Hey there! It’s officially week 9 of the semester here at Griffith University, which means most of my assignments are coming due real soon. I’m writing this before speaking in a UN simulation for International Relations in about an hour. We’re discussing the situation in Syria and possible interventions for humanitarian aid from the perspectives of the P5 nations of the UN security council (US, France, UK, China, Russia). I’ve submitted a draft of an essay on how my intended career (electrical engineering) relates to climate change adaptation and mitigation and global sustainability for peer review to complete and submit a final draft next week. That 2000 word paper is worth 35% of my grade for that particular course. There are only 3 weeks left to the trimester before finals, so essentially my classes are wrapping up and starting to prepare us for exams. However, it’s not nearly as stressful of a time as it is in the US because there’s a reading week — not just a reading day — between the end of trimester and exams, and in my case my two exams are about two weeks apart. One is a 100 multiple choice question exam, the other consists of six 250 words short responses that we are able to prepare in advance.
Autumn has come to the Gold Coast and things have started cooling down quite a bit — it usually doesn’t get much warmer than the high 70s here anymore and its fairly breezy most of the time. Still beautiful weather as far as I’m concerned.
In the past few weeks, I was able to see the last few things I really wanted to see while in Australia. I took a trip down to Byron Bay, the most easterly point of continental Australia, and Nimbin, both of which are artsy little hippie towns in New South Wales (about 2.5 hours away from where I’m living). Both of these spots were scenic and beautiful and blissfully relaxed. The following weekend, some friends and I went to the Australia Zoo (anyone remember the Crocodile Hunter? Crikey, I do, it was my favorite show growing up) and went on to Noosa from there. The zoo was an amazing and wholesome experience because the habitats were clearly made as natural as possible and Steve Irwin’s legacy has been kept alive to the utmost; it didn’t feel as sad as the zoos I’m familiar with. There weren’t any animals from polar climates that wouldn’t fare well in this climate and all of the animals that were present seemed comfortable and fairly happy. Noosa was a beautiful beach area with an area called the Fairy Pool where we were able to cliff jump and swim a bit in a pool of crystal clear water and some coral growing and a few fish swimming around. We got there in time to enjoy the sunset before heading home from a long, fun day.
It’s hard to believe that my time here in AUS is coming to a close, but it’s also hard to believe I’ve been here for almost 100 days and still have 40 some odd days to go. Being here has truly been the experience of a lifetime and going home will be very bittersweet. If you ever get the chance to visit Australia — or anywhere, really — take it. Just say yes. It’s one of the most worthwhile things you can do with your time on Earth.