Indiana University Overseas Study

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Farewell to Prague

Kendall Machledt - Prague

Now that I have completed my two months in Prague, I am left with such a bittersweet feeling. There is a strange aspect to studying abroad, and that is that the friends you’ve spent eight weeks getting to know, going on adventures with, and exploring Europe with go back to their homes all around the world. The first session was pretty large and everyone became quite close, and lots of these friendships carried on through the second session as well. It is difficult saying goodbye to people who, in some cases, are the only other people who know this part of your life, or have experienced these life-shaping moments with you. It can be hard to think about the fact that it is not definite that you will see these friends again.

I believe that is an added long-term benefit of studying abroad, however. Having shared such significant and amazing experiences, that is a big incentive to stay in contact with study abroad friends and keep up the relationships. I also feel that everyone will be more inclined to travel either together or to see one another, now that we mastered the act in Europe and share the same desires.

One friend in particular that I am thankful to have made is Paula. Paula is from Beirut, Lebanon, which is also where she attends school. We both went on a trip to Vienna, Austria our very first weekend in Prague with a few other new friends, which is when we really clicked. The funny thing was that Paula and I were so dissimilar in many ways and had very different lives, but it was also in that way that we complimented each other. Her outgoing personality encouraged me to do things that I may not have otherwise, and definitely played a part in making my time in Europe so unforgettable. I expected to make lots of friends all over the U.S., but had not anticipated starting such a unique friendship with someone across the world.

I have been so thankful to have chosen Prague as my study abroad destination. I had always wanted to visit Prague, and studying abroad there was a great opportunity to get acclimated to the culture and life in a foreign country. Being a vegetarian, I was a little apprehensive about diving into an unfamiliar culture’s cuisine. All I had heard about Czech food was that it is creamy, dense, and primarily meat-based. This proved to be very true! However, out of all the countries I traveled to, the Czech Republic had the most vegetarian-friendly food options. The most popular Czech vegetarian dish is fried cheese, which is essentially a giant Mozzarella stick-like square, with Edam cheese instead of Mozzarella, and it is quite good! I did need more than fried cheese in my diet, though, and became a regular at the nearby Burrito Loco, which was the closest thing around to a Chipotle. The fact that Prague is full of a variety of ethnic restaurants really helped me to find meals out. I had some great Italian food and discovered noodle bars. That being said, I am happy to be coming home to veggie corndogs and burgers.

This summer has been the most important one of my life. Having the opportunity to grow in so many ways and creating friendships across the globe has already had such a positive impact on my life and my future. From mastering city public transportation systems, to learning just enough of each new language to get by for our stay, I have gained knowledge and confidence that I don’t think I could have gotten elsewhere. My time studying abroad in Prague left many impressions on me, one in particular being that one day I will return.

Kendall Machledt - discovering new cultures abroad

Hello Jerusalem!

Frankie Salzman - Jerusalem

שבוע טוב!/Shavua Tov! -Hebrew for “good week,” and the customary exclamation of well wishing after Shabbat.

The sun is currently setting here in Jerusalem. That means shortly the busses and light rail will once again be running after the legally required shutdown from Friday night to Saturday night-Shabbat, or the Jewish Sabbath and the kosher restaurants will reopen for patrons to enjoy a final dinner before the work week begins again tomorrow. In Israel, because of Shabbat, the week is from Sunday-Thursday with the weekend being Friday and Saturday. It’s been a bit odd adjusting my internal clock of how to view the week. Tuesday is now “hump day” instead of Wednesday, TGIT instead of TGIF.

The weekly shutdown of the city during Shabbat is also something I feel one would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Today, I went walking around at the Shuk, the major open marketplace that, during the week is full of people speaking Hebrew, Arabic, English, and other languages from around the world, but today on Shabbat was a ghost town. On the major streets taxis and cars still go by, but the inner streets of the city are quiet.

