Come to Australia! Seriously, right now!

I will say it again: this trip was worth every minute, every hour, every dime, every dollar, every sunburn, every second without Internet, and every game I missed of the World Cup! The TEAN program really has put together a great trip that I would suggest to anyone. Not only do you get to live in Australia for over five weeks, but you also get to see almost the entire country! Even places many locals have never been to! You get to go on exclusive field trips and tours. You get to meet people from each and every city. You get school credit. You get to bond with a group of dedicated Americans from all over the states. And best of all you get to explore one of the friendliest and most beautiful countries in the world. After this trip, I have even gone as far as seriously looking for jobs in the land down under just so I could spend so more time in this great place!

With that said, so much of my learning came from places that I would have never predicted. Yes, I learned a lot in class. Yes, I learned a lot from the Australians I met. Yes, I learned a lot by visiting some amazing unique places like Kakadu, Darling Harbor, the Great Barrier Reef, etc. Yes, I learned a lot from actually living in Australia. However, the place that I think I learned the most is from the friends I made and their stories and their perspectives and their wisdom and sharing all of those other learning experiences with them. I feel so grateful and fortunate to have met the people I met on this trip and I never could have imagined it better. These people made this study abroad the trip of a lifetime while also taking a part in making me who I am right this second. While some I may never meet again, others have become some of the best friends I will ever have. It’s impossible to put into words just how thankful I am to have met these people and had this experience and is equally impossible to put into words just how life changing (not to be too dramatic) these relationships and experiences have been and will be.

I will never forget these guys! #DCM #MCD

I will never forget these guys! #DCM #MCD

 

With that said, I have decided to make a quick end of the trip wrap up questionnaire that hopefully is helpful for someone one day:

 

Best Advice:

Appreciate what you have when it’s still there. I’ve been back for less than 24 hours and already the cliché phrase “you don’t know what you have ‘til it’s gone” has become overwhelmingly true. One thing I wish I had done more was pause and look at all the things that I was taking for granted, then do those things even more so that I could never say that I didn’t take advantage of every opportunity that was there.

 

Best Purchase:

Food. It is expensive, but so is everything in Australia. I can be very cheap at home, but every meal I had on this trip was amazing and every dime I spent was worth it. I almost wish I ate more and tried even more new places! I am glad that I took the somewhat YOLO path of not focusing too much on the money and just looking at opportunities and not prices, and would suggest that to anyone else if possible.

Also, either an extension cord or power adapter that has multiple ports is a great investment (pretty much so you can charge multiple devices at once)!

 

Worst Regret:

Not meeting even more people. Yes I met a ton of people and got close to everyone I wanted to, but there are always more people and even though I am totally satisfied with my experience, maybe I could have met even more people!

 

Thing You Most Wish You Had Brought:

More Emergen-C. I only got sick once, but others got sick two or three times. I could not find any super high vitamin C supplements, so I could have brought more.

 

Favorite Place:

Meh, this one is hard. Melbourne was the most fun to explore and most artsy. Sydney had the most things to do. The Great Barrier Reef is a must do.

 

Favorite Food:

As I have mentioned way too many times, the Asian food in Australia is fantastic. Thai, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, all of it! And the seafood is also amazing! Get as much fish and chips, sushi, pad thai, etc. as possible!

 

American Word – Aussie Word

Flip Flops – Thongs (now that made some awkward situations)

Detergent – Washing Powder

Sunglasses – Sunnies

Mom – Mum

American Football – Grid Iron

Mosquito – Mozzy

Mall – Arcade

Flashlight – Torch

Gas (like for cars) – Petrol

As you can see, if you can shorten a word, the Aussies have!

 

I will try to add more as I think of more advice, but my biggest advice is DO IT! Go to Australia! If you want to over summer and get some credits, this program is AMAZING! Thank you for reading, and now back to trying to get over this 17 hour jetlag….

Thank you,

-Craig Boman

Advertisements

Days 31 through 35

Day 31: Presentations and Studying for Final

The title here pretty much explains today. We went through 11 presentations over 3.5 hours, got ramen and gelato after, then studied and got some sleep. The presentations were all really great (everyone in this program is pretty darn smart) and I love learning from my peers. Pretty uneventful day, but this really is the calm before the storm!

 

Day 32: Final, Lagoon, and Finished!

Thank god that after all those four hour classes and 11 presentations yesterday that our final was only an hour! We all went to the final in our bathing suits and went directly afterwards to the lagoon and to get food! We also had our final dinner with the TEAN staff at a really nice restaurant and took some great photos with everyone! It was a great end to class, a nice day in the sun, and tonight we will go out and have a great time!

 

Day 33: White Water Rafting

My friends that have been to Cairns before all said to go white water rafting, and man were they right! We had an amazing tour guide, a really chill group, and rafted through a truly beautiful tropical rain forest! I may have feel in the rapids twice and was pushed in another time, but every second was phenomenal! I could tell many stories from just this one ride through the rapids (actually two because we signed up for a full day), but all I can say is: if you ever go to Cairns, you better go white water rafting!

