New Love

Good day good folks!
How has your day been so far? Hopefully its been a great day! So this past week I’ve thought about; what to post on the blog on a daily basis. Initially, when I agreed to to write on the blog, and even earlier than that, when I applied for the opportunity of studying in Canada, I wrote about keeping anyone who wanted in the loop of all things necessary regarding their future/possible time at York. The only problem is that; all I can think of is how much I love it here, and I know it gets tiresome to read about someone just yapping on about how much they love it, and nothing else. Genuinely speaking, thats all I can think of. I’ve loved every day I’ve been here, I love the people I’ve met, the residence I’m staying in, the dons in charge of the building, my classes, even the boring ones, I even love the squirrels and the even the damn raccoons.

Life here, is somewhat like in the movies. You live on campus and all sorts of unexpected things happens here. I can’t remember what movie it was due to the fact that it has been ages since I’ve last seen it, but there’s a movie about a girl attending collage and everything was so overwhelming and everywhere she want she would see people. And the instance I’m thinking of is that even when she went to a place that seemed so remote the artistic group was playing music and she got so pissed off haha! Well what I am trying to say is that, there is people everywhere and every now and then there will a little group of artistic people (people who either lives or is affiliated with Winters collage lol) who plays music, but the difference between me and the girl in the movie is that I quite like it. I love it here.

Life is so different yet with some instances of similarities from the life back in Sweden. It has to be the kind people all around you and the lifestyle, I obviously can’t speak for everyone but generally speaking, we Swedes don’t live the most social lives, we don’t hang out with people every single day, for no apparent reason, just for the sake of hanging out. But thats what they do here, and I know I know, I’ve probably written the word love 530 times so far, but I LOVE IT. I feel so at home here! And it doesn’t hurt that the weather is still warm here. I promise for next week I will try to write something slightly productive for anyone interested in York university, but for now, believe me, if you ever get the opportunity to come, first of all, DO IT! and secondly, I have no doubt you will love it as much as I do. I wish everyone could experience this euphoric feeling of being here!

First Week.

First week of living on campus went by so fast. The first couple of days were a little bit slow due to the fact that I pretty much was alone on my floor not knowing anyone, but as soon as people moved in; everything changed. Never in my entire life did I expect meeting people that are so nice as the ones I’ve met so far. My floor is a coed floor but honestly it feels like we all are, in some twisted way; related. A big messed up family, that is getting to know each other a little bit better as time passes by. You know like in the movies where there’s a big family gathering around a holiday and all the cousins come by and you don’t really know them but you know of them, and during the holiday that the big family is stuck together, you get to know the distant family members better. Thats how it feels like, but not at all as awkward as they make it seem in the movies.

I am probably the oldest on the floor, and going into this life that I’m starting at York U, I thought that I would feel a lot older than the rest, that I would be isolated and all things that comes with being brought up in Sweden. But truthfully, I don’t feel the age difference at all, I don’t feel isolated and I feel like I am a part of the family that is my floor, and Bethune Residence. Very poetic and romantic, I know. But in all honesty, So far, I’M IN LOVE WITH THE LIFE I LIVE. I know its frowned upon to be saying these things back at home (Sweden) but I could not be more happy than right now. I’m surrounded by an amazing group of people that I now can call my good friends.

I’ll try my best to post at least one post per week, and if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask anything and I’ll try my best to answer it as good as possible. In the future to come, I’ll try to write more informative posts about how life is in a different country and what my opinions are and what little advice that I could give. So welcome to my the little peek show of my life in York U, hope you’ll enjoy it and let me know what you guys think. Take care, hope you guys have an amazing day.
xoxo Lilian

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!
20150714_143426
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.

20150716_123237

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!
20150717_034055
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!
20150717_021252
Cheers!

Only four weeks left…

…until my semester in Australia is over. It has really gone by fast, it feels as if I arrived at Tullamarine Airport just yesterday and I met my house mate Matt for the very first time, when he picked me up. I guess these four weeks that are left will go by even more quicker!

