A Vegetarian Adventure in Brisbane

By Rebecca Duell

Brisbane's calm facade hides diverse vegetarian culinary experiences. Photo by Cici Xie, IFSA-Butler student currently studying at the University of Queensland.
Brisbane’s calm facade hides diverse vegetarian culinary experiences. Photo by Cici Xie, IFSA-Butler student currently studying at the University of Queensland.

Brisbane (or BrisVegas as it is affectionately and more than a little ironically known to locals) is fast becoming a foodie heaven to rival Melbourne and Sydney. And, if you know where to look, there are plenty of options to satisfy the most quinoa-loving vegetarian or vegan.  Eating a plant based diet in Brisbane truly is a journey through cuisines and cultures.  To keep your feet on the right path, here is a list of my 5 favourite vegetarian or vegan places to eat:

  1. Vege Rama : If you find yourself lost among the bewildering array of options in the Queen Street Myer Centre food court, get yourself over to the Vege Rama counter. Here you will discover hearty salads, Indian inspired curries and mouth-watering vegan deserts. Do try their Masala Dosa, a value-for-money comfort food favourite! Vege Rama has two other locations – a sit down restaurant in West End that’s perfect for date night; and a café on Adelaide Street in the city serving up exclusively vegan and gluten-free meals.
  2. Govinda’s Vegetarian Restaurant: The definition of “cheap and cheerful”, Govinda’s is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before getting along to see some live music in one of West End’s many venues (shout out to The Bearded Lady!).  The vegetarian and vegan dishes are cooked with love by members of the Hare Krishna movement, and you can get all you can eat and drink for just $11!
  3. Loving Hut : Have a craving for chicken nuggets? Then take a short ride on bus #170 or #174 from the city or South Bank to Loving Hut in Mount Gravatt. This casual little restaurant offers a range of Asian inspired vegan meals, many featuring fake meat. That may sound strange, but trust me, this place is an institution for vegetarians in Brisbane. The chicken nuggets taste just like the ones you get at the golden arches (minus the chicken tears), and even come with vegan BBQ sauce. Yum!
  4. Kitchen Sanitarium: If the idea of a fake chicken nugget makes you vomit in your mouth a little bit then Kitchen Sanitarium is the place for you! This central city café mainly caters to hungry but health conscious office workers so is only open Monday – Friday 7am – 2pm. However, it’s a great gourmet option if you’re looking for somewhere special to have breakfast or lunch with friends. I recommend the Grilled Haloumi or Lentil and Five Bean Nachos. Be warned though, they don’t serve coffee!
  5. Kiss the Berry: Do you know what “activated buckinis” are? Me neither! But Kiss the Berry serves them in their açaí bowls so they must be good for you! Located just around the corner from Urbanest in Southbank, Kiss the Berry specialises in vegan or vegetarian açaí bowls and smoothies, many of which are also lactose or gluten free. If you call yourself a vegan but have never had an açaí bowl you’ve clearly been living under a rock. Açaí is a berry of Brazilian origin that tastes a little like dark chocolate and red wine. The berries are blended and then added to a bowl with other tasty ingredients like fresh fruit, nuts, honey and coconut yoghurt. You couldn’t wish for a more nutritious and delicious start to the day!

A bonus favourite is Mandala Organic Arts Café in Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast. Live music and vegan pizza. Enough said. Oh, and although not strictly a vegetarian/vegan restaurant, The Tibetan Kitchen in Brisbane offers a great selection of vegetarian or vegan dishes alongside its meaty meals. It’s also run by some of the nicest people you will ever meet!

Happy eating!

Cairns, North Queensland – Adventure Capital of the World (In Technicolour)

By Robert Spencer

That’s right! I’m putting it out there. Some other cities may lay claim to being the the hub for thrill seekers but none can match Cairns and its surrounds for providing the perfect backdrop of reef and rainforest whilst dazzling your senses.

Let me guide you through a collage of activities during a North Queensland Adventure weekend.

First up it’s a trip out to one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef. Up nice and early we meet our crew aboard the vessel Ocean Freedom.

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The trip out to the reef is occupied by dive briefings, sunscreen application and figuring out how to work the GoPro! Our trip to the reef has two stops today, Upolu Reef and Upolu Cay. Once we reach our first stop it’s time to grab a mask, snorkel and fins. This is all we need to explore the wonders that lie beneath for the next 5 hours.

