Amanda Blog 9: Manchester, I am back!

By Amanda Chan (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia).

So here I am, back in Manchester, typing up what might possibly be my last blog post on ‘Manchester on the road’. Even after being back in Manchester for a month, I still couldn’t believe how I have already finished my exchange in Australia. Anyway, let me update you guys on how I am coping.

Questions to expect when you are back: How was your time in Australia? Do you miss Australia? Are you keeping in touch with your friends? How is it like being back? What is the biggest difference?

As you can tell from my previous blog posts, I have had a great time in Australia. I do wish I could have stayed longer, travel more but well there are just so little time and so much you want to do. And yes, even being in touch with my friends I still miss them and I miss Australia. It is nice to be back in Manchester though. There were some weird moments when I first set foot back in Manchester, when everything looks the same but feels different as I have been away for half a year. But once I got to meet all my friends, and hear them say “It’s nice having you back, it feels like you were never away”, all the weird feelings were gone.

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first night back in Manchester with my housemates

The weather in Australia and Manchester has to be the biggest difference and hardest to cope with. Even though Canberra can get quite chilly at night and in winter, the coldness in Manchester is on another level and the rain makes it even worse. After having several walks under the rain in Manchester, and being emerged in the typical Manchester weather where you get sun, cloud, rain and hail all in an hour of the day. Together with layering up to deal with the cold and neglecting the fact that I miss the weather in Australia a lot, I can announce that I am fully used to the weather in Manchester and I am coping well.

Talking about the weather and rain, I have been keeping up with exercising and playing Frisbee in Australia, hoping not to fall behind when I get back to training in Manchester. But it seems like I have miscalculated as I forgot to rule into account the weather difference. Running on dry, fully managed grassland under the sun and running on muddy, barely managed parkland under the rain is totally different. I felt like I couldn’t run nor change direction during my first training back in Manchester, playing sports outdoor on the muddy ground is what I am still coping with now. However, getting to play with my teammates again and laugh about being muddy makes everything better. 🙂

My time at Australia was also a nice and refreshing break where you get to do courses you couldn’t do in Manchester and that reinforced my passion in my degree. Thanks to the multiple meetings and chains of emails with my academic advisors, I have realized after just having weeks of lectures how well the modules I did in ANU last semester links with what I am doing at UoM this semester.

Lastly, some reminder for international students who are/ are considering going abroad. This only applies to those who have been to police registration when they first came to UK, if you are not sure, please go to https://portalcms.manchester.ac.uk/crucial-guide/academic-life/immigration/policeregistration/. Unfortunately, our university website doesn’t notify us that we have to report to the police if we will be leaving UK for more than two months in which if you are studying abroad you will. You will have to report any changes in address or other status and when you come back to Manchester after studying abroad within 7 days as well. For more information, please refer to http://www.getready.salford.ac.uk/page/policeregistration.

Even though this might be my last blog post here, feel free to email me asking about my degree, my time abroad or getting into Ultimate Frisbee.

See you! 🙂

Amanda Blog 8: Recap and Reflection

By Amanda Chan (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia).

Time flies, and exceptionally fast when you are having a good time. That is how I feel over the past 5 months, past year. It’s unbelievable that not only my time abroad in ANU, Australia has already come to an end, but also the year of 2013. Year end is always a good time to do some recap and reflection and this is what I am going to do in this blog, to look back into my exchange times.

Here is a slideshow summarizing the things I have done during my time in ANU

For more details about some of the activities, please refer to my previous blogs. For people interested in Ultimate Frisbee, here is a recorded game when we (ANU) played against UNSW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTFH5Hk83Zw

Academic life was a huge part of the exchange as well because the grades will be accounted towards my degree in University of Manchester. Hence, time was also needed for revision and study. (For more about academics, please refer to my previous blog.) It was great to know that I have achieved what I want academically during my time abroad. Remember: Work hard, play hard!

There are just too much I wanted to do and too little time. I got to travel around South-Eastern Australia, but I didn’t get to go to the other parts and New Zealand. I had a chance to keep playing ultimate Frisbee, but I didn’t get to learn surfing. Even so, I have had some of the best moments of my life, choosing to do a semester abroad was one of my best decisions in life and I have no regrets. It’s alright to not have done everything I wanted to because I already think I have used my time to the fullest and because I know I will go back to Australia again.