Since I last blogged a few weeks ago a lot of fun stuff have been happening – I have been both to Tasmania and Indonesia, which both were great! I will write more about those trips in another post, but I will devote this post to the academic part of my semester. I don’t think I have written much about the differences between studying in Australia and Sweden and this info might be useful for those of you who consider going on exchange!

The biggest difference between my Malmö uni and my australian one is that I study four subjects and the same time. I have one lecture and one tutorial (what we in Sweden call “seminarium”) for each subject, each week – 8 “activities” all together, per week. Another difference is that you have the exact same schedule for one semester, which made at least me feel that the school became way too much of a routine. Unfortunately enough I also ended up with lectures and tutorials that started at 8 am every day….

Another difference is that you have assignments due almost every single week, where as you in Sweden usually only have a hemtenta or salstenta at the end of a subject and then a few group presentations during a seminarium. Anyway, at ACU I have had assignments due almost every week. They consist of reading responses or commentaries, which means that you in about 180-220 words should summarize the key points of one of the required readings for that week but also provide a bit of analyze yourself. My experience is that word limits are pretty rare in Sweden, we mostly use pages, but at ACU word limits are what guides your writing! I thought it sounded really hard at the beginning, getting to say all of the things I wanted to say AND draw conclusions on top of that, but now I like having to adjust to a word limit, it makes my points and ideas much more clearer and straight forward and I actually feel that the things I write holds a high quality even if it’s only 200 words.

So, reading responses/commentaries are one form of assignment. Another one I’ve had was a mid-semester test in philosophy, which consisted of 20 multiple choice questions, which I’ve never had before in Sweden. It went really well – sorry for bragging but I was the only one in the whole class to get 20 out of 20! It was my first test of the semester so I was really happy about that. My studies are paying off…

Yet another assignment type is an annotated bibliography. This one was for my Global change & development subject and we had to choose from around 10 different topics provided by our lecturer and then find four peer reviewed articles. We then had to write around 1200 words which should include why that article is valuable for our research essay (which will be based upon the topic and articles you chose for your annotated bibliography), which theories the author uses, which key points the author makes and so on. This assignment also went really well for me and I was so proud of myself since I haven’t had any experience of writing academic papers in english before my semester in Melbourne.

I have had to do research essays in two different subjects. One was for the Global change subject, which meant that you used the articles from the annotated bibliography for your research essay. I chose a topic where I had to discuss how neoliberalism has affected volunteer tourism as a development practice, which was really interesting to write about. In the essay I had to argue for my position, but of course always with support from the articles I had chosen. The research essay was more like a normal paper that I am used to in Sweden, but the annotated bibliography was useful to have done as well, since that really is what you do when you write a B- or C-uppsats in Sweden – arguing for why the literature you have chosen for your essay are valuable and how it is related to your own position.

The other assignments I’ve had are essays, which were around 500 words each. You got a few questions to answer and it was pretty straightforward as usual – always support your own thoughts with the arguments found in the literature for that subject.

This friday I have a philosophy essay due, which is 1200 words. You had to choose between different topics such as sexual freedom, abortion, punishment and so on, and develop your own ideas of why the arguments provided by a specific philosophical branch are, or are not, valid arguments, which was really interesting.

As you might tell, the assignments are always very short in regards of the word limit but I really find that you get a lot said with a low word limit.

Puh, now I’m done with this essay/blog post and I will treat myself to some wine and movie in bed! This is my last week of lectures, before my three final exams in june 2nd, 16th and 18th. Wish me luck…

A weekend in Melbourne.

Hi!
Today is a public holiday, Labour day, which means no uni. This also means a four day long weekend, since I don’t have any classes on tuesdays! I went all in on this weekend and started with going to the French Film Festival on friday. I saw “2 automnes 3 hivers”, which has been described as a “quirky, funny, indie romantic comedy” (or something like that…) which I can agree on. Anyway, the movie was perfect for a friday afternoon after eight hours of studying each day for that week.