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After some minor adjustments to equipment it was time to explore the world below. Colourful Coral bommies are teaming with life! Parrot fish, Moray Eels, Clown fish (Nemo) and an Octopus are just some of the creatures to meet up close. Oh, and a giant Barracuda called Bruce!

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And it’s no secret that if you’re an IFSA Butler student at James Cook University you’re going to hang out with a Turtle or two!

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So, with a great day out on the reef and a well earned rest, it was time to explore the Daintree Rainforest. What’s that old expression? Queensland, beautiful one day perfect the next. Well, it’s true. On our way to the Daintree, the oldest rainforest in the world at over 135 million years old, there was time to catch up with some furry and feathered friends at the Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat.

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After exploring some of the primitive flora of the Daintree and learning about strangler figs and Idiot fruit (one of the species of the earliest known lineages to have branched out from the first flowering plants and still living today) it was time for lunch at Cape Tribulation, where the Rainforest meets the Reef. Stepping straight on to the beach from the rainforest is a very special experience at Cape Tribulation. Australia’s richest diversity of flora and fauna is found in this region. And what better way to work off a big lunch than to climb some trees and get back to nature!

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What a day and what a great weekend! There is something special about this part of the world. Maybe it’s all the fresh air. Or maybe it’s just that everything around you is bursting with life. Whatever it is, it seems to bring out the fun in everyone who visits. So don’t be a stranger! Come and a visit this incredible living wonderland and have your senses dazzled.

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There’s Nothing Like Australia.

By Sharna Bremner

There’s nothing like Australia.

Travel, adventuring, exploring, the “abroad” part of “study abroad”. Let’s face it. Discovering new and exciting places is one of the most alluring aspects of spending a semester in another country, and our students do it well. Mid-semester breaks are spent journeying through Lord of the Rings territory in New Zealand, kicking back on a tropical beach in Bali, or lazing by the pool in a resort in Fiji. Study-free weeks before classes or exams start are spent snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, getting lost in the artsy alleyways of Melbourne, or riding a wave at Bondi Beach.

These experiences are, of course, considered “must-do”. They’re the quintessential trips for students who are studying abroad Down Under. But Australia is such a huge and diverse country, with so much more to see and do than Sydney and the Reef. There are experiences that you can have right here that you simply can’t get in Bali or New Zealand, or anywhere else for that matter.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable trip away for mid-semester break or that lovely class-free week just before exams, why not stick closer to home? Get off the well-beaten tourist track. Try something extraordinary. Go where few (if any) study abroad students before you have gone…

Tasmania

The Apple Isle. Home to the Devil (the Tassie Devil, that is). Birthplace of our very own Princess (Mary, now of Denmark). Tasmania is just a short flight from Melbourne and with around 45% of it being made up of national parks and World Heritage Sites, it’s one of Australia’s most picturesque states. There’s so much to see and do, from the amazing Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, to the snow-capped peaks of Cradle Mountain and the white sands and crystal clear waters of Wineglass Bay. The list of incredible adventures to be had in Tassie is practically endless. Check here for more: http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/the-absolute-best-things-to-do-in-tasmania-top-50/

Cradle Mountain Boardwalk. Image by mdalmuld

Western Australia

Australia’s largest state (and the second largest in the world), home to the most isolated city in the world. This isolated city, Perth, is actually closer to Singapore than it is to Australia’s capital city, Canberra. It might take a little longer to get there, but there are some amazing adventures to be had on the western side of this country. Get up close and personal with whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, at Ningaloo Reef or get the ultimate selfie with a Quokka in their natural habitat on Rottnest Island. Head north to check out one of the most beautifully unique places in the world, the Kimberly region, where you can learn more about the oldest surviving culture on earth, explore the majestic gorges, caves and waterfalls of the Aussie outback, or relax on the whiter-than-white sands of Cable Beach. For more on the never-ending adventures to be had in WA, head here: http://www.ytravelblog.com/things-to-do-in-western-australia/

Cape Le Grand National Park WA

Northern Territory

The Territory isn’t just the place that gives us some of the wildest and most hilarious news headlines in the nation, it’s also the place that tourists can experience some of the most spiritually significant and visually stunning landscapes in the world. Head to the desert of the Red Centre to explore the majesty of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, two sacred Aboriginal sites, or go a little further north to check out the Katherine region where you can enjoy natural hot springs, ancient rock art, and incredible cliff formations. If it’s serious adventure that you’re after, look no further than the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. Explore the gorges, rainforests and waterfalls (all while keeping an eye out for the local wildlife – crocs included), or stay in the crocodile-shaped hotel. The Territory’s capital city, Darwin, is warm all year round and offers amazing night markets, perfect sunsets, and the perfect party atmosphere. Head to the Top End Tourism site to check out the long list of things to see and do in NT: http://www.tourismtopend.com.au/

Kakadu Image by Neils Photography

This is just a sample of some of the incredible things on offer around this land that you’re calling home for a short while. There’s countless other adventures to be had, right here, just a short domestic flight away, without the need for another visa or currency exchange rate to work out.