Last but not least, thanks to all the people that I have met, that have helped me and that I have be friends with. Thanks for making my exchange life so wonderful and memorable, thanks for making everything so fun.  J

My next blog will be posted when I am back in Manchester, excited!!!!!!

Amanda Blog 7: Exploring the capital of Australia

By Amanda Chan (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia).

Do you know what the capital of Australia is? When I told my friends that I am going to the capital of Australia, the common respond I got was either “is it Sydney?” or “is it Melbourne?”. It is Canberra! Canberra was built to be the capital in 1908 as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, the two largest cities in Australia. After spending time at ANU which is situated in Canberra, I have decided to explore the place and spread the words, so more people will get to know Canberra and the fact that it is the capital of Australia.

As a celebration of the 100th birthday of Canberra, the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) Government provided the Centenary Loop bus which operates every weekend for free to some of Canberra’s national icons and attractions.

The first stop after getting on the bus at the city centre is Australian War Memorial. To pay respect to the war hero, the old and new parliament house are both directly facing the War Memorial. So at the entrance of the memorial, you could get a good view of the parliament houses.

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the view from war memorial

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After building the new parliament house in 1988, the old parliament house was turned into a Museum of Australian Democracy. Both of them are open for public access.

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Old parliament house
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New parliament house

At the National Film and Sound Archive, other than portraying the history of Australian film and sound industry, there was also an exhibit showcasing the names that were considered to be the capital of Australia, ‘Sydmeladperho ‘ was one of them, probably representing Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

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Suggested names for Australia’s capital

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Other stops include National Gallery of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, National Library of Australia, National Archives of Australia and National Museum of Australia.

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National Gallery of Australia

Besides the loop bus, another way to explore Canberra is to cycle or walk around the Lake Burley Griffin. While doing so, you might hear music coming from the National Carillon, from time to time. The Carillon, a musical instrument comprising 53 bronze bells, was a gift from the British Government for 50th anniversary of Canberra.

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Along the lake, you would also find series of plinths marking the Australians of the Year. The plinths were not placed randomly, they were placed on five metal strips, in musical note position to the score of Australia’s national anthem.

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Canberra has two main mountains, namely Mount Ainslie and Black Mountain. You could enjoy a brilliant view of Canberra on both mountains. The Telstra tower is situated on Black Mountain which will give you a height advantage.

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View from Mount Ainslie
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View from Black Mountain
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view from Telstra Tower

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Under the Black Mountain is the Australian National Botanic Garden. Just like any other Botanic gardens, you could expect a large variety of plants and leisure walking paths. There is also a Eucalyptus Rainforest.

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Last but not least, there is the Cockington Green Gardens where you can see the miniatures. There is a model village based on British architectures and model of some of the most famous international attractions.

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Amanda Blog 6: Places to go and things to do in Brisbane

By Amanda Chan (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia).

After my adventure in Sydney (as mentioned in blog 4), my next trip around Australia was to Brisbane, the capital of Queensland. The cheaper, better way for us to travel to Brisbane from Canberra was to take a coach to Sydney then fly to Brisbane. As people have been saying, an advice is that the earlier you plan your trip, the cheaper the tickets will be.

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Brisbane was named after the river on which it sits, so the best way to tour around Brisbane is definitely along the Brisbane River. To make things more convenient and dedicate to a better Brisbane, the Brisbane City Council operates the CityCat ferry. You could hop on and off the ferry unlimited times within two hours with one ticket.

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Even though University of Queensland and Northshore Riverside Park was the two end of the ferry route, we started our journey in South Bank out of convenience. South Bank is where the city beach, the wheel of Brisbane and most of the museums situated. Out of all museums, the Gallery of Modern Art is recommended.

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We happened to be at Brisbane when it was the Brisbane Festival. South Bank was also the place where you could enjoy the light show the best.

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Our next stop was Riverside, a place filled with modern skyscrapers. You could also walk to china town and other market place from this ferry stop. We managed to find a special Brazilian market and had some delicious lunch.

Our last ferry stop before going back to the South Bank was New Farm, to go to the Brisbane Powerhouse and New Farm Park. The Powerhouse was built in 1927-28 for the Brisbane Trams and was renovated as a modern entertainment hub in 2000. You could enjoy some free music, standup comedy or other performing arts show at the Powerhouse. Graffiti could also be seen here and there at the Powerhouse, adding an artistic feel to the building. Chilling or having a picnic at the New Farm Park outside the Powerhouse would be a great follow-up event.