On saturday one of my old housemates and I went to see some bands play at 291 in Brunswick and then we went to an after party (is that even a word/concept in english? I’m referring to a traditional “efterfest” anyway) in a warehouse. I’ve met a lot of people here who are currently living in, or have been living in, warehouse, which I find a bit odd. It really looks like what you imagine it to look like when you hear it – a gigantic open space just as a traditional warehouse except for all of the furniture and “rooms” (basically just curtains posing as walls). It must be some kind of law that enables this, I’m not sure but I don’t think it would be possible or even legal to live in a warehouse in Sweden.

On sunday I woke up to a 30 degree heat, so me and my four old housemates decided to go for a swim. We squeezed into a car and drove about an hour, finally arriving at Half Moon Bay. The beach was really beautiful, as you can tell from the pictures below! After that we went to dinner at Moroccan Soup Bar, which I highly recommend. The restaurant doesn’t have a menu, so you have to say what you’re in the mood for or just ask for a little bit of everything, which we did. They only serve vegetarian food and their focus is, which you already might have figured out, middle eastern food. For starters you get one plate with all kinds of different stuff and bread, to share with your dinner company. Before dinner we also got a glass of mint tea served and unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the amazing food, but some of the things we got were potatoes, rice, hummus, pickled vegetables, olives, couscous, eggplant, yoghurt, bread, an amazing chickpea thing (hard to describe it, but it was a bit crunchy,salty and nutty at the same time, it’s worth going there just for this!). The good thing is that everything comes in different bowls and you can take a bit of everything you like, so there isn’t any “portions” and you won’t feel bad if you don’t finish everything on the plate, since it’s you who chose what’s going to end up on your plate. I really can’t make the food justice by trying to describe it, so you just have to try it out yourself if you ever go to Melbourne, it was delicious! Our last stop on saturday was a bar on High St, which previously had been an old church. The interior was really cosy with colored lights, plants and paintings everywhere.

Today, my monday off uni due to the public holiday, I went for coffee on one of the many cafes on High St, which is a 5 minute bike ride from my house in Preston. The street is one of my favorites so far in Melbourne, since a lot of cafes and second hand stores are located in this area, which is perfect (or really bad…) for me and my ability to find a dress in every store I enter.

For some reason I can’t get the pictures right, so you just have to tilt your head. I guess you get the point anyway…

photo 3 photo 2 photo 1

Orientation week!

Last week the orientation week began, when all of the undergraduate international students met. I think we were around 30 people, which is a lot less than I thought we would be. Most of them came from the US, a few from Canada and the rest from Europe. The orientation  gave us an introduction on how to enroll into academic units (as it is called in Australia, referring to a subject or a class you’re taking, such as philosophy or sociology for example). Since then I’ve been stressed out trying to arrange my schedule for the units I’m taking, finding new units when the ones I’ve chosen were clashing, finding the right people to sign the right form for me, and so on… The stress has eased a bit and on monday the semester will start! I look forward to my units, which will be Introduction to ethics, Introduction to international development studies, Human geography of globalization and Global change and development. I especially look forward to seeing my aussie classmates!

My first encounter with ACU.

Yesterday I was invited to have a coffee with Kirk Doyle, who is working with different international issues at ACU, and Mats Johansson from Malmö University, who is an international coordinator at my home university. It was interesting here about universities through an Australian perspective – I learned that some australian universities have agents, which means that they try to get students to apply to their specific university. I guess this is logic if you consider the fact that students have to pay a fee to the university to study in Australia, however I think that making business out of education is a bit disturbing.

We had an interesting chat about the feeling of experience something new and different and visiting new places in general, but we also spoke about Malmö University and the possibilities there is to go abroad (summer courses, internship abroad, MFS, exchange). I hope that my thoughts about being an MU-student abroad and my reasons for going on an exchange will be useful somehow for the work that MUs international coordinator does!

