I’ve been in Perth for a whole month now. I’ve settled into my apartment and my classes. I’m slowly getting used to hearing squawking parrots everyday and seeing palm trees everywhere! ( Which I thought would never happen.)

Here is a SMALL amount of awesome things you can do while studying in Perth in a month :

SCHOOL WORK! Definitely the funnest thing to do here!

Meet cool animals at Caversham Wildlife park :

Meet cool animals that were brought to your campus for you to meet :

Meet cool animals that just hang out on your campus (bandicoot, not a rat) :

Relax on one of the many beaches ( Cottlesoe beach and Leighton beach) :

Go surfing on one of the many beaches :

Watch the sunset on one of the many beaches (and turn around only to see crazy angry clouds staring right at you after having stared at a very peaceful sunset) :

Go to Adventure World, and go on Australia’s best roller coaster and the world’s tallest, steepest and longest funnel waterslide :

And forget to put sunscreen on ( don’t try this at home kids, it’s a very serious issue, sunscreen is very important!) :

Invest in sunscreen and aloe ( definitely a must do) :

Go see Perth’s basketball team, the Wildcats, at the Perth Arena :

Go to the Perth bell tower and ring the bells :

On your way to the bell tower, see some cool statues and stuff around the harbor :

Go to Kings park and see some cool views, day and night :

Make yourself look like a fairy at one of the local street markets :

Wander through London Court, a cute little medieval themed alley way :

Go to the international food market on Friday nights :

See really cool graffiti all around the city :

Get an acai bowel from Pixels cafe :

Go to an international culture festival and see some really cool dancing :

Give into your cravings and eat every kind of meat you could imagine eating in Australia in one sitting ( Kangaroo, crocodile, emu, buffalo, wild boar, camel.) :

Of course, while studying abroad, the amount of fun you are having should be equal to the amount of studying you are doing! Which is why I am studying a lot… Get it done and you can go have fun!

PS. Eating Australian food definitely counts as a culture lesson, going to the beach definitely counts as an exercise science lesson and hanging out with Australian animals definitely counts as a biology lesson, in case you needed help coming up with excuses for yourself…




What The Sulfur?

              How to remove the odor of sulfur from clothing.

If you’ve ever been to a geothermal area, you know this almost rotten egg-like smell very well. At first it’s absolutely awful, but then you almost get used to it.

Geothermal areas are stunning. It’s almost like something out of a movie. You’re walking around steamy rocks and the mud is boiling so hot that it is bubbling (almost like that scene in The Labyrinth.)

A couple of weeks ago, I spent some time in Rotorua, New Zealand, which is nicknamed “ The Sulfur City” ( GROSS!) There is a park right in the town that has hot pools and mud pools, so you can pretty much smell it throughout the whole place!

During my stay there, I went to a park called Hells Gate. It is Rotorua’s most active thermal area. You can find mud pools, hot pools, steaming cliffs, a cooking pool and even a mini mud volcano that erupts every now and then!

Once you’ve finished your walk around this park, you can then go into the Hellsgate spa where you can relax in a mud bath or a thermal pool. I did both because I figured I would never have the opportunity to do it again! At the entrance to the spa, they have a little area where you can rent a bathing suit and towel if you so wish to. I thought this was just for people that forgot their bathing suits, and I had my perfectly comfy one, so why would I rent one!?

The pools felt incredible, and have amazing health benefits. It is great for your skin and good for muscle pain. I had just done a hike a couple of days before so I needed that. It was almost so much fun that you didn’t even notice the smell of the sulfur !

After my 20 minutes in the mud pool were up, I went to go wash all of the mud off. They warned that the sulfur smell might stay on your skin for a couple of days after, but I thought I had washed it all off, so I put my nice clothes back on, and threw my bathing suit and towel in a plastic bag and went on with my day. When I got back to the hostel I was staying in, I hand washed my bathing suit and towel and hung them out to dry.


A couple of days later was laundry day, and also happened to be the eve of the day I left New Zealand, so I figured I would wash all of my clothes so that they would be nice and clean for my trip to Australia. I put all of my clothes in one load, along with my bathing suit and towel.


I went to open the door of the washer so I could put all of my clothes in the dryer and the smell of sulfur hit me like a truck. I was horrified! It was all over all of my clothes. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to put my clothes in the dryer anyway… I thought it might help. IT DID NOT! It made it even worse.