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When it comes to scenery, mountains always come with water. And in Brisbane, together with the Brisbane River, there is Mount Coot-tha. Mount Coot-tha has the highest peak in Brisbane. You could choose to drive up or hike up to the peak where you could see Brisbane from the top. The best time to go is of course during sunset.

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Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is one of the most famous tourist spot in Brisbane and is highly recommended if you would like to get close to animals while being charged at a fair price. Other than koala, the sanctuary also has kangaroos, platypus, wombat and other animals.

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A rare situation where the koala is on the floor

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There might be special events during different times of the year, You could go to http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/whats-on/index.htm to find out the current featured events in Brisbane to plan a better trip.

Amanda Blog 5: Academic Experience

By Amanda Chan (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia).

Just in case you haven’t seen blog posts on academic similarities or differences by other global ambassadors, let’s start with a myth buster. There is the myth or impression that exchange/ study abroad students don’t have to work hard, they can travel around and chill since all they need is a pass. I am not sure about other universities, but for most exchange/ study abroad students from UoM, marks from abroad are going to be converted and will contribute to your final degree grade in Manchester. So, always WORK HARD, PLAY HARD.

I am glad that to me, the general outline of courses (or what we usually call modules) in ANU are similar to that in UoM. However, this differs from faculty to faculty so fortunately enough, I didn’t need to spend a lot of time getting used to the new academic system. So let’s break down the similarities and differences between ANU and UoM. (*there might be differences depending on the courses you choose)

University of Manchester V.S. Australian National University
-Course information posted on blackboard -Course information posted on wattle
-Only Powerpoint slides provided on blackboard -Powerpoint slides and recordings provided on wattle
-Around 2 sections per course each week -Around 3 sections per course each week
-Have practical, field trips and or seminars -Have practical, field trips and or tutorials
-There are Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) session for some courses, conducted by students who studied the course in previous year
-Seminars mostly conducted by lecturer -Tutorials mostly conducted by tutor, not lecturer/ conveyer
-Both lectures and seminars take attendance -Only tutorials take attendance
-Possible to have courses without exams -Possible to have courses without exams
-Final Exam contributes to less than 50% of the final mark -Final Exam contributes to less than 50% of the final mark
-No mid semester exam -Possible to have mid semester exam
-Other than numbers, marks could be graded as first class, second-first, second-second, third or fail -Other than numbers, marks could be graded as High Distinction, Distinction, Credit, Pass or fail
-40% as passing mark -50% as passing mark
-Computer labs with PC -Computer labs with PC and Mac
-Assignments submission in soft and sometimes hard copy as well -Assignments submission in soft and sometimes hard copy as well
-Turn-it-in is used to assess plagiarism -Turn-it-in is used to assess plagiarism
-We could address lecturers by first name -We could address lecturers by first name
-Questions and participation throughout lectures are encouraged -Questions and participation throughout lectures are encouraged
-There is required and recommended readings for each lecture -There is required and recommended readings for each lecture

Last but not least, one of the main differences between my academic experience in ANU and UoM was choosing courses and working out my own timetable. When I was in Manchester, most modules are compulsory and hence, I didn’t have to choose what modules to take and the timetable is worked out for me. As for ANU, I have to choose all courses on my own, with the guidance of academic advisors. I also have to work out timetable clashes and choose different tutorial timeslots to avoid or minimize clashes. The timetable builder on ANU website (http://timetable.anu.edu.au/class/modules/byo.asp) helped a lot. Since you get to pick all the courses you take, other than judging on topics and course structure, you could choose them base on your references like assignment components, lectures and tutorials hour, work load etc. And needless to say, always try to pick courses that you are interested in but could not take in your home university.

All in all, I am enjoying my time abroad and am happy with the course choices I made. Hope that you will as well. 🙂

Amanda Blog 4: My adventure in Sydney

By Amanda Chan (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia).

As mentioned in my first blog post, travelling around Australia is one of the things I wanted to do during my exchange time at ANU. So why not start at Sydney, the iconic city of Australia and the biggest city closest to Canberra. So far I have been to Sydney twice during my time here, once to visit my relatives in Sydney and the second with other exchange students I met in Ursula.