After having coffee we got a little bit of a tour around ACUs campus by Kirk Doyle. I found out that my university has a rooftop terrace with a café and a great view of Melbourne – something Malmö University could be inspired by, perhaps?

bild-23

Trumsången

Det är en månad kvar nu. Jag har varit här i tre, har börjat inse saker och ting.
Idag är det en dag innan vi har slutprov på vår trumkurs, innebär att hela byggnaden med omkring 200 studenter kommer få en sömnlös natt på grund av en fåtal skara som ska träna hela natten. Ja vi har alla trummor och ja vi har väntat med att träna in i det sista. Jag hör syrsorna spela där ute. Men jag hör dem bara när jag tittar ut från fönstret. Efter mina tre månader inser jag att jag har blivit ganska immun mot allt buller omkring mig. Men det jag stör mig mest på och som jag svårt kommer glömma är bilarna med flak, maxlastade med högtalare pumpande ut dålig rispig ljud med politisk, religiös och event propaganda mitt utanför min balkong minst tre gånger i veckan. Du kan inte göra något åt det. Det är bara till att ta emot det. Andas lugnt, stirra på väggen, stirra på golvet se dem tusen pyttesmå myrorna som yrar runt i ditt rum som en sensor, letandes efter söta smakupplevelser. Men detta gör du såklart bara när du är sjuk, när du har växlande feber, energilös, ont i huvudet, lös i magen.Malaria. Du ligger i sängen och MÅSTE lyssna på maxlastadebergsprängandehögtalarefrånflakpåpropagandabilar. Tack Sverige för att vi inte får ha någon direkt påverkan på något av ovannämnda faktorer i våra flesta läroverk.
Känns ju inte så jättekul att jag ständigt är negativ när jag skriver mina inlägg, men det är också skönt att få ventilera sig lite, när jag pratar med vänner och familj i telefon får de oftast höra det positiva. Synd att ni inte är i den bekantskapskretsen då? Oroa er inte.
Jag valde inte Ghana med hopp om att få allt serverat på silverfat eller få en upplevelse väldigt mycket lik mina andra resor. Jag ville se något nytt, sett från mina västerländska ögon. Och jag erkänner att mycket av det som händer här i din vardag är VÄLDIGT överraskande och kräver VÄLDIGT mycket tålamod för att klara av. Men du hinner anpassa dig, du får stöd och framförallt blir du starkare. Du kommer genomgå olika faser, börjar med Desorienterad (vet inte vad som är var, eller var som är vad) går vidare till Lycka och insikt (förstå vad du själv vill med livet för att du är lite avlägsen från ditt liv i Sverige) och nu är även allt på plats och du känner dig mer Orienterad ( för att hitta egna intressen, mål och uppfattningar) däremellan sker ju massa saker som ställer alla dina faser på prov och som är lätt överkomliga med hjälp/tur av goda vänner, bra försäkring och guds vilja (nej jag har inte blivit religiös). Ghana erbjuder dig mycket kultur, mycket färger, mycket smaker. och röda tråden är STARKT. Maten gillas stark, färgerna på kläderna från tygerna i marknaderna är alla starka, trumslagen från musiken är starka, människorna är starka, framförallt fysiskt sätt av det jag sett. Respekt för äldre, respekt för gäster som kommer från utlandet, att kolla till varandra och inte låta någon vara ensam, sitta ensam. Allt det här genomsyrar Ghana och den kultur som jag har sett av vad landet erbjuder. Jag är väldigt glad över att ha varit här och jag hade inte bytt den här upplevelsen för någonting i världen. Det är väldigt fint den här omtanken och styrkan som finns men det är inte det enda som har gjort intryck på mig. Jag har också fått uppleva korruption, känna på orättvisa, syn på vad hunger är och verkligen få innebörd av vad en fattig riktigt är.
Har känt mig som ett svin ibland som har kunnat äta på fin restaurang när jag vet att det står många som kämpar och dör för sitt levebröd precis utanför. Att besluta sig för att man är en västerlänning är inte samma sak som att acceptera det på grund av min härkomst. Blir jag en martyr om jag tar beslutet av att inte vara det? Västerlänning konverterar till eremit! Tänker på filmen Into the Wild nu när jag skrev den meningen. Det är allt eller inget. Mellantinget är för plågsamt. Mellantinget innehåller skam och underkastelse inför människor som är Västerlänningen eller lika rika medan Eremiten står för eget beslutsfattande och lever ett självvalt liv. Nu spårar jag ur igen.