It is peacefulness that I have not experienced anywhere else. It is not empty but rather intentionally still. But not everywhere is shutdown. The Jewish world may be still here, but the Arab world keeps going. A ten-minute walk from campus and there is a grocery store open as if nothing has changed. It is so interesting to see such difference here. Two separate, unique cultures co-existing in the same place. Jerusalem is truly special like that. Nowhere else in Israel are there Jewish and Arab communities existing like this. The religious landmarks are the focal point of city with a character all its own.

It has been a privilege to spend two weeks here so far. I have gotten to daven, pray, at three different spots in the city, experiencing a variety of religious Jewish life. Some of it has been familiar and comforting to me, others were new and challenging. I have slowly begun to obtain a routine. I begin my day hiking up the mountain I live at the bottom of to attend Ulpan, the intensive Hebrew class I currently have every day from 8:30am-1:10pm, on the gorgeous campus that has breathtaking views of the city. I then eat lunch either in my apartment or grab some falafel on campus (some of the only food I have been able to find that isn’t way more expensive than everything in America). I then do my homework and study for the next day’s Hebrew, and then to bed. Some days I take the light rail to the center of the city and visit the Shuk for pitas, dry fruit, cheese, and whatever other goodies I feel like treating myself to that day. On others, I relax in my room or with others I have met in Ulpan from around the world (my class includes students from America, Israel, China, Korea, France, Mexico, Spain, and Italy). All in all, I’m finding my way.

Figuring out the time difference has also had its challenges. It is 7 hours between here and the Eastern Time Zone of America which means I start my day with a good morning text from my mom as she is heading to bed.

I will try to end every post I have with a little lesson in Hebrew. Today, in honor of my mother, Instead of goodbye I say “בוקר טוב/boker tov” “good morning.”

Frankie Salzman - further his language and culture studies at the source

Top End of the NT

Sarah Whaley

My last holiday before leaving Oceania was to the Top End of the NT. In other words, the northernmost segment of Northern Territory Australia. The Australia everyone thinks of when they think of the land down under: red dirt, termite mounds and crocodiles. Home of Crocodile Dundee and the land of two seasons, wet and dry.

bridge in woods

Northern Territory: It doesn’t get much more Crocodile Dundee than this.

July is in the midst of the dry season, meaning water levels are down, you’re less likely to stumble across crocodiles in your swimming hole and the heat isn’t humid and oppressive, at least on the coast. When I got off my red-eye flight at 1:25 a.m. I welcomed the change in temperature from chilly Adelaide. Finally I could wear all those summer clothes I’d brought to Australia, mid-winter.

I chose to not do the touristy thing in the NT and stay in website-recommended hotels. Instead I lived with friends from St Mark’s, Callan and Glen. I chose to let them show me the places they love rather than the Lonely Planet Top 10. I still ended up seeing half of the Top 10 and cramming several weeks’ worth of attractions into one.

My first three days were spent in Darwin, the largest city in the sparsely populated NT. I flew in on Territory Day, the anniversary of self-governance being handed down to the Territory by the Commonwealth Government. Its finale is known more commonly as Cracker Night because for one day only proud Territorians can purchase and set off fireworks (much to the dismay of volunteer firefighters). I watched fireworks spring forth from the beaches of Darwin’s many bays as my plane landed.

Over the next three days, Callan showed me many of the places I had seen by the light of the fireworks that first night. Casuarina beach and Callan’s personal favorite, East Point Reserve. During World War II, East Point served as a military base for the defense of Darwin and today you can explore the gun emplacements and tunnel entryways that remain. The reserve is also a favorite place for wildlife like wallabies and bush turkeys, which build nests of dirt and plant matter several times larger than themselves. They are best seen by biking the off-road trails in the early evening.

biking through the woods

My first experience off-road biking to see wallabies.

Callan and I ran down to the coast to watch the sunset every night in Darwin. The first night we watched from a lookout on our way to Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, a magical place that draws what seems like the entire city to the beach for exotic foods, artisan wares and variety performances. The advantage of markets in the NT weather is that they can be open regularly year-round. While tourists love the markets as much as the regulars, it’s fun to watch the regulars banter with the vendors they know so well.

