Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reflections from Australia

Lisa Migliorisi, Class of 2014, shares her thoughts on her first days in Australia.

As I stepped off the plane at the Melbourne airport my surroundings were nothing like that of all those beautiful landscape postcards I expected.  Highways and parking lots filled every crevice within miles of the airport.  The hour-long trip from Melbourne to Geelong was not an interesting one, but the following weekend we traveled down the famous Great Ocean Road.  The curves and swerves revealed peeks over the edge of cliffs down to the incredible beaches.  After catching a glimpse of the water, we experienced it first hand - but not without the Australian accessory: a surfboard.  As forty of us set out to surf - most of us for the first time - we were able to take one step closer to understanding the Australian way of life.


The students I have met on this trip are some of the most interesting and diverse people. We all have almost nothing in common – from culture and religion to schools and majors – but it's nothing but fun when we are all together. Between our trips to and from Melbourne, school, and the ever-popular “Cole’s Supermarket” to our “Family Dinners” we have gotten to know and understand each other as well. Studying abroad is not just about learning to live in peace with the locals, but also learning to live in peace with fellow Americans.

But it seems that most of us Americans are having a bit of a hard time handling life in Australia, especially how EVERYTHING closes at 5:30. Malls, stores, and even restaurants. Also, everything is much more expensive here – no dollar menu at McDonalds. Its definitely not $2.25 to hop on a train or a bus, and its not a “Dollar Store" - it’s a “Mainly $2 Store.” Everything seems different than America but as time goes on we’re beginning to accept it and understand how things work here.

But surfing is not the only key to understanding Australia. I was surprised to find out that Australia has experienced many of the same adversities that America has. Their aboriginals faced similar hardships to those of Native American Indians, and racism prevailed throughout the fifties and sixties as well. The short history of Australia is as intricate as that of America. On a class trip, ”Museum Marathon”, we visited Aboriginal, Sporting, Immigration, and Melbourne Museums. Each of these places added a little information of the “Australian Way” and created a large picture for us to understand.

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