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Instead of starting off in the city centre of Sydney like most people would do, I chose to begin my journey in the magical Blue Mountain, one of 15 World Heritage places included in the National Heritage List. However, there is just too much to do in the Blue Mountains and too little time so I only went to the Jenolan Caves, which is filled with limestone and is the oldest discovered open caves in the world. Once you bought tickets for any of their tours, you would receive a free tour and discounts for other tours which will last for a year.

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Other than normal walking tours, I also did an adventure tour where you have to wear helmet, headlight and climb with ropes. It was really fun!

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For more information on the Jenolan Caves, please go to http://www.jenolancaves.org.au/

20/7 @ South Coast and Harbour Bridge

In order to allow me to have a taste and glimpse of Australian beaches and coastline, my relatives in Sydney took me on a car tour along the South Coast. According to Wikipedia, the South Coast refers to the narrow coastal belt from Sydney in the north to the border with Victoria in the south, in the south-eastern part of the State of New South Wales. We got there when it was sunset which made the magnificent scenery even prettier. Even though it was too cold for a swim, the view of the coastline was breathtaking.

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As a proof of being in Sydney, we went to the Harbour Bridge at night. It was looking at the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera house, the two iconic and postcard like view, when I felt like it was for real that I am currently in Australia.

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21/7 @ Sydney Fish Market

Have you ever had fresh seafood as breakfast? I had. To give myself energy before my 3-hour-ride back to Canberra for the start of the semester, I went to the Sydney Fish Market for breakfast. You can see them opening the oyster, cutting the sashimi and cooking the seafood you ordered. It was delicious.

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16/8 @ Hyde Park –> St. Mary’s Cathedral –> Royal Botanic Garden –> Sydney Opera House –> Darling Harbour

Our first plan of the day was to go to the Royal Botanic Garden but we were fascinated by the view of Hyde Park and went there first instead. Hyde Park is the oldest public parkland in Australia in the central business district of Sydney. If you happen to be there, do go to the Archibald Fountain, it is highly likely that you would see a rainbow or two.

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Before we arrived at the Botanic Garden, we made another stop to the St. Mary’s Cathedral. It has the greatest length of any church in Australia. Similar to most cathedral, the outer and interior structures were gorgeous and worth the stop. Too bad we could not capture the interior on camera.

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The Art Gallery of New South Wales was also really close to the Botanic Garden. It was a pity that we did not have the time to go in but it is strongly recommended.

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Finally, we arrived at our ‘first’ stop, the Royal Botanic Garden. We definitely came at a right time, it was not crowded and it was almost spring so flowers were blooming. We also listened to the suggestion from the lady in the information centre and got a perfect view of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

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We then proceed to the Sydney Opera House which is right outside the Botanic Garden and discovered the construction idea of the Opera House.

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After taking a rest at the hostel that we were staying, we walked to the Darling Harbour. We first went to the Chinese garden of friendship.

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Then casually walk around the harbour, taking photos of the fountain, admiring the well-facilitated kids’ playground and discovered the Sign for the Dream, the Olympic Journey Celebration Pathway Mural. It was like a snakes made from plates of wishes with some good quotes. Here are some of them.

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After that, we went to the National Maritime Museum, which is the only Federal government operated museum located outside of Australian Capital Territory (Canberra).

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Next, we went to the Madame Tussauds Sydney, which was one of our main purposes of going to the Darling Harbour. The stars in there are of course legends and mostly Australians, but other than that, they were also picked together with some of their famous quotes. “If you just be safe about the choices you make, you don’t grow” by Heath Ledger.

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The Darling Harbour is really pretty at night. There is also LED wall on two of the buildings at the Darling Quarter which could be manually controlled by us. It was fun! We played the classic game snakes on the wall and wrote our names.

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17/8 @ Manly Beach –> Dee Why Beach –> the Rocks –> Sydney Olympic Park

We went to Circular Quay early in the morning to catch a ferry for Manly Beach and took a perfect glimpse of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the harbour. The beach was named manly by Captain Arthur Phillip inspired by the confidence and manly behaviour of the indigenous people living there.

manly from my friend Eric Ariake

The walk from Manly Beach to Dee Why Beach was around 6km and took us an hour. Thanks to the fantastic view which made our sweat worth it. We also passed by two other beaches on our way, Queenscliff Beach and Curl Curl Beach.

