Melbourne Reflections

I can’t believe that after four months, my time in Melbourne is coming to an end. I remember the first day when I landed at the airport and moved into my apartment as if it were yesterday, and in a couple of weeks I will be doing that same 26-hour traveling experience all over again. These past four months have been some of the best of my life! Of course, while it has been hard at times to be away from my loved ones and friends back home, the friends I have made here and all of our traveling has kept my mind off of missing home.

Reflecting on my life here in Melbourne, I’ve become very well-adjusted but life is different from back home. One huge difference is that I had to cook all of my own food which subsequently meant I had to buy my own groceries. While it has been an incredible experience, I have to admit I can’t WAIT to go home and have my mom’s baked mac and cheese and my dad’s white chicken chili! I have been dreaming about it!

A huge difference I thought I would never adjust to is my walk to class which was no longer a simple ten minute stroll, but rather a 40 minute walk. You would think that this would be torture, but it is one of the things that I will genuinely miss! I loved seeing the city each morning on the way to school, noticing all of the cafés and people along the way, seeing dogs in the park, and admiring the fountain in front of the Royal Exhibition Building. Of course, a big difference in my life here in Australia is that my friends and I are traveling every weekend and trying to see as much of Australia as we can while simultaneously taking classes. I know it might be tough to imagine, but at Catholic, I don’t feel like a tourist, even if I have a picnic on the Mall, head down to Chinatown for dinner with my friends, or take a trip to Eastern Market (all of which I really miss right about now). Balancing class with travel plans can be tough, but the trips I’ve taken have been memories I will always treasure!

Classes were an adjustment as well. In Melbourne, each of my classes had two hour lectures and one hour recitations once a week as opposed to approximately one hour long lectures two or three times a week.  It was tough to get used to at first, but by about half way through the semester I learned to love the structure and found it easy to focus all the way through those three hours. The courses in Australia are also different in that they each had one paper, one oral presentation, and the final exam, and that is it. At Cathlic, we have a few assignments- typically weekly quizzes, biweekly exams, a few projects here or there, and then the final. At first I was thrilled to have so few assignments, but now as I sit down to study for finals I realize that a few more tests and quizzes CUA-style might have been nice so that I would have had checkpoints along the way in testing my knowledge. It is also intimidating because with fewer assignments, the more heavily they are weighted.

All in all, I could stay in Melbourne FOREVER if I had my loved ones and friends here with me. This city will always have a very special place in my heart as it has taught me more than any semester ‘in my comfort zone’ EVER could. I am sad to be leaving so soon, but I can’t wait to be home and have a warm slice of apple pie, cuddle my dog, drive my car, and plug my electronics into outlets without electrical converters. Wish me luck on finals! Once I’ve finished, I have one last trip here in Australia before my long journey back home… The Great Barrier Reef. I am so excited! Thanks for following along with my adventures!

-Alexis

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