Sunset.

First sunset in Darwin.

Crowd gathered around performer

A performer at Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.

My last full day in Darwin was the busiest, and also the 4th of July. Callan and I woke up early to drive to Kakadu National Park and take a jumping crocodile cruise on the Adelaide River. I never thought crocodiles would be so much scarier than sharks, but watching five meter male “salties” propel themselves out of the water towards a small clump of meat did the trick. The women who ran the cruise knew the crocodiles on that portion of the river well and had even named some of them, like Grover and Stumpy. They estimate for every crocodile you see above the muddy water, there are at least five others underwater nearby. We saw eight. In total, they estimate there could be anywhere from 2500 to 10,000 crocodiles in the Adelaide River alone and I will be the first to say I don’t want to find out. Some crazy tourists and Territorians with a death wish sometimes dare each other to swim across the river (at varying levels of intoxication) and it’s 50/50 whether they make it safely to the other side.

sitting on giant crocodile sculpture

Callan and I sit on a life-sized model of the largest croc ever caught in the Adelaide River.

crocodile leaping out of water for dangling meat

Grover, a 5 meter male “saltie,” leaps for buffalo meat.

After the cruise we headed to Berry Springs to swim. After watching crocodiles leap from water all morning, I wasn’t too keen on swimming, but the springs were wonderful. Looking at the water you’d think it was chlorinated because it’s so clear and beautiful. You can swim all the way from the bottom spring to the little falls at the top, which Callan and I did in spite of the current and the rocky shallow bits. It’s the ultimate natural swimming spot and I felt like a part of the nature around me as birds flitted in and out of the palms.

Group swimming by small falls

The small falls at the top of Berry Springs.

We wrapped up the 4th of July with a party and I met some of Callan’s Darwin friends. We went out on the town and even though Callan and I were exhausted when we returned to his home, we lit up some sparklers he’d saved for me so I could celebrate Independence Day the American way. He lit sparklers as well and listened to my rendition of “America the Beautiful,” probably one of the only Aussies to celebrate the American 4th.

Sarah with sparklers

Celebrating Independence Day while half a world away.

The next day my friend Glen and his brother David picked me up and we drove to Katherine. There I stayed with Glen’s family for a couple days, eating meals under the overhangs of the industrial shed turned home they live in. Like how the Weasley’s call their home “The Burrow” in Harry Potter, Glen’s family calls their home “The Shed.” While the rooms are sealed from wildlife entering them, the four main doors to the central living area remain open. They shared stories of snakes slithering above the dining table on the rafters and hearing wallaby tails hit the concrete floor as they hop through at night. During breakfast the wallabies were still often hanging about waiting for carrots to be tossed to them, including a mama wallaby with a joey in her pouch.

Glen and I toured all of his favorite spots in Katherine from Knotts Crossing to the low-level bridge to the incredible Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park. Each place came with its own crocodile warnings, and Glen pointed out some crocodile traps along the river banks. People were still swimming or kayaking at each stop! Even Glen and I waded around in the water at low-level bridge. After spending hot days out in the Australian sun it was nice the relax back at The Shed with Glen’s family and friends. His mom invited some of her colleagues over the last night for dinner so I could ask them some questions about their Indigenous cultures. During some dizzying explanations of Aboriginal family relations, we enjoyed fresh fish and kangaroo with rice.

Sarah and Glen selfie

Glen and I at the low-level bridge.

Sarah on deck overlooking gorge.

Posing at a gorge in Nitmiluk National Park.

