I’m on exchange!
I did it! I mean, I would’ve preferred if I got to go on exchange to somewhere like the UK or US, but Australia would have to do. Let’s cut straight to the point! What have I been up to since I arrived? Sightseeing, doing touristy things, trying to get used to the weather, etc…
#1: Orientations Galore
I went for more orientation sessions in the first 2 weeks I’ve been here since the beginning of my tertiary education life. Why so many??? The first week was pretty useful as it was catered for us study abroad and intercampus exchange students, but the actual O’ Week that ran simultaneously as the Malaysia campus was made compulsory for me too. I’m already in my second year, do I really need an introduction of what lecturers do? On the bright-side, I met some new people, which was nice. There was also Wominjeka, the welcoming event on campus. There were games & activities that if you completed, you could redeem a free meal from the many dining options available on campus. Most importantly, there were also native Australian animals like koalas, kangaroos, and dingos!
His name is Simba and he is very fluffy & friendly!
#2: Abroad Nights
The MOVE (Monash OVerseas & Exchange) Club organised a couple of events during the week before the actual O Week for us exchange students. It went over the course of 3 days, with 2 of them ending the night with a visit to a bar in the city (which I, of course, didn’t attend). We were brought to some popular tourist destinations in the city, which included the Eureka Skydeck, Old Melbourne Gaol (Jail) and Queen Victoria Market! I didn’t go to the gaol because we had to choose between the Skydeck and the gaol on the first day and the Night Market and Skydeck on the second day. The third night was a bar night at the Notting Hill hotel nearby but I wasn’t interested so I didn’t attend, sadly.
View from the top floor of Eureka Skydeck!
I paid $13 for the entrance to the top floor. It wasn’t as crowded as I expected it to be as we entered in batches due to there being almost 100 of us. The view was amazing at night but I think it would be nicer had we gone during the sunset. There was also an outdoor deck that was insanely cold. Other attractions on the floor was this glass floor platform that you could stand on and it would extend outside. We were supposed to head to a nearby bar after this, but my new friends & I weren’t particularly interested so we roamed around Yarra River and headed home shortly after. Late nights are impossible here in Melbourne for us because we have no car and public transport services stops around 11PM!
On the second night, we went to the Queen Victoria Market which was having its Winter Night Market since it’s winter now. It was crowded and I actually felt warm for the first time since arriving in Melbourne. We were given 2 hours to roam, explore, and buy food & drinks. IMO, it was too short as I lined up for half an hour for each thing I bought, which only gave me very little time to try as much as I could. I had crocodile burger, soft-shell crab burger and a cup of (really bitter but warm) cider.
Spitroasted lamb, fancy lights and an array of crocodile, kangaroo, emu, burgers!
On 14th July, I went on a trip to the Healesville Sanctuary to see all the animals! I somehow managed to injure both my feet from walking on the uneven ground here, but oh well. There was everything you could imagine, kangaroos & koalas, Tasmanian devils, dingos, birds, etc.
I also learned that the ibis (the last picture from the left) is a very annoying bird with a song dedicated to how horrible it is, and I found out it has the nickname bin chicken (lol). There was also an animal hospital which showed how the animals are taken care of with interactive exhibitions and there was also a baby wombat in the daycare! The koalas were the best because they were a literal fur ball and only woke up to adjust themselves or for food.
swiggity swooty, coming for that booty
#3: C&S Day
Unlike our C&S Week in Monash Malaysia, there was only one day in Week 1 of the second semester where most clubs & societies could promote themselves; at the Mid-Year Festival. There was free coffee, free food, free space-themed face painting
(can you see where I’m going with this). There were so many clubs to join and the joining fee was a stab in the wallet heart, tbh. Fortunately, if you are an MSA (Australia’s equivalent of MUSA) member, you get discounts for joining fees which means some will only cost you a maximum of $5 (or even free), contrary to the usual $10. Radio Monash did not have a booth, but they did have an event yesterday to find out more about them! They’re pretty similar to us but they do have a lot more interviewing gigs than we do and I’ve also met the co-editors who are super nice.
Week 1 was an… experience. Nothing like back home in Monash Malaysia. It’s going to take some time getting used to, especially for the accumulation of 150+ pages of required reading. I never realized lectures here aren’t compulsory to attend but I don’t think I’ll have the discipline to watch them online every week so I might as well attend it in person. My first 3 weeks here have been fun and full of new experiences, so I’m hoping the rest of my time here will be the same!