by Karl Vikat (University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia).
Take-off – in about one and a half days Australia should be in my sight. Starting in Geneva, the Austrians will fly me from Vienna to Bangkok to Brisbane. I expect to be quite in a chronological mess with a 10 hour long pit-stop in the Thai capital, getting a slight taste from the day of Tom Hanks’ character in ‘Terminal’. Two weeks have gone by now since exams, giving me plenty of time for good-byes and to replenish energy-wise. I also found time to work on a rather big assignment that I have due in the end of April, considering that the deadline will come around sooner than later, since time in Australia will probably pass quickly. Knowing I would go abroad beforehand, I had rented uni-accommodation for one semester, avoiding the stress that goes with finding somebody to take over my accommodation. Finding accommodation in Brisbane will be enough of a hassle already. Similarly, although I had to go through medical examinations for my visa, the application process went over smoothly and it’s a good thing the Australians prefer to keep it easy, managing the process entirely electronically, via internet.
The excitement has had time to build up, the template appearance of airports will probably only be able to add so much, however, the knowledge of firstly setting one’s feet outside European grounds might just be the right counterbalance. I guess the last stage, when I arrive at the hostel and a few days after that will feel like quite a rush. In general, I expect the first weeks to be pretty intense, setting the time right, getting the administrative stuff done, fighting the fatigue, meeting new people, mapping the area in my head, trying to find a part-time job as well as trying to set up a new place to call home for half a year, yet this is precisely part of why I signed up for this. Although the circumstances are different, moving to Manchester to study abroad has previously already given me at least some idea of what to expect. I have given myself about two weeks before the semester starts to get most things sorted out, yet I doubt that things will fall in place that soon, rather in a month maybe. I worry that my schedule might get pretty packed quicker than expected and I also know that there are going to be a few if any constants before things get a bit more settled, yet I cannot wait to get started. The courses sound great and ultimately, excitement trumps anything right now, changing rainy cold European winter for sunny Brisbane and 5 months in Australia takes care of that.