Afterwards we went out for dinner at one of the many discounted places that the TEAN program has hooked us up with, then went to sleep earlier than usual because tomorrow is the Great Barrier Reef!

 

Day 34: I Totally Understand Why We Need to Save This Place!

The Great Barrier Reef is no question, one of the coolest places I will ever go! I may have gotten sea sick four times throughout the around 8 hour adventure and was not allowed to scuba dive because of my childhood heart surgery (which I was fine with because it would not have been fun to scuba dive while feeling sick), but it was still amazing! I snorkeled as much as I could and must have taken over 200 pictures, but no pictures or words can describe this breathtaking place. The coral like small islands just below the water surface. The uncountable number of fish that are more colorful than you can imagine. The way you can just hover there and see hundreds of fish swimming by so close to you just doing their daily routine. I must have followed 20 different fish, found six different “Nemo’s”, seen a school of at least 100 swimming fish, and all in ten minutes. Then, the next ten minutes you see three new things you never could have imagined. Then another ten minutes, then another, and it continues until you’re back on the boat reminiscing with everyone else about what they saw. It was truly amazing and I never could have imagined it better.

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef

Nemo in the Great Barrier Reef

Nemo in the Great Barrier Reef

Fishes everywhere!

Fishes everywhere!

 

Day 35: Last Day 😦

Today we decided to just chill, eat, and do other shenanigans with my best friends from the trip. It was a nice final day, and we will all miss each other’s daily presence, but we will no doubt definitely keep in touch.

I will miss everyone on this trip, but will try my best to see all the cool places they are from, while also hoping some visit me! It’s time for a lengthy nap on this long flight home (I actually land only an hour after I take off because of time changes!), and then its back to normal life. Then again, this trip has taught me so much that I don’t think it will be ‘normal’ life. Maybe it’s only a little or maybe a lot, but I have grown on this trip and I am grateful for every bit of it. My future travels with the friends I have made and traveling to see them again excites me, but also seeing the person I have become because of them is even more exciting.

Gonna miss these guys! #DCM #MCD

Gonna miss these guys! #DCM #MCD

To anyone thinking of doing a trip like this, do not hesitate. It was worth every minute, every hour, every dime, every dollar, every sunburn, every second without Internet, every game I missed of the World Cup…. There is no price I could put on this adventure and I will always be thankful for this experience.

Days 27 through 30

Day 27: Bondi Beach and Last Day in Sydney

We had no class today, which meant sleeping in and exploring. My friend and I took a long walk from school to the beach and up the coast to the world famous Bondi Beach. It is an amazing walk, that I highly suggest, and a nice time to talk with a friend while getting some great pictures! After our walk, we met up with a friend of mine from CMU who lives in Sydney. Too bad that this was our last day because he had some suggestions of things to do, but most everything he suggested we had already done! Getting his perspective was great (plus he is in the same major as me, so we talked about engineering down under) and it was a nice last day in Sydney. We went back, packed up, and went to sleep early before our flight tomorrow (jk we never sleep early, we talked all night at went to bed at a ‘reasonable’ time).

 

Bondi Beach walk with David

Bondi Beach walk with David

Day 28: Cairns and Meeting Other Groups

The flight to Cairns was pretty short (about 4.5 hours) and was a great time to get some sleep and watch a movie. After landing we moved into our dorm, which I guess has a reputation for being a party place (its got a club attached to it!), and went on a tour of the town. Cairns is pretty small, but has a ton of awesome things to do nearby, which is why we end here and have a few extra days to go scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef and/or skydiving and/or white water rafting and/or bungee jumping and/or a bunch of other awesome things! Despite the fact that the beach here is kind of lame (its all mud…), there is a really cool lagoon that we will definitely go to after our final!

Cairns is also the location where TEAN semester programs go for a pre-departure optional trip, so I met some really cool new people and definitely had a truly memorable night. I can’t wait to finish up my finals and go to the Great Barrier Reef and more!

 

Day 29: Sugar Mill, Mission Beach, and Boulders

Instead of class today, we went to a sugar mill that both produces sugar and about nine megawatts of energy. It was a very interesting tour that was only hindered by the fact that it smelled like sweet sugar the whole time and was during lunchtime… We have seen a variety of really cool energy production techniques and this one was a good finisher. After the tour, we got lunch at Mission Beach, which, once again, the seafood was to die for! The beaches here are great not only because they are warm even in winter, but they are also surrounded by both mountains and tropical rain forests. What a place! We then went to a cool park called Boulders where we explored a really phenomenally carved out river valley!

Tonight was another great night of meeting new people and having some great last nights with some truly memorable friends. I’m so fortunate to have met so many amazing people and tonight really made me thankful!

 

Mission Beach with the amazing mountains and rain forests in the background!

Mission Beach with the amazing mountains and rain forests in the background!

