Us “Augustralians” arrived down under last Tuesday. We’ve pretty much hit the ground running and haven’t really stopped since. It’s definitely been an exciting and exhausting few days.
Once we landed, I fully expected that with 68 of us, someone was bound to lose luggage or a limb. Thankfully everyone arrived intact with their luggage. Even though American Airlines never fails to ruin my luggage in some way every time I fly with them, but hey, “no worries”.
Speaking of “no worries”. I’ve always assumed that Americans hyped-up this saying a bit too much. Was I wrong. I’ve heard it at least a dozen times each day and I admit, it’s a great saying. Overall, Australians are much less uptight and more carefree that Americans. For example, at the airport, I “ticked” something wrong on my immigration form and was bound of an in-depth luggage inspection. I simply informed an agent I made a mistake and he said “No worries, mate…the exit’s thataway” and I bypassed the whole line. That would NEVER happen in America I can definitely get used to the “no worries” attitude.
Overall, the culture shock hasn’t been too pervasive. The little things get us most, I think. Not only do Aussies drive on the left-side of the road, but they also walk on the left-side of the sidewalk. This has resulted in a lot of awkward encounters with pedestrians, but a simple “pardon” followed by a “no worries” response makes it easier to get over the embarrassment. I bet once I get back to the U.S., I’ll be walking on the left! The media is also very different here. About 6-7 channels on our TV are devoted to world news and it’s definitely different than in the U.S. — where world news isn’t all that important. And yes, I’ve heard plenty about the giant floods in Queensland. However, I haven’t heard too much news media coverage on it and it really doesn’t have much impact on us here in Sydney…except for deflating the Australian currency and making the dollar stronger. I’ll keep my eyes open for more info, though. Which will be hard since we’re pretty busy and there isn’t much time for the TV.
Meanwhile, we’ve been plenty busy touring and seeing Sydney. We were encouraged to take a tour the first day and “get lost” in Sydney and figure out the transit system. Overall, it’s been a good experience. We’re all starting to get the hang of where everything is and have seen a ton of amazing sites like the Opera House, Harbour bridge, the Blue Mountains, and more. I’ve even had the opportunity to pet Kangaroos and Koalas and have enjoyed an afternoon at Sydney’s Manly beach. The weather is also phenomenal. Sunny and hot! EVERYDAY! Don’t be jealous though. The Australians have proclaimed this a “horrible” Summer…which must mean 25 C and partly sunny everyday! Definitely don’t miss sub-zero temperatures and snow.
Lastly, I was one of many that arrived in Sydney without an internship, but I had an interview this morning at the Welfare Rights Centre. Essentially, it’s a free service that provides legal advice for Australians needing help with social security or other financial services. They are independent from the government and work for the greater good of Australia. Definitely an interesting place to work for and I’m excited. If I do get the internship, I’ll work 2 days/week at the Center and spend the other 2 days doing research for a major project. I should hear back shortly once they receive my transcripts and a sample of my writing.
Well, that’s about it for now. I hope to update this a few times/week and keep you all in the loop on what’s going on in Australia! Until next time, no worries, mates.