This will be the first festive period I’ll have spent outside Glasgow and although I’m looking forward to a Christmas day BBQ and trip to the beach, it doesn’t feel very much like Christmas here in Perth. Maybe the 30-degree heat has something to do with that but not even a 6ft inflatable Santa occupying our living room can make it seem more like Christmas. The main thing I always enjoy about Christmas is having the chance to catch up with family and extended family and that’s something I’ll certainly miss this year. In general, I have started to miss Glasgow a bit, just simple things like having a walk around the city or going for a pint with mates. I can’t say I’m not jealous of those of you will be enjoying a white Christmas this year but I’m sure I’ll have plenty more of those to come. Always one to keep things in perspective, I’m still over the moon to be spending my Christmas here in Perth and I’ve met plenty of great people over here who I’ll be spending the holidays with!
I’m roughly a month into my summer break but feel like I’ve had a full summers worth of good times already! Shortly after handing in my last essay we went to watch the first day of an Australia vs. New Zealand cricket test match (which was about as exciting as a game of cricket can be but a good day out none-the-less). Two days later we took in a Tame Impala gig at the Belvoir Amphitheatre (which was one of the best gigs I’ve been to in years) and a few days after that we flew to Thailand for eleven nights.
We were booked to fly to Bali (which is actually closer to Perth than Sydney) on the 17th of November but due to a volcanic ash cloud it looked like we wouldn’t be going. Thankfully, Jetstar offered to change our flights to Phuket, Thailand instead. We took them up on their offer and although we had to cancel our Bali accommodation and book new hotels in Phuket, it’s probably the cheapest return flights to Thailand we’re ever going to get at around £150 per person. Rooftop pools, outrageous bathtubs, tasty Thai food, ridiculously cheap cocktails, stunning sunsets and exciting day trips… this essentially summarizes our trip and the photos below probably do more justice to it than I could possibly convey.
I also turned the grand old age of 22 on this trip and, in what could possibly be a study abroad first, I asked my girlfriend Caroline to marry me!
After arriving back in Perth we only had one day to recuperate before heading down the Southwest coast on a road trip with a German couple we met during orientation week. Neither of us drives so naturally we sat in the back seat and slept and ate snacks. We chose not to go up north as we heard it’s particularly warm this time of year and bigger distances are involved. Although we knew it’d be warmer up north we didn’t expect it to be cold and raining down south. Towards the end of our trip we encountered weather that can only be described as Scottishesque. Regardless, we had heaps of fun and I would definitely recommend a Southwest road trip to anyone who comes to Perth, or just a road trip in general for that matter. We based our itinerary around information in Lonely Planet’s ‘Perth & West Coast Australia’ and I would highly recommend buying a copy of it before coming here, especially if you plan on exploring Western Australia beyond Perth.
Some of the highlights of the trip for me were relaxing on Meelup beach, sampling craft ales in WA’s famous Margaret River region, exploring Augusta’s ‘Jewel Cave’ and playing soccer-golf in Denmark. (Seriously, do not miss the soccer-golf if you find yourself down that way). We ended our trip in Albany before heading back up to Perth. My second semester here doesn’t start until late February so from now until then I’m hoping to get a job and pretty much just enjoy the Perth summer!
I hope those of you who have submitted your study abroad applications didn’t find the process too stressful and all the best for the next steps of your application. As always, get in touch if you have any queries about studying in WA and see previous blogs for information on finance, visas, flights and academic stuff. Wherever you find yourself, I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!