Australia. It’s big, it’s diverse, and it’s so much more than the cities and the east coast. Make the most of the time you have here. Go see this amazing country. There’s nothing else quite like it.

Being a Tourist in Your Host City – The Melbourne Edition

By Jessica Bee

So far in our ‘Being a Tourist in Your Host City’ series we’ve heard from Sydney and Adelaide, now it is time for Melbourne!

Again, The Urban List has come to our rescue (twice!) and gives us a list of ’50 things to do in Melbourne for under $50′ and then ’50 more things to do under $50′ – and surprise surprise, they are both amazing! (And, yes, that is 100 things to do under $50!)

To check out the entire list use these links:

https://www.theurbanlist.com/melbourne/a-list/50-things-do-melbourne-under-50

https://www.theurbanlist.com/melbourne/a-list/cheap-things-to-do-in-melbourne

I have personally gone through their list of 100 and picked our my top 10 to share with you here!

  1. Treat yourself to a new tee at HoMies—you’ll also be giving to charity too as the store uses a proportion of its profits to help Melbourne’s homeless.
  2. Try barefoot bowling with your mates at Fitzroy Bowls Club for $15 per person
  3. Hop on the free City Circle Tram & see Melbourne’s best sights – jump on and off as you please
  4. Seek out a vintage gem at one of Melbourne’s best op shops – $50 will buy you a new wardrobe!
  5. Stalk your favourite food truck and get your fill of food for around $15
  6. Check out some amazing art at the NGV, where you’ll find free shows as well as paid exhibitions.
  7. Take a class at Fitzroy’s awesome skills hub, Work Shop, starting from $25.
  8. Catch some awesome live comedy at the Comedy Lounge from $15 a ticket.
  9. Drop by Dejour Jeans in Brunswick for a custom made & tailored pair of jeans for under $50!

As you can see Melbourne has a lot to offer even those on the tightest of budgets with lots of cheap or free things to do in and around the city. Don’t be afraid to ask a local for recommendations as well! Some of the best food I have eaten and streets I have explored were only made possible by asking locals where their favourite places are! Melbourne is one of those must-see cities in Australia that all students, regardless of where they choose to study, will make their way to in order to check out this creative hub – so if you have chosen to make this city your home for the semester make sure you take advantage of having some of the best coffee, the coolest art scene, and the most delicious food right at your finger tips!

Townsville – You’ll be surprised!

By Rob Spencer

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Did you know that Townsville holds the Guinness World Record for the ‘Longest Horns in the World’? That’s right, Townsville’s own world famous Longhorn steer, JR, was certified by the Guinness World Records in 2011 to have the longest horns measured tip to tip, of all the cattle in the world (currently 2.82 metres). Fascinating!

Townsville also has the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium! If you want to experience the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef without getting your toes wet, then look no further than Townsville’s Reef HQ. Reef HQ is also the headquarters for the National Reef Education Centre for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

And just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get better, did you know that Townsville has an average of 300 sunny days a year! That’s right Melbourne, you may have fancy bars and shopping, but we have sunshine and plenty of it!

So what to do with all of those glorious sunny days? Take a day in the life of a Townsville local and try these activities on for size.

The Strand

Start your day slowly, with a morning stroll along the Strand. Once you have finished strolling along our breezy waterfront, head on over to Gregory Street for a refreshing acai smoothie. Take it back to the beach and enjoy it while the waves lap at your feet. If you’re feeling a bit peckish, head on over to Palmer Street for a wholesome brunch from one of our fabulous eateries. Don’t forget to come back at night for a sticky-beak through the Strand night markets to pick up a few treasures and treats.

