The First Few Weeks

Amy B. Brisbane, Australia


August 6, 2013

These first few weeks have been such a whirlwind. I can’t believe I’ve already been in this country for 28 days!

When I first moved to Arcadia from a small town in Pennsylvania, I thought adjusting to life in suburban Glenside was a challenge. I expected that moving to a foreign country would be even harder for me. However, I feel at home here in Brisbane already: it’s been almost a month, but yet it feels like I’ve been here years. Of course I miss some things from home, but yet I can’t quite remember what I did before living here. The weather is beautiful, I’ve made heaps of Aussie friends, and school is going pretty well.

My first days here are a groggy, sleepy blur. Luckily, I had all of orientation week (O-Week) to help me recover from jet lag. The next week I started classes, and really settled into the groove of life here in Queensland. Already, I know I’ve made the right choice to study abroad in this location. Brisbane is such an easy-living city.

I've spent these first weeks looking for places in this city to make my own space: places that excite me or interest me or remind me of home. I love walking under the great ivy-covered metal archway that runs along South Bank. The City Botanic Gardens right by one of QUT's campuses is a great place for me to walk or lounge around between classes and appreciate this country's native flora and fauna. For breakfast, I go to a small bakery that sells fresh-baked rolls. On a sunny day, I'll read books by the man-made beach that sits right next to the Brisbane river. Doing all of this exploring has taught me a lot about Brisbane and life in Australia in general.

Things I’ve Learned During My First Few Weeks In Brisbane:


  • Always walk/stand on the left. Cars drive on the oppositeside than what we're used to in the states, so always look both ways!
  • Yes, they really do call flip-flops “thongs”, so you have to try not to giggle too much.
  • There are wild birds almost everywhere outside. They'll try to take your food if you're not keeping an eye out.
  • “Lemonade” is more like 7-Up or Sprite.
  • Everyone deals in the metric system, and degrees in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit.  (I’ve downloaded an app on my phone for metric conversions to prevent me from actually having to learn anything.)
  • You can have the most fun doing things that are absolutely free.
  • Public transport is my best friend!

In my next few blogs, I want to cover how I’m adjusting to living in student accommodation, my Aussie university, and I have some pictures/video to share of my trip to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (yes, I got to hold a Koala, and yes, it was awesome)!