So I accidentally missed the first day of school and all of orientation week because I booked my flights wrong. I didn’t realize I would be showing up 24 hours ahead of what I thought. Learning that I am a day ahead of my home back in Montana, USA was my first introduction to how new life is down here in Adelaide, SA. In this blog post you are going to get some short snippets of my struggle converting from imperial to metric, my first week here, the super sweet clubs on campus, the diversity and friendship I have encountered, and some of my adventures planned and accomplished!
I come from a place where I am surrounded by mountains, live at high elevation, and get bombarded by 400 inches of snow in the winter (something like 900 cm). Winter here is like my version of late spring. People will be walking around in heavy coats and I cruise around wearing a t-shirt and jeans. One of these occasions was on a cloudy day when I was taking the super convenient bus system to the local shopping center (spelled centre down here…), Marion. I went into the barber and asked him for a 1 on the sides and to clean up and thin out the top of my hair. In the US, a 1 means 1 inch, but here it means 1 cm. So I ended up getting a short haircut. Still looks good, so no harm done. I’m also used to looking left, then right when crossing roads because we drive on the right side back home, so I almost got run over while crossing a street down here. Lessons learned!
So right before I came here, I lost my wallet. I came down here with enough cash to survive until I set up a bank account. Waiting for my money to clear through an international transfer took longer than expected so I ran out of cash, in a foreign country, with no way of getting more. But my roommate and my neighbours here in the Deirdre Jordan Village immediately provided me food and enough kindness to stay alive till I got settled! What great guys.
Living in the Village has provided me the opportunity to meet so many new people and have such easy access to the campus and its facilities. I have made friends with so many new people and exchange students through area events like a toga party, dinners, and events at the local campus pub The Tavern. This campus has a gym with a crossfit gym that is insanely cheap compared to gyms back home in the US. I got a membership at the crossfit gym and have been meeting new friends and staying in shape there. All I have to do is take a 10 min walk through some beautiful forest teeming with rainbow lorikeet and cockatoos to the campus! By accessing the Flinders University Student Association website (FUSA) I was able to find out by the myriad of clubs that I am able to learn and grow from, like Muay Thai. From a club that trains with pads on a basketball gym floor, they have produced champions and excellent fighters. I feel honored to get the opportunity to train with them. There is an underwater club here, that offers super cheap diving to students at the University! It is going to cost me less than 300 AUD to get my dive certification! They host big dive trips each weekend. I am stoked to see where that takes me.
Speaking of stoke, a new friend from my Immunology class gave me a free ticket to go see my first AFL game. And what a game it was! It was the Adelaide Crows vs. Port Adelaide, the biggest rivalry game here. The massive stadium was packed full and bubbling with excitement! This girls dad used to be the captain of the team back when they won two premierships back to back, so she has dope members passes that let us watch the game from up close.
I really have so much to say, but I want to write this post as quickly as possible because I want to continue cooking up plans for the future and working on the opportunities that are available here. Next weekend I am getting my scuba ticket and chilling on the beach, the following, I am going downhill mountain biking with friends from Muay Thai and rockclimbing with more friends from the club. The weekend after that I am going to go scuba diving with the underwater club, and then after that I am going on a road trip to Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road with some new exchange student friends, and then flying to Darwin to go on an outback tour of Kakadu national park!!
I got to go because I need to pack for my weekend of camping with friends out in Flinders’ ranges national park!!
Talk to ya guys soon. — Luke
Luke Ryan semester exchange at Flinders University from Montana State University, the U.S.A., Semester 2 2016