It’s Magnetic

Why not jump on the ferry and splash your way over to Magnetic Island? With its sandy bays and walking tracks, you’ll never have a dull moment, especially if you try to use a compass to circumnavigate the Island! You should also pack a stinger suit or swim inside the nets if you visit during our summer months, unless you like to live dangerously. And I hope you love wildlife, because there are over 800 koalas on the island. You could also hire a snorkel or go scuba diving, and get cosy with the coral. For those of you who prefer breathing through your nose, you might choose to paddle board, kite surf or biscuit your way across the bays.

Crystal Creek

Pack a picnic lunch and take a drive out to Crystal Creek for a paddle and bush walk. Wash away the stress of the 9 to 5 grind as you enjoy the stunning rainforest and waterfalls. Take a slippery dip down the natural rock slides and re-live your youth. On your way home, stop in at Frosty Mango for the best ice-cream in the southern hemisphere.

Jezzine Barracks

For a spot of history with ocean views, Jezzine Barracks is a must see. The recent redevelopment of Kissing Point has transformed an otherwise inaccessible patch of bush into a beautiful walking, running and event arena. Complete with restored military artefacts, indigenous artwork, lush landscaping and barbeques, it truly complements our garrison city. Often the site of markets or festivals, keep your eyes peeled during your visit. If you visit at night, take a moment to watch the sunset over Magnetic Island and watch our thriving metropolis light up before your eyes.

Paluma

Want to escape from the hustle and bustle? Take a drive up to Paluma and immerse yourself in a world of mist, scenery and bushwalks. If you’re feeling athletic, pack your mountain bike and zoom through the rainforest on the Paluma Push. Whether you’re a pro or weekend warrior, this event caters for everyone.

The Hill

For exercise with a view, you can’t go past Castle Hill. Frequented by locals in the early mornings and late evenings, you can enjoy an intense work out with the promise of panoramic views of Townsville once you reach the top. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could go for a trek along the goat track and feel the burn of the stairs which will remind you that you’re alive. But what goes up must come down, so you can look forward to the respite on the descent.

So pack your rashy and SPF 50+ and come say g’day. You’ll be surprised by what Townsville has to offer!

Being a Tourist in Your Host City – The Adelaide Edition

By Sharna Bremner

Earlier in the year, our lovely SSC Jess wrote a blog called “Being A Tourist in Your Host City – The Sydney Edition”. It’s chock-full of great things to do in around Sydney, but contains one factual error. You see, Jess claims that Sydney is the best city in Australia. And I’m here to dispute that. Is Sydney a nice city? Sure. Is it Australia’s most famous city? Probably. But Australia’s best city? I think not.

No, the title of Australia’s Best City goes to Adelaide, of course.

Adelaide is the hidden gem of Australia. It’s not something that we like to brag about, because we’re humble down here in Adelaide. We’re the quiet achievers of the nation. From sparkling clean beaches to world-famous wines, incredible-yet-affordable food, non-stop festival fun and everything in between, we’ve got it all.

Yes, the time is right to be a tourist in Adelaide – whether you’re studying at one of our amazing universities, or just looking for an awesome weekend away from your host city.

The problem (if you can call it that) is that there’s SO much to do in Adelaide, all within easy reach of the city centre, that it’s hard to be specific. My list, therefore, is broken down into broad yet enjoyable categories – it’s up to you to choose your own Wonderful Radelaide* Adventure.

  1. Eat

Adelaide’s “foodie” scene has exploded in the last few years and we now have more restaurants per capita than any other Aussie city. Name the cuisine and you’re guaranteed to find an incredible restaurant serving it here. You can check out some of the variety here. Or, if it’s true variety you’re looking for, join Feast on Foot for one of their awesome food and street art walking tours – just don’t eat breakfast first or you might not fit in the Lebanese, Japanese, Vietnamese, chocolate, cupcakes and more that the tour offers.

  1. Drink (responsibly of course)

Wine, wine and more wine. Adelaide and the surrounding areas are home to over 200 wineries that produce some of the world’s best wine. But you don’t have to go far to find them – check out the National Wine Centre on North Terrace in the city to try wines from all over the state, and the country. If wine isn’t your thing, check out one of Adelaide’s (many) funky bars.

  1. Head to the beach

Winter has finally gone and it’s the perfect time to hit the beach! Whether it’s one of Adelaide’s suburban beaches – most of which are within 45 minutes of the city – or one further “down the coast”, you’ll find crystal clear waters, white sand, and none of the huge crowds that cover Bondi or Manly. Check out this Buzzfeed list for some of the best!

