Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Goodbye, Brissy!

March 9 – 11, 2014

By Allie Huang

G’day everyone!

Greetings once again from the Aussie group! As I write this post, it is our last three days here with our homestay families before we head off to Lamington National Park, Carnarvon Gorge, Heron Island, and Fraser Island, the start of our ‘real’ outdoor adventures on this overseas program. Let’s get you up to speed with the past few days.

We had a study day/free day on Sunday. All of us have been working very hard on the academic portion of the program. That day we were all busy preparing for the area studies exam on Monday, and finishing our research projects, which were due the day after.

Tuesday was the deadline to submit our papers, and then seven students delivered their independent research presentations. Overall the presentations were great—unique, interesting and informative! It was fun to learn all about various research that our peers have been preparing very hard for the past two months. As for my project, I did my independent research on the convict history of early Australia. Ever since the group visited the Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney, I have been interested in convict history. Australia has one of the highest developed economies and one of the most advanced technological infrastructures in the world today, but how many people know that Australia is the only country in the world that was initially colonized as a penal settlement? In order to understand that transformation, I formed a question to guide my research: how did convicts build their own free society? I found many useful primary sources through the NSW State Library’s archives to help me understand this topic. 

Handing in the in-depth research projects (my paper was nearly a half-inch thick) that we have been thinking about and working on since last semester really gave me a sense of accomplishment. Later that day, some people went out for Mexican food and to chill out on the city beach in Southbank to celebrate. As for me, since I stayed up late to finish my project and still had my presentation to deliver the next day, I decided to go back home to take a nice nap to regain my energy and practice more for my presentation.

That evening, as I was sitting down in the living room of my homestay family and writing this blog, I looked around and had lots of thoughts swirling in my head. First of all, I was grateful that the weather had been very generous to us so far! After turning in my big project, I felt a sense of relief that was bittersweet at the same time. Thinking of the time I was in Brisbane, suddenly I felt that this month passed by so fast. In my culture, people say that good time flies especially fast. I felt like the first day I met my homestay family and took the ferry with my homestay sister at night in Southbank was just yesterday. I miss walking to the GED office every morning with my L&C homestay sisters, Katherine and Claire. I miss seeing the giant whale that makes strange noise above me every time I go to the Cultural Center bus stop to return home after spending time in the library. I miss our time with our lovely homestay family, watching My Kitchen Rules after dinner, the fruit salad that our host dad, Scott, made for us every day after dinner, and our host dog, the cutest and laziest dog I have ever seen, Tilly. Not to mention our time in the Gold Coast, spending our Saturday morning in the farmers market at West End, and all the other good times with our host family. I am sure I will miss them very much. Our homestay family is wonderful and I have enjoyed my stay with them!

At the same time, I am glad we are almost done with three of our classes, and I can’t wait for the outdoor adventures. I am hoping the camping experience in Lamington, along with our adventures following, will change my life and be experiences I will never forget. 

Me, Claire, and Katherine with our Host Siblings

Our Host Dog, Tilly

One of My Favorite Spots in Brisbane: Southbank

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