My last day in the NT, Glen and I took a Nissan Patrol through Litchfield National Park on the way back to Darwin. It had a snorkel on it, a feature of many of the off-road vehicles in the NT. When water levels raise during the wet season, some people who live out bush have to ford through water just to get home. We didn’t have to ford any water because it was the dry season, but we did pass meter sticks informing drivers of water depth. After a brief stop in Adelaide River for some deep-fried broccoli, chicken, cheese balls, Glen and I checked out bush fires that were still burning, termite mounds several times the height of a person and the monsoon forest surrounding Wangi Falls. The park was breathtakingly beautiful, but also breathtakingly hot. As we drove off-road through the red dirt I found myself secretly praying the car wouldn’t break down because other cars didn’t pass by often and all that could be seen to either side were heaps of shadeless trees and bush. Finally I was experiencing the Australia I’d always imagined. I fell in love with the topography and the red dirt that clung to my shoes and water bottle, but I still didn’t want to be stranded out in it with no phone signal to call for help.

Sarah next to giant vertical "mound"

Me in comparison to a cathedral termite mound in Litchfield National Park.

SUV on road

Our trusty Patrol out on the red dirt roads.

We made it safely to Darwin and I spent my final hours in the NT exploring caves along the seaside cliffs with Callan and having dinner at the sailing club with his parents beside yet another gorgeous sunset. Callan gave me a book on the Top End as a gift before sitting in the airport with me until 2:25 a.m. for my flight back to Adelaide. I didn’t want to leave and cried for both the last time I would see Callan and Glen before leaving Australia and for having to leave the warmth and sunsets of the NT. Adelaide is great, but in the span of one week Top End stole my heart. It turns out the Australia I love the best is the Australia everyone imagines. The Australia full of animals that can kill you and plants that provide no shade, but also the Australia of unsurpassable beauty. Callan said that’s great and all, but I have to come back and experience the wet season before I decide I want to move there. In the words of Barney Stinson, “Challenge accepted.”

Coastal Sunset

Can you blame me for wanting to move here?

View all posts by Sarah

Living Like a Czech

Kendall Machledt - Prague

After about two weeks in Prague, Czech Republic, I can finally say that I am beginning to get comfortable navigating the city and transitioning into the Czech customs.

I have certainly noticed a great deal of differences in culture thus far between home in Indiana and the Czech world. One of the most significant variations I have come across, and also my favorite, is the immense amount of dogs all over the city. And by all over, I mean on the trams, the metro (subway), the trains, inside shopping malls, and all over the sidewalks. These are the best-behaved dogs I have seen in my life. Most of them walk unleashed and just stick by their owner’s side.

On trams and the metro the dogs immediately lay under their human’s seat for the duration of the ride. The most common dogs in Prague definitely are of the smaller variety. There are so many variations of Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, and small Poodles. It is very common for people to carry their dogs in bags or their purses. It has been fun and intriguing to see how much Czechs incorporate their dogs into their culture and everyday life. The extreme presence of dogs does have a downside, however. Everywhere I walk, I have to make sure I am not about to step in a puddle (or mound) of hound droppings. It has been surprising to see how common it is for dog owners to not clean up after their pet on the streets.

Another key difference in the Czech Republic as compared to Indiana is how people treat others in public spaces. I was warned that Czechs are not the friendliest people, and that has definitely been accurate. It is expected for one to avoid looking at others, and especially making eye contact, while walking past them in any given place. It has been quite an adjustment for me to not look people in the eye and to avoid friendlily smiling at strangers. This custom does come in handy in the mornings however, when it is too early for class and you do not feel like talking to anyone anyway.

The language barrier is definitely a real thing here in the Czech Republic. Luckily, there are a lot of English speakers in Prague since it is such a large city. That being said, however, it is still questionable whether ordering food at any given restaurant will be a challenge or not. I have had an especially difficult time in regards to eating in the Czech Republic. Being a vegetarian, I knew that I was not putting myself in the simplest of situations by studying abroad in a meat-saturated country. Therefore, I have become quite familiar with the local grocery stores and outdoor markets. I often have to resort to brining along my own snacks on day trips and outings when the meals are not already planned.

Even though I have only been in Prague for a relatively short period of time, it is already beginning to feel like home. This past weekend each class went on a three-day trip to another place in the Czech Republic. Although it was interesting exploring other parts of the country, everyone was ready to get back to Prague – the city we have grown to know and love.