  1. Hit up a market or two. Or six.

There’s farmers markets, art and craft markets, vintage markets, community markets, noodle markets, clothing markets, community markets, and more. If markets are your thing, Adelaide is the place to be. There’s a handy (but not all-inclusive) list to get you started here.

  1. Have some festival fun.

Adelaide isn’t called the Festival City for nothing. We’ve got the Fringe Festival, the Adelaide Festival, the Adelaide Film Festival, Cheesefest, the OzAsia Festival, the Guitar Festival, SALA Festival, Feast Festival, WOMADelaide, the Cabaret Festival, countless multicultural and food and wine festivals and dozens of others that I can’t list here because I’ve typed the word festival so many times it’s starting to look weird. You can get more info here.

For those of you who are more athletically inclined, Adelaide has some amazing walks and hikes on offer. Choose from ocean views, or head to the bush. Either way the scenery will be incredible. See this list for some inspiration.

  1. Picnic in the park.

The only question is which park? The city of Adelaide itself is based around one square mile, all surrounded by the Adelaide Park Lands, which are made up of 29 public squares and parks that are protected from development to ensure that we can enjoy them forever. Each of the parks has something different – from adventure playgrounds and free sporting equipment like Frisbees and footballs, to paddle boats and a traditional Japanese garden. You can find out about each of them here.

  1. Get “cultured”.

If museums and art are more your thing, look no further than the City of Adelaide. There’s art galleries, museums, indigenous cultural centres, street art galore, and of course, the South Australian Museum, which houses the world’s biggest display of Aboriginal artefacts. Best of all, most of them are free. For more info, click here.

  1. Go exploring.

Whether it’s on foot, or using Adelaide’s free bike hire service, the city is a wonderful place to explore. Grab a map, follow the trails, set off on your own, or combine all of the things in this list for an amazing day of Adelaide goodness.

  1. Splash!

Splash Adelaide is a joint initiative between the Adelaide City Council and the local community that brings under-utilised areas of the city to life. There are visual art displays, pop-up bars and restaurants, street parties, classes, performances, games and more!

So, while mid-semester break might be over, your touristy adventures don’t have to end. If you’re lucky enough to be studying right here in Adelaide, there’s no better time to be a tourist in your host city. If you’re studying elsewhere around Australia, come and visit! Adelaide makes the perfect weekend trip destination – it’s close, it’s affordable, and it’s rad.

*That’s why we call it Radelaide.

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Brisbane & Gold Coast Adventure Weekend

By Anne-Marie Dangerfield

12043760_1500707896909185_1424131232_o This semester’s Adventure Weekend for the Brisbane and Gold Coast students was great fun! Staying at the Binna Burra Lodges located in Lamington National Park; the cabins kept us nice and toasty warm, as it was a bit chilly in the mountains during our stay.

12041591_1500707796909195_1999412472_oThe rain didn’t stop us from hiking to Gwongoorool Rock Pools and the more adventurous having an icy dip in the pristine water.

12041144_1500707683575873_532637550_oThe high ropes and flying fox were definitely highlights and a few of the students overcame their fear of heights and participated!

12050738_1500707290242579_1032296180_oI’d have to say my favourite activity was the bush dancing. It was very entertaining to watch as the students fumbled over each other. I knew we were a special group when it took about 20 minutes just to form a circle! But with perseverance some interesting and fun dancing was done and as a reward for their hard work we roasted marshmallows over a fire and ate s’mores! As an Aussie I don’t understand why ya’ll Americans hate the pink marshmallows so much… I can hardly taste the difference!

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Let’s Start at the End

By Jessica Bee

Even though it is only just the start of a new semester here in Australia, I wanted to start with a thought about the end. We as Student Service Coordinators try to prepare our students for just how quickly their semester is going to go by, encourage them to take advantage of every opportunity and really enjoy their time here. However, there really is no way to make someone realise that this experience is going to be over before they know it; at this point five months seems like plenty of time.

We see it every semester, students going through the realisation process that time is starting to go by way to fast. I personally, make a point to talk about it at Orientation, all throughout the semester and address what it is going to be like when they go home at the Farewell dinner, explaining that this may feel like it was all a dream. Additionally, it is hard to explain to a student when they first arrive just how much this experience may impact their lives, how much they may change and grow and the confidence they may find that they never knew they had. These ideas were solidified for me when I read a blog post from one of my students from last semest er, Brooke Houseknecht from Susquehanna University. Here is an excerpt from Brooke’s post that she wrote upon her return to America:

‘Coming back home to the states has been the most surreal experience of my life. My time living in Australia feels like a crazy, magical, bittersweet, timeless dream. It was such a short period of my life, but it has impacted me in more ways than I can even express. I have learned a lot from the interesting professors I had, but I learned most about Australian culture from my many adventures outside of the classroom. It’s going to be weird not being as exposed to different cultures, languages and races on a daily basis. I look at life a little bit differently now, in the most positive way possible.

