I have been here living at Griffith University Village (GUV), which AustraLearn set me up with for about a month and a half now. One of my roommates is from Finland (Miikka), another from Brisbane (Vinny), and my two others are girls and they have become my best friends here: Ashley is from Philadelphia, PA and Stephanie is from Connecticut. We are pretty much like a family and its weird to think that we just met not too long ago. We each have our own bedrooms and share a kitchen and little living area, along with a porch outside. I couldn't be happier with the way things are set up.
And when it comes to Uni, classes are easy so far. There is mostly weekly readings and presentations in every class (I am a Communications Studies Major). I thought it would be more difficult, but so far-so good. The people here are so nice (the Aussies)- their attitudes in general are easy-going and happy. "No worries" is something that you hear on a daily basis around campus, from teachers, etc. The beaches are bus rides away and so beautiful. I have never in my life seen such gorgeous beaches!
The only problem having them so close is that it is tempting to miss class in order to spend the day at the beach. Surfer's Paradise is the closest beach(es) but Burleigh Head and Coolangata are a little further but even nicer.
There is tons of shopping at places like Pacific Fair, Australia Fair, Harbour Town, Surfer's Paradise, and the list goes on and on. I go to Harbour Town at least once a week for their food market (fresh produce, etc.) and Woolworths (grocery store) because its only about five minutes away on the bus and its the cheapest food I have found yet.
The biggest problems that I have had here is adjusting to not watching television. I am such a TV person and the tv that came with our place only has 7 channels and nothing of interest to me. I have gotten used to it, though, but I sometimes still crave a good Food Network show or something. Netflix and Hulu are not accessible in this country, just like many other sites and sources that we are used to having back in the states.
Another issue that I had coming here is not packing enough warm clothing. I didn't realize that it would get this chilly (especially at nighttime) where I just wanted to wear big 'ol sweatpants and a hoodie. I had to go to KMart (at Australia Fair) to buy some cheap sweatshirts. But I know that it's about to get warmer and warmer because we are heading into Spring!
Coming here was my first overseas adventure and now I want to experience more countries, cities, people, accents, etc. I feel like I am getting a taste of something different (but not too different - like a 3rd world country or something...). I plan on going to Europe next! Actually, I was thinking about going to Bali, Indonesia for Spring Break and then Fiji on the way home...! I know, exciting right!?
Anyways, it's been a great time here so far and I cannot wait to learn to surf and experience even more that Australia has to offer. I truly recommend studying abroad here (or anywhere) outside of your comfort zone because this is something you'll never get a chance to do again after graduating. Have fun!