After a lot of googling and time spent watching my clothes dry just to see if they smelled okay yet, I figured out how to get the smell out.  Here are some tips on how to avoid this, or how to deal with it if it happens to you.

1.Rent a bathing suit : I know it seems kind of gross, but they do wash them with ammonia, which gets everything out! It is not worth having to either throw your bathing suit away or deal with having to get the smell out of everything you own. If you decide to take your own bathing suit anyway, make sure you don’t wash it in with your clothes until you’re 100% sure all of the sulfur is out of it.

2.Wear old clothes the day of : You’re going to a spa so you want to look nice, I know, but even if you think you have washed the smell off yourself after, it will keep coming out of your pores for the rest of the day, and then your clothes will smell. You want to wear clothes that you don’t mind soaking in ammonia the night of.

3.Don’t put your head under : First of all, it will sting your eyes, and second of all, you don’t want your hair smelling like sulfur for the next couple of days. Make sure that if you have long hair, your hair is back.


  1. Do not put them in the dryer : The heat from the dryer makes it even harder to get the smell out in the long run.
  2. Rinse your clothes under cold water : Warm/ hot water is your worst enemy for the next couple of days, avoid it!
  3. Soak your clothes in baking soda overnight : Put a whole cup ( I know it’s a lot) of baking soda in a bathtub full of COLD water and make sure it is fully dissolved before putting your clothes in. If you don’t have a bathtub (hostels generally don’t have bathtubs,) you can use a recycling box.You might have to do two loads if you have a lot of clothes and are using a recycling box. Leave the clothes in the bath tub with the baking soda overnight.                 
  4. Rinse in cold water (again) : You don’t have to rinse thoroughly, just try and get most of the baking soda out.
  5. Soak in white vinegar : Put 250ml of white vinegar into your bathtub and fill with COLD water, then soak all of your clothes for one hour.
  6. Question your sanity : You could go back to sleep for an hour, but you’re probably too nervous about your clothes to do that, so try and find something fun to do so you don’t question yourself as a person for making such a silly mistake. Word search  is always good!
  7. Rinse your clothes in COLD water : Ok last time, I promise. Just make sure most of the vinegar is gone.
  8. Wash your clothes in a washing machine : I know it seems so technologically advanced now that you’ve been hand washing your clothes, but you can do it! Select a cold cycle and make sure to use scented laundry powder, and even fabric softener if you have some. If you don’t have a washing machine because you’re staying in a hostel or hotel that doesn’t have any, make friends with your local laundromat.
  9. Air dry your clothes : DO NOT put your clothes in the dryer. You are not 100% sure yet if all of the sulfur is out of your clothing. Hang them out to dry, anywhere will do, but in the sunlight is best! If you can’t hang them outside, that’s fine, your room just might look like a clothing bomb exploded!
  10. Smell check all of your clothes when they are dry : Make sure you take breaks to avoid nose blindness! If you think you might have gone nose blind, try sniffing coffee beans like you do when trying on perfume in department stores. If you smell any hint of sulfur on the clothes, throw them in a separate pile, make sure you check the collars of shirts or the waistline of pants, because those areas are thicker.
  11. Repeat all these steps with the clothes that still smell bad : It took me 5 tries to get the smell out of all of my clothing completely, and I still have a very stubborn sweatshirt, but every time you do it, the load will get smaller and the smell will get weaker, I promise!!!
  12. Buy yourself a beer: You’re a trooper, that was ridiculous, you deserve it.


Good luck !!  Maddie



I arrived in Cairns late at night, and man, the humidity hit me when I walked out of the airport. So did the mosquitoes! I got a taxi to my hotel and started to try and figure out how to deal with my sulfur ridden clothes (you can see how this happened in my last post, and read about how to deal with it in my next post!) I finally went to sleep at around 3am, which was fine, because I had arrived a day early for the orientation of my program anyway, and most people wouldn’t be arriving until mid-afternoon, so I was in no rush to be up in the morning!

I woke up at around 10am, really excited and ready to go ! I packed up all of my clothes, and looked outside and it was perfectly sunny, so I wore shorts and flip flops and started to make my way to the hotel where I would be staying for The Education Abroad Network orientation. It was about a 25 minute walk, but that’s okay because it was nice out and I packed lightly. I got about halfway there and it was almost as though I had walked through a portal. One second it was bright and sunny and the next it was like a monsoon ! Apparently it was the end of the wet season in Cairns… Oops! I took refuge in a pie shop. This may have been the worst of best decision. Best because the steak, bacon, and cheese pie I ate was absolutely incredible, and worst because now I’m addicted to them. When the rain settled I went on my way again. By the time I got to the hotel, it was nice and sunny out again. The view from my hotel room was incredible!