Living abroad inspired me to travel more outside of the country, but also explore more cities in the states as well. I would love to know some cities in America as well as I know Sydney. I think that I’ve gained enough independence and confidence to do that.

I feel extremely blessed for being able to pick up and spend a semester abroad. I owe Sydney a lot for being my home, teaching me incredibly important lessons, giving me opportunities I never imagined possible, and leaving me with such special memories. For all of those wonderful reasons, I will be back one day. I’m so happy that I got to share the experience with two of my best friends, and I’m already excited to reunite with the friends I’ve made at Macquarie University. I couldn’t be happier to have those crazy people in my life.’

Because of Brooke’s post, I wanted to highlight now what it may be like at the end. Our students do experience a lot here in Australia; a lot of firsts, a lot of differences and a lot of what it’s like to be more independent. They may not know it now, but our new students have what is likely to be a challenging semester ahead of them, but it will be these challenges that shape their future and the person they are going to become. I wish them all the very best on their journey and should they fall we will be here to help them get back up.

With all this in mind, here are a few tips to consider:

  1. Don’t get caught up in a little American bubble, be sure to push yourself to meet new people from different cultures and countries!
  2. Do something that scares you – go to an event that interests you by yourself, it’s easier to meet someone new if you don’t know anyone there!
  3. Say yes! Remember the best discoveries are made outside of your comfort zone.
  4. Think about what you really love and get more involved in that area. Join a sports team, take a life drawing class outside of uni or look into joining a club or society. These are sure fire ways to meet people with similar interests to yours.

To read more of Brooke’s blog please visit, http://gettinglostinaussie.tumblr.com/post/123313047252/state-side

It’s Time To Say Goodbye

By Anne-Marie Dangerfield

It’s time to say goodbye!

It has been an amazing semester, but all good things must come to an end. The farewell events were definitely moving affairs this semester.

The students in Brisbane have become a really close family during their semester here and wanted to celebrate accordingly.

Well thought out paper plate awards were handed out, poems were recited and ‘in’ jokes were referred to throughout the night.

Reminiscing on how they all felt when they first arrived in Australia, the students spoke of how much they have grown as people and that this experience has changed their lives for the better.

For some, living in a foreign country has made them appreciate what they love so much about home. For others, they now call Australia home and are determined to return as soon as they graduate.

The connections and friendships you can make whilst studying abroad can last a lifetime. It pretty special to witness it and I’m very thankful for this experience too!

I wish all returning students a safe journey home!

 

The Study Abroad Journey

By Robert Spencer

Wow, what a semester it’s been so far! With so many amazing individuals that I’ve met along the way, it’s truly humbling that I’ve had the the opportunity to be a part of the Study Abroad experience with this amazing group of IFSA Butler students.

From students who hadn’t been on a plane before making this journey to students who have dedicated themselves to helping others, the examples are too great and varied to share in one sitting.

I’ve enjoyed hearing about incredible adventures, and seeing the photos to prove them! Skydiving, scuba diving, hiking exotic islands, road trips covering the east coast, a road trip to Uluru and back, and getting up close and personal with the native Australian fauna! Seeing Australia through the lens of these great adventurers makes me proud to be Australian.

Then, as if balancing studies and travelling to these exotic locations wasn’t enough, I would hear tales of inspirational creativity and selfless volunteering. I know that these actions and achievements have not only enriched the experiences of the students who performed them but the experience of so many others around them. I have learnt so much from these wonderful individuals.

I’ve been impressed with students who have had to battle moments of adversity. Being away from your usual support network adds to the challenge but once again I’ve been humbled by the intelligence and strength of character demonstrated by these young adults. I have no doubt that facing these challenges has given them a depth of experience that will serve them well moving forward. 

So the journey continues and more adventures and challenges lie ahead for this amazing group of IFSA Butler students. Also, as we approach exam time just remember that there are many support services available and should you need any help you just need to ask. As a Student Services Coordinator I’d like to thank all of the students who have shared their amazing journey with me.

Best wishes,

Rob