Ghana. fantastiskt. Men det ska bli så skönt att få komma tillbaks till Sverige. Fullt fungerande samhälle där jag västerlänning ska få ha det tryggt och ha kontroll över mitt liv. Jag erkänner det. Jag älskar det. Vill inte byta ut det.

 

AKWAABA!

Nu är jag framme i Ghana! Jag kom den 16 augusti och har hunnit registrera mig som student, åka på en utflykt, skaffa simkort, träffa nya vänner och massa annat.

Att registrera sig var inte så lätt som jag trodde. Administrationen här är inte direkt den mest flytande jag har sett i mitt liv. Vill ni veta exakt hur mina 9 timmar slösades på att registrera mig kan ni läsa nedanstående stycke(annars kan ni hoppa över):

Går upp 7.00 på morgonen för att gå till det internationella kontoret där man registrerar sig och för någon anledning kan man inte registrera sig om man inte har betalat för sitt boende. Så de skickar mig till banken och säger att jag ska betala för boende avgiften. Jag kommer fram till banken ( en speciell bank som har avtal med universitet ) och förklarar att jag ska betala en avgift och att jag inte kan ta ut större summor från bankomaten. Han förklarar att man ska ta ut pengarna 40CD åt gången jag fick ta ut denna summa åtta gånger (avgift såklart). När jag väl har pengarna går jag till mitt boende (ISH=International student hostel) och vill betala med mina pengar. Då förklarar de att man inte tar emot pengar i receptionen utan det ska betalas via banken. Jag blir lite smått irriterad vid det tillfället då men behärskar mig och går tillbaks till banken och ska betala. Och det är långa bank köer. När jag kommer fram så behöver dem ett universitets IDnr annars kan de inte registrera mig och jag har inte fått något från admission letter som jag fick per mejl. Så då får jag gå tillbaks till international office och be om ett IDnr vilket enkelt togs fram och jag gick tillbaks till banken. Står i lång kö igen. Väl framme så fungerar inte mitt IDnr den har inte blivit aktiverad. (detta är något international office ska göra). Nu går jag tillbaks till international office väntar i två timmar på att det ska bli registrerad (lärde mig deras inhemska språk TWI samtidigt). Det sista jag gör är att gå till banken och då säger de att det fortfarande inte är aktiverat. Med lite tålamod så väntar jag en timme där för att sedan kunna betala mitt boende för att sedan få kvitto på det för att visa upp det för internationella kontoret. Jag var inte på mitt bästa humör efter denna dagen men jag tog det med en nypa salt och tänkte att det här kommer jag nog få vänja mig vid.

Detta var fredagen då jag kom fram på torsdag kväll. Lördagen åkte jag iväg på en impuls resa till en strand/lagun två timmar ifrån Accra med ett gäng på tio personer. Det var ett roligt äventyr med massa vackra miljöer. Måndag är en helgdag p.g.a. Ramadan (muslimsk högtid) Så idag tisdag är jag här för att registrera mig för de kurser jag vill läsa. Mitt schema är väldigt fullt på onsdagar och fredagar men det jämnar ut sig med resten av veckan. Jag har pratat lite med människor här och det verkar vara många som har kontakt med NGO(non governmental organisations) och det hade varit toppen om jag kunde volontära på min lediga tid. Det finns massor av andra saker att berätta om Ghana. Men jag kanske återkommer mer om det till nästa inlägg.

Akwaaba=välkommen