The last time I wrote in this blog of mine, I was in the middle of my second semester at UQ. As of today, I only have three weeks left before I leave Australia and head back home again – so I really am nearing the end of my year abroad.
Lectures, tutorials and seminars are now over and the only thing I have to do before completing my year is sit two exams that I shall spend considerable time preparing for in the next 18 days. So while the academic year in Glasgow is over, exam season is just about to get started here and – in all honesty – this isn’t exactly the most exciting part of being a student in Australia.
In fact, second semesters on your year abroad tend to be quite different. I’ve certainly noticed a difference to my first semester here that actually seems quite distant now. One of the reasons for this is definitely the fact that the excitement of living in a new environment gradually fades away as you become more familiar with it. I’m probably not the tourist I was during all of my travels and I certainly feel more like a ‘local’ when I meet other exchange students who have just arrived.
But knowing your way around is also great. It’s been awesome to have friends from abroad come visit me here in Australia, exploring Brisbane and its surrounding areas a little more.
That said, it’s always good to have a couple of weekend trips planned during the semester to break up the daily routine of university life.
So, first I flew into Sydney for four days to visit a friend studying at UNSW. Much like Melbourne, Sydney didn’t impress me too much (the beauty of Australia lies in its coastlines and beaches, not its cities!!) but I still saw the Opera House and enjoyed a boat cruise around Sydney harbour.
Another weekend, some friends and I drove up to the Sunshine Coast for a couple of days on the beach and a 10k run at the Noosa Run event. Renting an Airbnb with access to a beach is great idea – you should really try it if you come here. If you ever find yourself wondering whether you should spend a weekend at Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast, definitely go for the latter. It’s a lot more scenic and much more of a break from the city.
So it’s always good to have a couple of short trips lined up during the semester to keep things exciting; especially when the day-to-day routines of university life become all too familiar.
Now I have to get back to studying again. Being busy until the very end of my stay here means that I haven’t really put much thought into leaving yet which is probably a good thing. I’ll be back with one final blog post soon though – stay tuned.