So I’ve been at UNE for about a week now. UNE is the University of New England. It is located in a little town called Armidale, which is basically in the middle of the mountains and it is known as the highest city in Australia. It is so beautiful here and so green. The weather has been absolutely perfect all week with sunny and clear skies. The campus is technically very small but it is also very spread out. Its about a 15-20 min walk to the campus, but it is also very hilly – that means I won’t have to go to the gym (just kidding). But it will definitely help with staying fit while here. Apparently I’m going to seriously need it due to the crazy amount of drinking that will be going on, especially during O-week. O-week is the orientation here and it consists of normal school related stuff , but after that it consists of group bonding activities with a large entirety of drinking EVERY NIGHT (except Wednesday which is sober night). I didn’t realize how big the drinking culture is here, but don’t worry I don’t give into that stuff. Here I live in a college called Austin College. Being in a college is the equivalent of a dorm, but each college is like its own little community that does everything together. We also don’t normally interact with other colleges unless we play them in sports. After learning a little more about it, it sounds kind of like being in a frat or sorority because there is a bit of beginning rituals that occur however, my college doesn’t have as much as some other colleges.
O-week has been very tiring but also very fun. Everybody arrived on Sunday, and it was kind of awkward when everyone was arriving because I was just kind of sitting there already settled in, but the weirdness slowly went away after a couple hours. The first thing we had was a block meeting, where he went over housekeeping things like rules and expectations. Then we had dinner and got ready for Trivia night where there was a mix of trivia competitions and other little games. It was fun and that’s where I learned what skulling is. They sing a song and the person they sing it about has to chug their drink until they’re done with it – good way to get wasted easy. After the trivia activities we went up to our college’s bar, which is a licensed bar, but we are lucky because we are the only college that has one. Monday morning we went up to campus for the commencement ceremony which is their welcome ceremony. Pretty boring but they played a bag pipe and it seemed like a pretty big deal for Australians. They were streaming it live to the other UNE colleges as well. After the ceremony I left because there was an academic talk, which I was told, I didn’t have to go to because I’m not in my first year at a university. Monday night was R & B night and Gearsticks and Motors, which is wear the girls and boys split up to do bonding type stuff separately, then we met up at a pub in town. Tuesday was life-saver day which is basically their get involved fair where groups and outside companies come in to advertise. I signed up for a rural science club where I could get my AI license for free! We took the fresher picture and then went to the sports Olympiad between the colleges. It was fun and there was even volleyball, but it was especially frustrating cause of the ref and the fact that nobody knew how to play volleyball. People thought I was amazing and thought it was cool that I almost played in college… if only they knew how good volleyball in America actually is. Overall we would have won if the ref wasn’t so impartial because it came down to a tie and we lost the tug of war because we had to use girls and boys and the other colleges girls had gone to a talk with an ex-cop. He talked about sexual assault and a strategies of getting out of a sticky situation – go along with it then say you have to go to the bathroom and escape. Tuesday night was back to school night where we had drinking games in the Dining room of our college.Wednesday was academic stuff for freshers which I didn’t have to go to so I got a ride into town. I finally got my bank account and hung out doing shopping with my friends. When we got back we all took a nap together than then had a slip n slide flip cup thing. It was super fun and our block won. The last 2 races I got the cup on the first try and in the grand final I came from behind to win it for us!!! It was an awesome feeling and Thea (my friend) got a great video of it. Wednesday night was sober night and movie night in the courtyard. We watched “Get hard” which was pretty stupid but it was nice to just chill out and get to bed early. Today is Thursday and I went to SportUNE this morning (our rec center) and got my membership, worked out, then came back and have been doing random stuff every since.
The people here are super laid back and they don’t care about stupid little things. I have been hanging out with a group of 4-6 girls. Thea, Sabrina, Ellie, Holly, and Reanna, and Annie. They are all 18 except Thea (who turns 18 Sunday). They are really nice and chill and I can tell that we’re already good friends because they like to give me stupid crap, but in our day and age that’s a sign of affection and friendship. So far I am very happy here and all I really love the atmosphere!
Saturday I am taking a trip with some international students to a national park called Dorrigo, which is about an hour-hour and 1/2 away. It should be super awesome because a part of it is a rainforest.
Next blog I’ll let you know how it all goes!!!
Things I have learned:
- They shorten everything here, for ex. breakfast = brekky, Sunglass = Sunnies, Dining room = Dino, Courtyard = Corto… etc.
- College is a big deal depending on where you are from – most people don’t go very far from home.
- Australians love American accents… I know, weird.
- French fries = chips
Pictures to come later!!!