The worldwide Augustana College experience

…and we’re back!

The Augustralians of 2011 are back in the U.S.! At least, I’m pretty sure all of us made it back. If anyone’s still down under…then oops!

The last few weeks were a whirlwind adventure. We all wrapped up our internships about 2 weeks ago. It was kind of a bittersweet moment. My supervisors definitely went out of their way to find meaningful work for me to do and make me feel welcome in the office space. I also got a departing gift from the parliament office I was working at and got to sit in on a special presentation in Sydney with my Vibewire supervisor. Pretty sweet!

For Spring Break…I packed up and flew up north to Queensland to the city of Cairns (pronounced “CANS” — I think I covered that already) and had a mighty adventurous week up there. Our first day, at 6am, we were up and ready to go out on a reef cruise to experience some snorkeling, scuba diving, and plain enjoying of this world wonder! The reef is absolutely amazing. We went out to Michaelmas Cay, a remote island on the Michaelmas reef, about 1 1/2 hours from Cairns. There I snorkeled, saw lots of fish, etc. I attempted to Scuba dive, but I got freaked out by the idea of breathing fake, compressed air at about 20 feet under the water. What if I panicked? You can’t just swim to the top…because, and I quote, your “lungs will explode”. Not for me. Snorkeling was a ton of fun though. It poured for about 20 minutes while I was out a the reef though–which was unpleasant. The rain was cold, but the water was probably about 80-ish degrees. So I hung out with the fish as much as possible.

While in Cairns, we had an action packed week complete with rainforest tours, waterfall spotting, crocodile spotting, lake/river swimming, bungee jumping, jungle swinging, skydiving, rafting, etc. You name it, someone probably did it. One of the highlights was when the inventor of bungee jumping, A.J. Hackett, showed up at our “bungee party”. I tell you, there’s nothing like watching people bungee and doing a pitch-black jungle swing free fall in the middle of the night in the pouring rain! We were all soaked by the end of the night. It was a blast.

Unfortunately, we all realised we needed to come back to the states. We flew back from Cairns, landed in Sydney, and rushed to finish last-minute packing and cleaning before vacating the apartments on the 4th. We then went to the airport, boarded the plane for a 14 hour flight to L.A. and that’s all she wrote. All was smooth aside from the fact that the flight to LAX was delayed about 1.5 hours–which translated to a lot of running in LAX to make the 45 min. connection. Thankfully they held the plane (after all, there were about 40 of us on that flight). We finally arrived back in Chicago around 6pm — about 3 hours after we took off from Sydney with the time change. I’m very jet-lagged and I hate everything about traveling at this moment! Hopefully it’ll be gone by the end of the week!

Well, that concludes my undergraduate traveling adventures. We’ll see what happens down the road. As for anyone interested in the Australia term…I have one word of advice: GO!

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