Kendall Machledt - discovering new cultures abroad

Must-Do’s in Berlin

Erica Ewen

As I really get settled in to my temporary life in Berlin, I’ve experienced a few things that are a must if you are ever to make it here yourself. Most are free or only cost a few euro and are well worth the time and money – you won’t regret it!

The Berliner Dom (or cathedral) is a must see and I highly suggest you purchase the audio tour version, which is just a headset you rent that accompanies you for only 3 euro extra. The architecture and history of the Dom are amazing and it is in the heart of Berlin’s Museum Island, so it doesn’t have to be your only stop!

inside the Dom

Other than the main room of worship, there are multiple other floors you can access along with the crypt in the basement and a 360 degree walkway around the top of the Dom which comes with unbelievable views!

looking over Berlin

Another must-see in Berlin on Sundays is the flea market in Mauer Park. It has a little bit of everything for everybody with street music, food, and knickknacks galore. I sipped on some fresh squeezed orange juice while walking around, looking at the many interesting things different people had to offer. One of my favorite booths had boxes and boxes full of the neatest doorknobs. Odd find, but I’m sure they would give flare to any welcoming door.

150630c

The doorknobs and OJ were just a drop in the bucket of what this flea market had to offer. I went back last week just to watch the people and get more juice!

If you’ve done all these things in one day, odds are you are ready for some food! A Turkish-German staple here in Berlin is the Döner. It comes in many variations depending on where you get it, but always has meat, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and an array of sauces, if you so choose. It is comparable to a Greek gyro, but is really in its own category.

150630d

I’ve had several since I’ve been here and I haven’t had a bad one yet. I can already tell I’m going to miss them when I’m back home. A few more weeks to go, but I’m loving it here!

Erica Ewen - exploring German History through experience

What the Spaniards Taught Me

Katie Bosler

I’ve been home from Barcelona, Spain for a little over a week now, and as predicted, I can’t believe it’s over.

No, I haven’t experienced major ‘re-culture shock’, or felt overwhelmingly sad to be home. But I do find myself thinking about this past semester all day, every day and it almost feels like it never even happened. The friends that I spent the most time with there are spread out across the states, with different summer plans and jobs. I no longer have anyone to relate to about my journeys and experiences, which has left me not talking about them very much at all. You can see why it feels like it almost was a dream.

Now, I’m experiencing an awkward stage to the start of summer—no one else is done with school yet, and a large amount of my friends are still across the pond, enjoying their last trips throughout Europe. Despite the short time home, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on my time in Barcelona and everything it taught me.

While its hard to piece together every little thing that I’ve learned and gained from being overseas, I find myself comparing the American culture that I’ve been thrown back into to what I experienced in Spain. There are many things I loved and learned from the Spaniards. I think we can all benefit from their unique outlook on life.

Here are some of my favorite lessons:

1. Experiment with tapas

In Spain, when you can’t quite decide on just one entrée for your lunch or dinner, there’s a solution—tapas. Tapas, the Spanish term for appetizers, are fun to order when you’re dining with a group and feeling indecisive about your meal. Ranging from eggs (tortilla), iberian ham, fish, bread with tomato sauce (pan con tomate), vegetables, fries (patatas braves), and more, you can try just about every category of food in one sitting. This makes the meal more exciting, you never know exactly what you’re going to end up with!  The portions are designed for everyone to share, so you’ll never have to worry about leaving hungry.

tapas

A standard tapas dish, a selection of meats including different hams and salami

2. Sit down and enjoy your meal

This took awhile for my friends and I to get used to when we first started dining out in Spain. We would order our food, receive it very quickly, and finish it in an alarmingly fast speed that is the norm in America. After a few days of waiting over forty minutes for our check after we finished our meals, we realized that sitting and chatting for an hour or more after eating was expected, and it would be odd if we didn’t do that. After awhile, we got very used to this custom and enjoyed elongating our meals with more chitchat.

