Say G'Day to Elizabeth!

Say G’day to Elizabeth!

 

 

This has been a particularly boring semester for me, due in large part to the fact that my roommate and best friend of three years is in the land Down Under! Elizabeth Roach is a third year history major who friends describe as supportive, adventurous, and passionate. Of course I miss her terribly, but she's having the time of her life. What's she been up to? I asked!

 

Her Campus: Where are you in Australia? And how long are you there?

Elizabeth Roach: Melbourne, studying at the University of Melbourne, for 5 months (1 semester)!

 

HC: What classes are you taking there?

ER: Mostly history! Medieval history (called Plagues, War, and Heresy), history of rebellion (called Rebels & Revolutionaries), a philosophy 101 (called The Big Questions), and an Australian history (called Australia Now). UT doesn’t offer any Australian history classes, so one of my main goals here was to take an Australian history class!

 

HC: Asking the important questions now. So how many kangaroos are there actually?

ER: Literally there are so many. I live in the middle of the city, so I don’t really see much wildlife on a daily basis. Thirty minutes outside of the city, though, the kangaroos are everywhere! It’s kind of sad actually, the first EVER kangaroo I saw in Australia was roadkill, on a roadtrip some friends and I took to Sydney :( two days later, though, we woke up in our AirBnB that was a cabin on a campground and there were around 20 kangaroo just munchin away all around us! That was really cool. They have a lot of kangaroos and koalas in animal sanctuaries around Melbourne. There are a lot of koalas in the wild as well. We stopped at a cafe about two hours outside of Melbourne and found a koala sleeping away in the eucalyptus tree outside! That’s one of the coolest parts about being here. All of these fun, exotic animals are literally all over the place.

 

 

HC: Do you have much time to travel?

ER: Soooo much time! Uni is different in Australia than it is in the States, and most (liberal arts) courses have one paper due around midterms and one final research paper. It’s week 5 (out of 12 teaching weeks) right now and I’ve only written one paper! With such a light workload, I have a lot of free time to travel. There’s SO much to do in Melbourne, but weekend trips to Tasmania or Sydney are really easy to do! Plus, all of the exchange students are in the same boat and are up for travelling on the weekends, so it makes for some pretty spontaneous trips. I image that in May I’ll have to buckle down and focus on my studies, but for now, I have a lot of free time to enjoy the country!

 

HC: Where have you been so far?

ER: In my first few weeks here I went on a roadtrip to Sydney with some other exchange students. We drove to Sydney and then spent a few days visiting beach towns on our way back to Melbourne. That was incredible. A few weeks ago I went to New Zealand with a friend who was visiting me from the States! We went to the North Island and did some incredible things, including a visit to Hobbiton. We were only there for four days, though. I definitely want to visit New Zealand again and have more time to enjoy it!

 

HC: Do you have any big travel plans for the rest of the semester?

ER: For Easter Break (the Spring Break of this semester), I’ll be headed to Thailand for eight days with some friends! We’ll start in Bangkok and then work our way down to an island right off of the mainland. It’ll be my first trip to Asia and I’m really excited! I also plan on heading up north to Queensland to stay at some beautiful beaches up there. Queensland is where the Great Barrier Reef is! I definitely plan on snorkeling on the reef (although drastic bleaching patterns have convinced the world the reef is dying, it’s actually in better shape than people think!) Those are my two big trips I have planned. Otherwise, I’ll travel more locally and explore the area around Melbourne.

 

HC: What are some of the biggest differences you see between Straya and the US?

ER: A couple things! People don’t say “bless you” when you sneeze. Uni culture is so different. They don’t have to pay for uni up front (LOL) and also people tend to go to uni’s by their homes. Most young people (our age) live at home until a lot later. There's really good asian food here! And this city is SO SAFE. It makes me uncomfortable how safe it is. Holy cow. University sports are just not a thing here, and people generally seem more laid-back and don’t really get places on time.

 

 

HC: Most embarrassing you’ve done there?

ER: I run into everything here. I know I’m a clumsy person, but this is too much. I was walking on campus with my friends, texting, and I literally RAN INTO A POLE. Not even *kind of,* I hit that thing full-force. ALSO, with the SAME FRIENDS, I smacked my head STRAIGHT into the side mirror of a charter bus on one of our trips. They laugh at me all the time for it, but what can you do?

 

HC: Is there any fun Australian slang that we need to know?

ER: People “reckon” everything here. “I reckon I’m keen for some Macca’s”. Mainly, Aussies shorten every single word. Like, Avo - avocado, Arvo - afternoon, Macca’s McDonald’s, Biccy - biscuit, choccy - chocolate, choccy biccy - chocolate biscuit, footy - Aussie rules football. Also, tracksuit pants are trakky dacks and isn’t that the cutest thing you’ve ever heard of?

 

HC: What do you miss the most about the States (besides your roommate)?

ER: Oh man dude. YOU. MY BOYFRIEND. MY CAT. But also, seriously, I miss Whataburger so much. I miss a good cheap reliable meal. Everything is expensive here. I miss weird foods, like Kraft mac and cheese. I miss country music (I KNOW but sometimes you just wanna dance) OH MY GOD I MISS DR PEPPER SO MUCH. We stopped at Macca’s late one night and I ordered a McNugget meal with a Dr. Pepper and she just LOOKED AT ME. Mainly I guess I just miss food products and my best friends and my family. Also, snuggling cats. Also, petting dogs. I mean, they’re here, but none of us have any because we’re exchange students. I miss looking like a bum going to class (EVERYONE dresses up here), I miss driving and singing while driving. Wow I sound like a sad sack. This place is AMAZING but yes there are definitely things I miss about home. But I swear I’m totally happy here don’t worry :)