By Ffion Davies, University of Queensland, Australia
It’s been almost 3 months since I arrived in Australia and I can’t believe how quick the time has gone!! I can safely say that these 3 months have been some of the best of my life. Since my last blog, I have been on a trip to Byron Bay with QUEST (International exchange society) and it happened to be my birthday this weekend too! I had the best time. I’ve also been camping in North Stradbroke Island, where we saw loads of kangaroos and a koala, Moreton Island, as well as a trip to Noosa with the society.
QUEST has given me the chance to meet some amazing, like-minded people who will be friends for life! I also watched one of the Women’s World Cup games as the stadium was only a 10-minute train journey from my flat. As well as watching my first Australian football game. Both were great experiences!
I visited the Whitsundays Island during the mid-semester break last week with some friends. We stayed in an Air b&b and had such a wholesome time. The day boat trip that we took allowed us to swim in the Great Barrier Reef which was one of the best experiences of my life! We even saw a clown fish (we found Nemo!) We also visited Whitehaven beach and from the view point looking down on it was one of the most spectacular views I have ever seen.
I have to admit that when I first arrived, I was so nervous about making friends. But the advice I would give is not to put pressure on yourself. It will happen eventually. It can be overwhelming at the start because there’s so much going on, with settling in, getting over the jet lag etc. My accommodation isn’t the most sociable, even though I have met people here I’m not as close with them. I was quite worried about this at the start but there have been plenty of opportunities to meet people in other ways like societies.
After having a week off for mid-semester it’s now time to face the reality of a long list of assessments. The workload for Criminology here is much more intense than UOM. First of all there are 4 modules instead of 3. Secondly, they set smaller assessments much more frequently. I like that my whole grade for the module doesn’t depend on 1 essay (which is normally the case in Manchester) but it is a lot more demanding. One positive from this is that it’s forced me to manage my time better as I like to take weekends off to spend time with my friends and explore. UQ (University of Queensland) also have a different grading system which takes some getting used to. They give a grade from 1-7 and the pass mark is 50%. The marking criteria are always very detailed and tailored for each assessment which is very helpful!
Adjusting to the time difference was something I found a little hard at the start. Especially when I was first settling-in and before uni had started. Because of the 9-hour time difference there were times I felt a little lost during the days as it was night time at home. And by the time everyone would wake up it was already evening here. But as I’ve gotten into the swing of things, started uni and made more friends I haven’t felt like that since the first few weeks. Facetime makes it easier to catch up with friends and I think that’s helped with not feeling homesick because I think when you can actually see someone when you’re talking to them it literally feels like they’re right there with you.