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!

Phillip Island och skola!

Hej!
Har varit på Phillip Island sist jag skrev! Det var fantastiskt, där fick vi se en massa djur och gå runt på Melbournes första farm. Vi hälsade även på lite koalor, kängrur och pelikaner. Kommer lite bilder längre ner! Vi var på en choklad fabrik och på en känd strand Woolamai Beach. Denna helgen som precis varit var jag på en AFL match (Aussie ruled football) kul men kallt var det. Dock förlorade hemmalaget (Melbourne FC) stort.
Har även en del att göra i skolan, tre inlämningar denna veckan (två var i måndags) och en nästa vecka. Sen rullar det på och jag har inlämning/presentation varje vecka hela september. Tur att vi inte har så bra väder, lättare att sitta inne och plugga då!
/Lotta

 

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…

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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Melbourne on bike!

Hi!
A few weeks ago I got a bike from my friend’s mother, to use during my exchange. Besides saving tram money it’s a nice way of seeing the city through a different perspective. The first time I biked to school I discovered many things along the streets which I hadn’t seen before. Also, having a bike means that you’re able to go anywhere, not having to rely on the tram (even if the tram actually is pretty comfortable and fast).

It’s about 9 kilometers one way to my uni – I get some good exercise every day, no doubt about that. The first days of biking back and forth between my house and uni my legs were pretty sore… Also, you are required by law to wear a helmet. It makes you look pretty geeky, which you can tell from the picture below. There’s also a picture from the bike path to uni – it’s just straight ahead for 9 km and you can see all the way down to the CBD and the tall buildings, since the bike path begins from a small hill.

 

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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…

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First week of uni (and some more) done!

Hi!
My first week of uni has gone by, and three days of the second week, and it feels as if it went by quickly at the same time as the days felt really long last week. In Sweden we usually study one subject full time for about a month and then have an exam – in Australia you study four different subjects at the same and have smaller exams regularly and then usually a bigger exam towards the end (something like our “salstenta”) or a bigger essay.
Another big difference is that you don’t have any time of school to write your exams – they have to be done at the same time as you go to lectures and tutorials, which might be a bit stressful. So far I am looking forward to all of my exams but perhaps I will regret that when the exam days come…

Besides being busy with school I have finally found a new place to stay, since I could only stay at my last place temporarily. During orientation week the ACU staff said that exchange students usually feel a bit down for a week or two, due to the new environment and all of the things you have to organize with school, housing and other things, but that it pass after a while. These two, three weeks have been a bit hard for me since I knew that I had to find a new place to stay but kept on getting “no” for an answer from all of the rooms I looked at. Almost everybody I met wanted the person moving in to stay at least six months, which wasn’t working for me since the semester is about four months. Anyway, I finally found a great house (and great house mates!) about three days before I had to move out of my old one. Now I really can enjoy my semester in Melbourne and do things without feeling guilty since I’m not sitting in front of the computer scrolling through all of the Gumtree ads…

A few of the things I’ve been doing since my room hunting was over; checking out all of the vintage stores (there’s too many dresses perfect for me! And too little baggage space left…), writing letters to Sweden and going to the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, which was really interesting (several european artists had made video installations with different concepts).

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// 1ST WEEK IN AUSTRALIA //

It feels like the first week in Australia went whooshing by while sitting in my hotel room, trying to make my body realize what the brain already knew: I’m on the other side of the world – finally! The photos in my phone, however, tell a different story. It seems that along with the crusades made into the beat of the inner city I’ve managed to eat well, sit on the beach and move to a new – and most importantly to a permanent – accommodation. A humanist like myself already sees a bunch of great deeds in this scenario, and as the saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

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In the name of honesty, I do feel obligated to break the illusion a little bit. In addition to the oh-so-wonderful beach life these photos mark out, a valid part of it all is the never-ending sand in your shoes, countless number of wrong buses and trams, and the world’s longest jet lag.  I suppose these two realities tied up with each other is what they call an exchange?

Saara

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?

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