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One our way back, since The Rocks, a tourist precinct and historic area of Sydney is just right next to the Circular Quay, we went there to have a look. Since Australia was once ruled by England, the building reminded me of Manchester. There was also a weekend market.

I personally believe that the best way to experience a country and get involved in its local culture is through sports and music, which is why our main purpose of this Sydney trip was to watch the rugby match at Sydney Olympic Parks –Australia Qantas Wallabies VS New Zealand All Blacks. There wasn’t as much chanting as I thought there would be but it was still a great game.

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18/8 @ Bondi Beach –> Sydney Tower Eye

When you are in Sydney on a sunny day, what else would be better than going to the Bondi Beach, one of the most famous beaches in Australia? It is also advisable to not just only stay in Bondi Beach, but to walk around as well, to the flat rock, to Tamarama and to Bronte Beach.

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After spending the whole morning and afternoon at Bondi, we went to the Sydney Tower when it’s sunset. The view was gorgeous and we chose the right time slot to go (5-7pm) when we can see how Sydney looks like during the day, sunset and at night. The ticket to the Sydney Tower Eye also includes a short 4D video clip introducing Australia.

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Even though my adventure in Sydney ends here, but no worries, my adventure in Australia is still ongoing and I will keep all of you posted. See you 🙂

Amanda Blog 3: Bush Week

By Amanda Chan (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia).

Bush week is the first week when school officially starts in the second semester at ANU, it is a bit like orientation week back in Manchester other than having lectures at the same time and this is where the fun events were held.

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To start the week off, kick off barbeque was held in the Union Court with free food and drinks.

On Wednesday, the Market Day and Leadership Bazaar (aka Freshers fair in Manchester) was held in the Union Court as well. Even though it is the beginning of the second semester in ANU rather than the beginning of school year, there were still a large variety of stalls ranging from cultural societies, hobbies societies to political and leadership societies. There were also a lot of freebies and discount, definitely an activity you cannot miss.

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Later that night was the ANUSA Band Night held in the ANU Bar which is a competition among student-formed bands with good judge and good prize. It was a great chance to listen to some free, wide-ranged and good quality music. There were also people dancing along on the dance floor.

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On the same night, an art show was held in Ursula Hall (where I live on campus) exhibiting some of the great talents we have in Ursula. It was actually a competition as well. Below are a few artworks that I liked.

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On Thursday, a petting zoo was opened in the Union Court. You can probably tell that it means that it is a small zoo where you can enter and pet the animals. Below are a few photos taken by the ANU Students’ Association during the event.

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Later that night was the Ursula Christmas in July Dinner. Because of seasonal difference, Christmas in Australia is during the summer time, which doesn’t really feel like Christmas time. Therefore, they have another celebration when it is nice and cold in July. With all the lovely decorations, it actually does feel like Christmas all over again!

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That pretty much sums up Bush Week. For staff and students to recover from the Christmas celebration and to enjoy the last day of Bush Week, there was no lecture on Friday. (Yay!!!)

After all the fun and adaptation, it is time to stay focus as seminars, tutorials, practical begins and lectures next week will no longer only be introductions.

28/7/13

Amanda Blog 2: Orientation Week

By Amanda Chan (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia).

I cannot believe that I have already been in Canberra for 2 weeks, these two weeks have been fun and enjoyable. Keep reading to find out what I did!

15/7-19/7 Orientation Week

The week before term officially starts is always orientation week, unlike Freshers Week back in Manchester, this is a bit more serious, more quiet and less fun. You will understand why in my next blog.

The first thing I had to do is to know and walk around where I live on campus. I got allocated into Ursula Hall, a catered residential hall located exactly opposite the building where I have most of my lectures.

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Just like most residential hall in Manchester, the room has a bed, basin, mirror, desk, chair, shelves, cupboards and even a table lamp.

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One special feature of Ursula is that each floor in each block will be allocated a theme (a movie or TV show) with a label of your basic information and a character in the theme stuck on the door. In this way, it is easier to know and find people around you. Take my floor as an example, we are Monster Inc. and I am Bile.

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DSC_0890 There are also quotes from the theme on the wall.