3. Say “Hello” to everyone

While I view America as a very friendly country, I was pleasantly surprised at how welcome I felt everywhere I went in Barcelona and the rest of Spain. Whether you’re entering a clothing store, grocery, restaurant, or simply walking along the street, everyone says hello, regardless if you know them or not. By just by walking past someone, or coming within a few feet of them, it is customary to say, “Hola, buenas!” (hello) and acknowledge their presence. This would often make my day as I would be greeted by multiple strangers that I passed by.

4. Relax—There’s no rush

In Spain, no one is in a rush. This applies to almost every kind of situation that we find ourselves in here in the U.S. Spaniards simply like to take their time, and don’t believe it’s necessary to get all worked up with anxiety about being late (which makes life a heck of a lot easier). For example, waiting in long lines, waiting for the bill, or waiting a very long time for assignments to be returned are all very normal things there.

As a student, it was hard to understand how they could delay returning test scores and assignments for such long periods of time, but after awhile I enjoyed not having to spaz out about how I did on a test because I had a few weeks until I had to worry about it. You accept that things will get done when they get done, and its as simple as that!

5. Puente (long weekend)

The Spanish word ‘puente‘ means bridge, and it used to describe long weekends in Spain. Spain, and Europe in general, are notorious for having a large number of holidays and vacation days compared to what American companies offer. Spaniards will often have Thursdays, Fridays, or Mondays off of work. Also, during the summer, they will find themselves with several weeks in a row off for holiday, which is part of the reason they get to be such avid travelers. I had several puentes throughout my time in Spain, and I appreciated them very much as I was able to extend my weekend travels a day or two longer.

travel group

My travel buddies and I on a ‘puente’ weekend in Amsterdam!

6. Get outside of the house

This might have been one of my favorite Spanish customs. The Spaniards are constantly outside, spending time in their neighborhood parks, streets, or simply enjoying their meals outside. I loved coming home to my neighborhood, El Putxet, everyday after class around 6:00 p.m.  I knew I would get to see many families with their youngsters and dogs gathered around the park and streets, socializing with each other. This social scene took place before dinner, which wouldn’t be until 9 or 10 pm. It’s a perfect time to unwind from a busy day and catch up with your neighbors.

Barcelona beach

When the end of April hits, the beach becomes a prime destination for Spaniards in Barcelona

As I’m settling back home in Indiana, I hope that these lessons of Spanish life will always stay with me. I know my time overseas has changed the way I view the world and myself. I am a different person four months later. I now hope to focus more on the moment, say a hearty “hello” to passing strangers walking by and live life at a Spanish pace.

View all posts by Katie

My Aussie Addiction

Sarah Whaley

I am in love with Australia: the people, the weather, the places and everything in between. Though only a week has passed since my arrival, I already see myself returning. And every time someone mentions I only have 5 months left, I cringe. While I love my friends and family back home, I have yet to feel homesick once. It’s a bit overwhelming trying to satisfyingly summarize this past week of sunny days, but I will do my best by breaking it down to the simplest reasons Australia has taken my heart captive (insert “country colonized by convicts” joke here).

Reason #1: The People

I was told before boarding my first plane I was headed to the land of some of the kindest people in the world. While the thought was comforting, it wasn’t reality until my second plane hit the pavement in Melbourne. While waiting for my connecting flight to Adelaide, I met some native Adelaidians who eagerly shared everything I should do and see in the city. Then on the flight I sat next to an older couple who adopted me for a couple of hours and helped me into the airport, where I was greeted by two peers from St Mark’s College, the residential college I am staying at throughout my exchange program. A fro co (frozen Coke) from Macca’s (McDonald’s) and a night of games later, I had made my first friends. No need to have been so worried.

Even those I would not necessarily consider friends, such as the lady who set me up with a Westpac bank account, are unforgivably friendly. (“Unforgivably” because it’s nearly impossible to return their favors.) They say the Midwest is one of the friendliest parts of America, but we have nothing on the Aussies. They don’t just point you to where you need to go when you ask for directions, they walk you there. Now I think about it, I have yet to see an Aussie mad (except in jest). And that’s another thing. They all have a brilliant sense of humor and a resilience you wouldn’t expect in a county supposedly always trying to kill you with wildlife and riptides.

