful change and The Blues (NSW) looked entirely determined. I got really involved during the game and didn’t even know when I started screaming : NEW SOUTH WALES, NEW SOUTH WALES! Very happy to say, that they won!! Unfortunately, State of Origin consists of three games and I won’t be able to see the second either the third one in Australia anymore. And here we go, the last thing for today, before I get back to exams…

I CAN’T BELIEVE I’ve got two weeks left in Australia. I had some time in between when I missed home and my best friends a lot, but the closer it comes to an end, the more I’d love to stay. Can anybody stop the clock?! I can’t keep up!

Good luck you all with your exams!

A.

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Time to start saying goodbye

Exactly one week ago I was taking part in the Completion Ceremony organized for us by International Student Centre. Stefania posted already an emotional report, and I can’t not agree with all she’ve said. I just don’t want to get to emotional myself. I still have 2 more weeks for that…

I haven’t realised, how fast time flies. I even almost forgot to get myself an internship! But fortunately I was lucky enough to get an amazing opportunity to work in refugee centre in Townsville – Townsville Multicultural Support Group. It was unbelievable, how fast everybody just accepted that, I’m there, able to help! After three days I had already scheduled appointments with clients! And as fast as it started – as fast was I done. And I had to say goodbye again…

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Only the finals left!

The last one of my home exams is now handed in. Next week the finals start, of which I have four to complete. The time in Townsville is running out and time to get moving, first south, then a long, long way northwest. It will be nice to come home, to the loved ones and the friends, but in the same time it will be really strange just leaving this place where I have spent the last 4 months.

Townsville is in many regards not a place where I would like to stay for a longer period of time, but there are some really great things with my stay here. All the friends that I have made from all kinds of places in the world, the surrounding nature, including the Great Barrier Reef which are magnificent and the long-pants-unfriendly-climate are all things that have made this semester memorable for its awesomeness.

 

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Week 13

Week 13 is the last week of lectures, the last week to hand in papers and the end of tutorials. The last day of my internship at 4ZzZ is close. I am inbetween planning a end of the year trip and burying myself in a pile of book to study for my final exams. About two weeks of studying are left which leaves me with mixed feelings: I want to be done with my exams, but I don’t want to be done with my semester in Brisbane.

All of the courses I took were really enjoyable, especially Islam in the Modern World, Australian Politics and Governance, and Political Leadership. The first one was about Islam, the interaction of “Islam and the West”, and modern foreign policy issues such as Israel-Palestine conflict. This course gave me a new perspective on Islam and the meaning of religion, the connection of religious traditions and ideas on governance, and the role prejudices and the mass media play. The study of Islamic ideas about governance, human rights, peace and conflict was interesting, and showed how orientalism and the assumption of differences form our world view. The comparison of Islamic Law and International Humanitarian Law, using Israel-Palestine conflict as case study, deepened my understanding of the issues I have been studying over the past two years.

In Australian Politics and Governance, and Political Leadership, the perception of Australia’s political role was the most interesting to learn about. Both courses required to write a research on topics I had absolutely no previous knowledge about which was challenging, but also interesting. Theoretical concepts were connected to current events and every lecture included vibrant discussions between teaching staff and students.

But now, we are quickly moving towards finals time!

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