Living and Learning Australia

Nina Bakker James Cook University, Australia


July 18, 2017

It has been about a week here now and I have already learned so much. My roommate, Chloe, has been teaching me an insane amount about the Australian culture. Every day I learn a new Australian slang term thanks to her. She even wrote them all down for me! Just a few words that have stuck with me include: Macca’s=McDonald’s; arvo=afternoon; sook=cry baby; mozzie=mosquito; thongs=flip flops. I also learned that if you order lemonade here, they will hand you sprite because lemonade is apparently not very common! Oh, and Australians live on vegemite. To me, vegemite tastes like sour expired beer, but if you tell an Australian that you have not tried it, they will make you. Just make sure to have a pack of Tim Tams next to you to eat after the vegemite. Tim Tams, which are basically chocolate covered biscuits, are another beloved Australian snack and they are absolutely delicious.

Townsville has been keeping me extremely busy. Every day here so far has been packed full of activities, but I am not complaining! I have been seeing so much of the local area, which is beautiful! Today around sunset, a few friends and I decided to hike up Castle Hill, which ended up being super strenuous. I thought the stairs up would never end and my legs felt as if they were on fire by the end. It was completely worth the pain once we got to the top because the views from Castle Hill are incredible! You can see all of Townsville, the ocean, and the surrounding islands. The temperature was perfect and the sunset made the view even better. Just in case anyone was wondering, it is possible to drive up Castle Hill, but to get the whole experience, hiking is a must. Afterwards, we went down the hill and into town and rewarded ourselves with ice cream. Juliette’s is the famous ice cream place here in Townsville and I now know why! They have some amazing flavors. Juliette’s is located on the strand, which is the main hang out spot for everyone here in Townsville. It is a strip of restaurants along a very pretty beach and it seems like there is always some sort of activity going on.

Another awesome experience that I have had recently includes holding koalas and baby crocodiles, and petting kangaroos at Billabong sanctuary, which is only a 20-minute drive from James Cook University. It is so worth going to if you are interested in meeting some of the local animals.

I am very much looking forward to the upcoming weeks and the other exciting activities that await. Tomorrow we are going sailing, which I have never done before, so I know it will be a great experience. Although I am a bit worried about school starting next week, I am ready to tackle the assignments and tests. Hopefully I do not get too distracted!