Not only are the locals amazing and full of stories, but being an international student has thrown me into a mix of people from all corners of the world. My tightest group of friends here met during international orientation week by a series of introductions to friends of friends. Now I’m regularly hanging out with friends from Italy, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Chile, France, Lebanon and Egypt. Perhaps our similar situation of being students in a new country drove us together so quickly, but I already wouldn’t trade a single one of them for the world. Plans are already being made for traveling together and making home visits once the semester is over.

my international friends

Some international friends and I.

Reason #2: The Weather

If the people weren’t enough to get me out of bed with a smile every morning, the weather would be my motivation. Though a couple of days have been incredibly hot (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit), I am loath to complain. Especially since my friends and family back home have been sending me shots of snow. I do not miss it and if I had a choice I would never return to it. My body was built for warmth and my mood was designed for sunshine. Here, I have plenty of both. They weren’t kidding when they said Adelaide is the driest Australian city either. The other day it rained for about five seconds. Though I’ve been told Adelaide can get cool in the winter, I am certain I will be the American out and about in short sleeves. I am also certain the Aussies will still be wearing thongs (flip-flops).

Adelaide from the air

Adelaide from the air.

Reason #3: The Places

This section is better told in pictures than in words:

My first impression of my new home was my room at St Mark’s. A queen size bed, two-story tall ceilings and a fireplace were waiting for me. The rest of the residential campus is beautiful too: the lawns are large, the buildings are old and architecturally interesting and the flora are labeled in case you’re interested in knowing their names.

my spacious living quarters

My spacious living quarters.

I didn’t get to see the city until the first day, but as cliché as it sounds the first glimpse took my breath away. Though the city of Adelaide is large and reasonably busy, the streets and parks are also large which helps the whole place breathe. The public transportation is easy, and from my location nearly everything is within walking distance. The walks are not dull either, but colored by the River Torrens, the numerous sculptures that hint at the artistic bent of the city and the birds (only found in zoos at home).

first glimpse of the city

First glimpse of the city.

If the city was breathtaking it was nothing compared to the campus of Uni (University of Adelaide). IU is comparably beautiful, but not quite as full of waterfalls and bridges covered in locks left by hopeful lovers. It is unreal thinking I will be taking classes there and eating lunch on the lawns in a week.

enjoying green space

Enjoying the campus green spaces.

One of the seasonal highlights here is the Adelaide Fringe and the accompanying Garden of Unearthly Delights. The festival celebrates non-traditional arts, and the Garden is full of food and drink vendors and shows. I even braved one of the pop-up fair rides with a little bit of cider courage, then spent the rest of the night laughing with my international friends as we took up three benches under the light-strung trees.

Garden of Unearthly Delights

The Garden of Unearthly Delights.

Before I left for Australia, I swore I wasn’t going to touch the water. Instead I ate my words the third day and dove into the Gulf St Vincent off of Glenelg Beach. The salt stung my eyes only at first and the water was pleasant, but everyone kept looking out for sharks. Adelaide is fairly safe from shark-traffic compared to Sydney or Melbourne, but even a dolphin fin would have had us out of the water in seconds.

Glenelg Beach at sunset

Glenelg Beach at sunset.

During a break in the international orientation schedule, a few friends and I grabbed our cameras and headed to the Botanic Gardens of South Australia. A better decision has never been made. But you’ll have to see for yourself.

Flower at botanical gardens.

A small taste of the beauty.

This is my walk to and from Uni every day. Enough said.

River Torrens

Walk along the River Torrens.

Reason #4: Everything in Between

By now I hope it’s understood why I never want to leave. But just in case someone is in need of a few more reasons: Tim Tams, Chupa Chups lollipops, the barby (barbecue), field trips to Victor Harbor, the sincerity of “no worries, mate” and this photo.

Me with a kangaroo

Kangaroo selfie.

View all posts by Sarah

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