Monday, February 3, 2014

Enjoying Sydney

  January 29 – 31, 2014

By Katherine Jernigan

It’s safe to say that our last few days in Sydney were spent making the most of everything the city has to offer. On Wednesday, we headed back to uni for lectures on Australian media. In class, we compared Australian media to media in the United States. One big difference between the two is that Australia has a government-sponsored news outlet called the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC for short). It was interesting to see how the ABC attempts to be a balanced media outlet for the country.

Our lecturer also talked about popular television networks and shows. We learned that the channel we’ve been watching the most, SBS2, is known for showing television programs from other countries and appealing to a very diverse audience. SBS2 caught our attention with a hilarious Chinese dating show in which one man tries to get a date from 1 of 24 women. I can’t even begin to describe it. It’s called If You Are the One and it’s very entertaining.
Quad on the University of Sydney campus... very much like Hogwarts!

After lectures, we watched the film Dhuway, a moving documentary about Native Title and Aboriginal land rights. Afterwards, people went their separate ways to work on their research projects, run errands, and hang out around town. That night, we re-convened in our cozy living room to watch a film called Ten Canoes. The film, directed by Rolf de Heer, is set in the Northern Territory and features a cast of Indigenous Australians from the Ramingining community. Ten Canoes was the first full-length film to be filmed completely in an Aboriginal language. It portrays Indigenous Australian people in a very different way than do all of the other films we have watched. The script is full of humor, encouraging the audience to relax and take the story at face value, rather than examining Indigenous Australian cultures from a distance as if they were on display at a museum. The people in the movie are just that: people. The film was incredibly well done and refreshing. I think most people really enjoyed it.

The next day, Thursday, was a free day/study day. Some people took the day to work on their projects and take advantage of the semi-consistent internet connection we enjoy at Arundel House. Others of us ventured out to Manly Beach. The beach is about a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Sydney and is known for being one of the less touristy places to visit. I had been eager to go for a while, so I was delighted when I woke up to clear, sunny skies. We spent the day exploring the beach, swimming in the super-powerful waves, and chatting with some fellow beachgoers who happened to be from the U.S. After a long day at the beach and dinner at an Italian restaurant nearby, we headed home. The sun was just setting as we chose our seats in the bow of the ferry. When we arrived in Sydney Harbour, it was lit up for the evening with red lights shining on the curves of the Opera House.
Sierra and Becca on the ferry to Manly Beach
Nicky enjoying the view of the surf from the chair/hole he dug. Notice his "tv."
Sunset from the Manly ferry

The next day, it was back to lectures and a discussion of Australian film. We had fun trying to determine what classified a film as “Australian” and listening to our professor tell us which films many Australians accepted as their own and which they rejected. I was surprised to see how many films have actually been shot in Australia or produced by Australian companies or with Australian money, although I have to admit that there were many Australian titles that I didn’t recognize.

All in all, it was a great last few days in Sydney. Although many of us are sad to leave, we are excited to go on to new places, new sights, and new adventures!

Until next time,

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