Sunday, February 22, 2009

First week of Uni = not much Uni

G’day to all. I have officially made through the first week of lectures so I figured it was time to drop in with an update.  After a bit of shuffling around and sitting in on extra lectures I have decided to take Introduction to Australian Indigenous Studies, Introduction to Tourism, and Psychology: Drugs and Dependence.  The first week of lectures proved to me right away that the University life and style of learning is quite different from that of my last 3 years at Gustavus.  For each class or “unit” I have lectures once a week and then “tutorials” once a week.  Tutorials are almost like study sessions in a small group format of 15 or so students where as lectures are upwards of 50 students.  The grading method is also quite different here.  Essentially there are HD’s or high distinctions (our A), D for distinction (our A- through B) and P for pass (our B- through C).  The major difference here though is that grades or marks do not matter as a student who gets all HD’s gets the same exact certificate of deposit as a student who just passed everything.  Its kinda funny cause most of my profs even admit that they just went for passes and only did what was required to get P’s.  In essence this creates a laid back and noncompetitive environment in the classroom which is nice for a change.  In terms of how I am assessed for my units there are generally 1 paper for each class, a presentation in the tutorial and one final exam.  One major benefit of going to school here is that textbooks are cheap here…too bad everything else is real expensive.

weather wise perth has been experiencing a bit of a heat wave where it has been arond 37-40 degrees Celsius which is roughly the beach has been a good place to chill.  I will say though that the sun is super powerful here...sunburn is a major issue.

But enough about the boring side of my time in Australia…throughout out this past week I spent quite a bit of time exploring around and going out again (especially cause I only have class 4 days a week).  The lifestyle in Perth and Freo revolves around the beaches.  There are many amazing beaches all within reach.  My favorite so far has to be Cottesloe beach, which is a simply amazing stretch of white sand, rolling waves, water so clear you can see the bottom at 20 feet deep, and home to some beautiful Aussie ladies.  Just the other day a couple of us traveled to Scarboro beach which was about an hour or so of travel to get to….see the photos online.  Scarboro had some nice waves and I am hoping to be able to get some more surfing in here in the near future.

I have also been busy further exploring Perth and Fremantle.  On Friday night I went into the city to hit a pub and club with one of my Aussie mates and one of the Americans I have been traveling with.  Perth is a great city with a good night life…it can be a little sketchy depending on what part of Perth you find yourself in…but we had a good time.  The highlight of that night was definitely eating a kebab while waiting for the bus.  An Australian kebab is a delectable treat that is somewhere between a gyro and burrito.

After spending another week exploring Freo I have really come to love the small yet busy town.  It is now home to my favorite pub little creatures…which has one of the best pale ales I have ever had…it gives the 471 Breckenridge IIPA a run for its money.  Creatures over looks the ocean and is a great place to watch the sun set, grab some food, and obviously grab a brew.  I have also come to love the Sail and Anchor, which is a pub with a great cover band that plays on Saturday nights.

Another adventure during the week led me to Newport…a club in Freo.  I was amazed at the kind of shenanigans that was going on for a Wednesday night but to put is shortly Aussies know how to have a good time every night of the week.  This club was filled with 100’s of students…including 100’s of attractive Aussie females…where everyone was dancing and drinking the night away.  A good time was had…I met some new people and I ended the night with another delicious kebab…only to have to get up for lecture at 8am the next morning.

I think the coolest experience in Fremantle for me so far had to have been when I went and explored the market that is open only friday saturday and sunday.  It is an open air but closed market where locals come and sell anything and everything.  when I walked through the gates it was as if I had stepped into a different world...or culture at the very least.  I was there towards the end of the hours today so I was able to pick up some fruits and dried mango for really cheap.  It was a great place to just walk around and look at all the different things getting sold and bartered for...and a great place to people watch.

One of the best adventures of my travels so far happened today…one of the guys I am traveling with rockclimbs and like myself he brought some of his gear down.  So this morning we got up and mapped out a place where we had found some climbing.  The journey to the climb would have entailed catching 2 busses and about an hours worth of travel.  We caught the first bus into freo and saw that our next bus was pulling away from the station…leaving 5 min early…and the next bus wasn’t to come for 3 hours…so essentially our day of climbing was done before it even started.  Rather pissed off we walked back toward freo where we passed a didgeridoo shop called didgeridoo breath…it was a shop I had seen earlier and wanted to stop in to take a look…so that’s what we did.  Turned out the two guys working the place talked us into trying to play the didge…long story short we ended up jamming out on the didgeridoo for over 2 hours with these guys who were giving us “lessons” on how to play.  I almost bought a didge on the spot…and I will definitely buy one in the near future.  Learning to play the didge was on my list of things to do here and I am really stoked that it happened so early in my travels.  everything happens for a reason I guess...climbing will have to happen later but for now I would have to say that missing the bus today led to one epic day.

Well I think that is enough rambling for a night…just thought I would share a little about the past week.  As for this week coming up I have a couple days of lecture and reading ahead of me…along with a couple days at the beach…maybe a trip back to the didge shop as well.



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