First Week in Review

Brooke Stephens STEM Summer Research Brisbane, Australia


June 13, 2018

Wow, I can’t believe that I have already been living in Australia for a little over a week! Time just flies here! In only a week’s time, I have met incredible people, traversed through rainforests, and explored lovely Brisbane. Because the actual research didn’t get started until the Monday after we arrived, we had six days to be full on tourists, and we did just that. Since we packed so many activities in each day, I’m going to break down my week day by day, so you can get the full rundown of what I’ve been doing. Like I said, I did start my research on Monday so the tourist activities have subsided a bit and the real work has begun… but I will get to that in another post. Let’s focus on the fun! J

  • Tuesday: General Arcadia welcome session with Cat and Gizmo, check-in at the apartment (my own studio apartment!), local walking tour, hike Mount Coot-Tha for an unbelievable view of Brisbane, slept through pizza dinner… oops
  • Wednesday: City kayak tour on Brisbane River, general orientation session, bike ride along the river… sort of, fresh market in downtown Brisbane
  • Thursday: Day trip to Mount Tamborine, cheese and beer tasting, hiking through the rainforest (in the rain)
  • Friday: First Brisbane coffee, University of Queensland welcome and orientation, Luminous Lantern Parade celebrating the diversity of the city
  • Saturday: Craft Market in South Bank, chocolate bar, Fortitude Valley (Brisbane nightlife)
  • Sunday: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (I held a koala!!!!), group dinner in South Bank

Overall, I’m really happy with how this trip is going. I know that before I got on the plane for Brisbane, I had very little information on what I would be doing here. But, I’m so glad I took a leap of faith and ended up in this great city. I’ve picked up on some Australian slang, which is based on the efficiency that comes from shortening words (Brissy being a prime example). I’m always eating smashed avo in the arvo, as a true Australian bogan would say. I’ve also gotten to try some great Aussie treats, including Tim Tams, lamingtons, fairy bread, and shapes. I feel like I haven’t been living my best life without these delicious snacks. Lamingtons are by far my favorite, a light sponge cake coated with dark chocolate covered in coconut shavings. Yum!

Something else that I love about this city is the sheer amount of public transportation and just how easy it is to use. There is a thing called a Go Card that you use to tap-on and tap-off for the busses, trains, and water taxies. Everything is just perfectly integrated! Even the city bikes are great. But, I wouldn’t recommend going on a bike tour with 20 students because that is where things got messy! One last thing that I love about Brisbane: they are coffee snobs here. The morning that I had my first Brisbane latte was life-changing. All of the local coffee shops have such a unique atmosphere and they serve up the best espresso drinks. Perhaps that’s why they only have two Starbucks in all of Brisbane (oh and I’ve already visited both, only to be sadly disappointed, never thought I would be saying that). I love this city, and I’m so excited to see what this next week brings! Talk to you all soon!


Australia Summer STEM