Later on in the day, I went to the grocery store to buy some snacks, seeing as the orientation didn’t start until that evening. They had kangaroo in the store!

I spent about an hour in there just wandering around and looking at all of the different new foods that I would eventually get used to seeing everyday!

That night, I had an orientation dinner with a huge group of people from all over the United States (during which we were warned not to swim in the water right off the hotel because there are salt water crocodiles,) and a few of us went for a walk along the harbor afterwards. I saw a pelican for the first time !

All of the trees along the harbor were lit up, and there were huge bats flying in and out of them, they sounded just like what I imagine pterodactyls would sound like!

The next day we woke up nice and early to head out to the wildlife park. I met all sorts of Australian animals!

The kangaroos were so friendly, unlike the stigma going around because of that viral video of the guy punching the kangaroo that wouldn’t let his dog go!

After the wildlife park, we went to the Daintree rain forest to learn about indigenous culture. It was so hot!

Our guide showed us how boomerangs are made, and told us all of these stories, and even showed us how to make body paint out of rocks in the stream!

After that, we went for a swim in the gorge. It was really refreshing after spending this really humid day in the rain forest!

On the way back, we drove a very scenic route with amazing views of the ocean.

The next day was a classroom day. We learned all about Australian culture and some of the words that we might not have heard before. Australians shorten a lot of words and just add Ys or Os to make them easier to say. They also have completely different words to any other English I have heard before. Here are a few examples:

Arvo = Afternoon

Chook = Chicken

Bonzer = Great

Dunny = Outside toilet

Lollies = Candy

Brekkie = Breakfast

Maccas = MacDonalds

Budgie smuggler = Speedo

Fair Dinkum = True

Thongs = Flipflops

Some of them are going to be really confusing but I will hopefully get them eventually !

The next day was reef day. I was so excited.

We woke up really early to get the boat out to the Great Barrier Reef. It was such an incredible day! So incredible that it deserves a blog post entirely dedicated just to this day! So look forward to that in a couple of weeks!

The next day, and my last day in Cairns, was a free day. I decided to go to Fitzroy island, which was a short ferry ride away. Fitzroy island is quite small and home to beautiful beaches and hikes, and even a small resort and a turtle rehab center!

I got there at around 10am and it was a perfect day to be on the beaches!

The first thing I did was go snorkeling. After spending a day scuba diving on the Great barrier reef, I was hooked on looking at the beautiful colourful fish in their natural habitat! …. Haha… ” Hooked!”

There were a lot of jelly fish in this reef, and even though I knew they weren’t deadly they were still quite scary. I came up to clean my goggles and one point, and when I went back under, there was a jellyfish right in front of my face and I completely freaked out! Don’t try this at home kids… I did a twisted back flip underwater trying to get away from it and got stuck on some coral and ripped my stinger suit…. Oops…

After snorkeling all morning, I decided to take a visit to the Turtle Rehab Center.

There were eight turtles there at the time, and I got to meet one that was almost in perfect condition and ready to be released very soon!

One of the common reason these turtles are in these rehab centers is because they will eat absolutely anything. They see a piece of trash laying on the reefs and eventually they get a build up in their stomach that forms air bubbles that cause them to float up to the surface. This means that not only do they not have access to their food sources on the ocean floor, but it also makes them susceptible to predators because their belly is wide open! Please don’t litter!

Later that night was the farewell dinner. When I read the orientation schedule before I left for Australia, I didn’t understand how there could be a farewell dinner. Who would I be saying goodbye to? I’d only be there for 5 days! There were 140 people from all over the United States on this orientation, all going to many different universities across Australia, all new to the country wanting to make friends, and I think I made some of the best friends I have during those 5 days, don’t underestimate it ! I would definitely miss all of these people, but now I have friends to visit all over Australia.

I packed up that night and head out to the airport early the next morning. My boarding pass said boarding at 11:40am, so I figured that meant boarding would start at 11:40am, but that was the final boarding call ! I almost missed my flight. Always be early !

Onwards to Perth!