Next are the pretty boring but very important procedures, listening to welcoming speeches, getting your student ID, enrolling in courses, going on a campus tour and getting your OSHC card (all international students in Australia are required to get the Overseas Student Health Cover) Other than that, I do recommend all students going to ANU to join their SIGN mentoring programme (Student Information and Guidance Network). It is fun, free, with a lot of activities and you get a mentor!

There were also workshops and informative talks in which two of them were really interesting and caught my attention. One of them is mini-lectures held by students from the XSA, which is the Cross-Disciplinary Students Academy, designed to allow students to explore the curiosity and inquisitiveness of their minds and others.  Three topics were discussed: democracy, existence of aliens and manipulation & influence. It was thought-provoking. Another session was called Unismart, with more information available here: http://www.unismart.biz/experience-unismart. The speaker first caught our attention by claiming the more you drink, the better your studies will be (which he then clarified was the exact opposite!!) and a strip dance (transforming from suit to casual wear). The one and a half hour was so enjoyable that it only felt like half an hour. Other than being fun, the speaker still made is points clear and I still remember what he said without note-taking.

  1. Make friends by simply being yourself – don’t just stay in your room
  2. Work hard, play hard – maintaining a good balance will get you the high marks
  3. Don’t drink too much and NEVER drink drive
  4. Seek help when you need one – don’t be shy
  5. If you go to a beach in Australia, swim between the red and yellow flags

These are just a few of the key points that I think would be useful to everyone.

I will keep you updated on what is happening the coming week. 🙂

20/7/13

Amanda Blog 1: Leaving Home … again

By Amanda Chan (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia).

Welcome to my first blog post! Are you excited to come on a journey to Australia with me? At least I am.

Just in case you didn’t have the time to read my profile, I am originally from Hong Kong and have lived there most of my life. I have made one of my best decisions in life last year by coming to Manchester for University. Hence, the whole travelling alone, going on a long flight, studying abroad, saying goodbye thing is not new to me.

One of the main differences this time is that everything is more in a rush. Even though we got our nominations from the Study Abroad Unit in the beginning of semester 2, we still have to apply and wait for the official acceptance and eCOE (you will need this to apply for a visa) from the partner university (in my case Australian National University), then apply for Australia student visa while waiting anxiously for your exam results. Oh, and you will have to apply for accommodations in my case since over 90% of ANU students live in halls and book flight tickets as well. Once I have got my visa and am quite confident that my results will be over 60% (the minimum requirement for going on exchange and study abroad), I have got my bank account and got a Australian SIM card sorted out. All of the above has to be done in a month or two. So if you are thinking of studying abroad, plan earlier and manage your time wisely, never wait till the deadline, the earlier is always the better (for booking flights, the earlier the cheaper as well).

Since I am studying in the UK with a student visa as well, I noticed a few differences between the UK and Australia student visa. It might come in handy for viewers who want to study in either the UK or Australia. (Just in case if there are differences, I applied both visa in Hong Kong) For the AUS visa, all application processes can be done online, even the visa itself is an electronic one and is directly linked to your passport in their computer system. I still prepared a hard copy (together with my eCOE and the accommodation acceptance as well) for the custom to check. You will most probably need to do a medical check up in one of the recommended clinic for the AUS visa. As for the UK visa, even though some of the application processes can be done online, you will still have to visit the embassy in person to complete the application and the visa will be stuck on your passport. In most cases, you would not need a medical check up for it.

Another advice I got from past students is to pack light, to make the journey easier and prevent getting fines because of overweight luggage. This is what I brought, not the lightest, but within the weight limits of student flight ticket.Image

There are no direct international flights to Canberra, so I will have to get a domestic flight or coach or train or simply drive from Sydney to Canberra. And I have chosen to travel by car.

After finishing all the preparation work, I am good and ready to go with some spare time to write up a bucket list of things I wanted to do in Australia. I am already excited just by thinking what I can do there, attending all the interesting courses I have enrolled in, meeting acquaintances, getting to know and experience another culture, travelling around Australia in my spare time and maybe even learn a few new skills like surfing and scuba diving. Together with excitement there are always doubts. When it comes to Australia, Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland always get into the picture, and I don’t really know what Canberra is like. I am also slightly worried that since I will only be there for a semester and the results count to my degree in Manchester, will I adapt to this new environment quick enough to do well academically? However these doubts are soon buried by the overflowing excitements.

With all the excitement and a few doubts, I headed off to Canberra, to a semester I am looking forward to.

15/7/2013