Exploring Boulders

Exploring Boulders

Day 30: Last Class and Activities Fair

We finished our classes of today with a class on wind energy. The technology is not only super interesting, but is also a great prospect for our future. Today we reunited with the Tourism group, so we showed them around town, then went to the activities fair where we signed up (with discounts) for all the great activities that are all around Cairns. TEAN set up this sign-up event to show us the most trusted organizations for all these trips and give us those discounted hook ups! It was really great and I signed up for white water rafting (I was told by some friends that it is amazing here) and scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef (because you have to!). A lot of money spent, but it will be so worth it!

Days 23 through 26

Day 23: Kayaking and Watson’s Bay

Another day of waking up early, but this time to kayak the Sydney Harbor! It was a very strenuous workout, but we rowed to a place called Shark Island (for its shape, not aquatic life), which had some amazing view of the city. After kayaking, I went with a friend to Watson’s Bay because she heard of a really great restaurant there. The views were the best I’ve seen of Sydney! We ate some clam chowder along with a few ginger beers and talked about life. It’s great to explore a part of the world I may only be in once while also making a great friend. I did lose my room key on this excursion, but it was so worth it!

View of Sydney from Watson Bay

View of Sydney from Watson Bay 

Day 24: Project Work time and Ramen

Today was the day pretty much every group busted out a bunch of their projects because it was the last Sunday in Sydney. After splitting up the work and discussing our goals, I went out with some friends to get ramen. I never really knew that you could get gourmet ramen; I thought it was just that stuff you buy in packets for 30 cents. I cannot state it more, but Asian food here is ridiculously good! When I get back, I will definitely keep my eye open for ramen now, but I doubt it will be as good as it is here. Tonight I video chatted with some friends back home, which was nice, and seeing that I was a day ahead of most of them was pretty funny!

 

Day 25: World Cup Final

The world cup final in Australia was at 3:00am…. It was a great game that I could analyze for an hour, but of course it went to overtime and therefore I didn’t go back to sleep until around 5:30am then had to wake up for class around 8:30…. Therefore, after class I took a good long nap! I once again had some great Asian food for dinner (I feel like I mention it everyday, but man do I love it!), then we dealt with our first drama of the trip. I’m amazed that 25 days in there has been no real drama and am super thankful that todays was pretty minimal, but it still stinks. We helped our friend that was in the forefront of it, and luckily tomorrow is her birthday, so we also hatched out our plan to make it the best ever!

 

Day 26: Birthday and 360 Bar again

Our friend is a little older than the rest of us and has a daughter, and therefore hasn’t had much of a birthday in a long time. So, of course, we had to make today special for her! After class, my friend and I ran off to buy flowers, Guinness (her favorite beer), purple balloons (her favorite color), and a “21st Birthday” tiara [because today she’s 21 ;)]. We hid everything in her room before she came back from class, and then surprised her with some poppers as she walked in! She loved the gifts and the surprise flowers on her bed and I’m glad because she totally deserves it! After the surprise, we got ready and took her to the 360 Bar, which was just as amazing the second time, then went out to a few other places. All in all, today was a very nice day for all of us and I look forward to sending flowers to our friend every year (we all agreed we would, but she doesn’t know hehe)!

Jen's Surprise Birthday!

Jen’s Surprise Birthday!

Free Birthday Dessert at 360 Bar!

Free Birthday Dessert at 360 Bar!

 

Days 19 through 22

Day 19: A Normal College Day

Once again, we had class from 9am to 1pm, but the teacher today was much better than yesterday’s teacher. We also covered energy storage today, but with more hands-on learning. We spent about 30 minutes of class touring the building we have class in, which is a six star energy rated building (the highest rating in Australia). After the tour we spent about an hour making our own batteries, then the professor showing us how we can make a simple capacitor with just plastic bottles, foil, and salt water.

After class, we played soccer and badminton, and then walked around campus looking for the best places to get a good view of the city. We then attempted to do some of our assignments, but it’s hard when it feels so much like vacation. There really isn’t that much work, but of course the engineering program has more than the other groups who therefore have time to go out and have fun, which makes working even harder…. Either way, it’s a Tuesday night, so not much is going on, so time to finish up some work/blog.

 

View of campus and city from the UNSW library

View of campus and city from the UNSW library

Day 20: Mid-Week Slump

Today we had a really interesting lecture on efficiency that looked into how making the end-use products like light bulbs, heaters, washing machines, etc. more efficient can save potentially more energy than working on the efficiency of a power plant. It is a really interesting concept, and the topic of my project, so I really enjoyed this class. After class was another lazy day of catching up on sleep and homework, but we went to a really good sushi place for dinner. I do have to say: the fish here is not only amazing, but cheap! Salmon rolls cost only as much as California rolls, there are cheap rolls with huge scallops or prawns, and the crab is real! For anyone who comes to Australia, I highly suggest getting as much seafood as possible! With that said, tonight was another lazy night of just chilling with people, but once again it was a cool opportunity of meeting Americans from all over the nation and comparing the cultural differences and challenging social stereotypes. The learning outside of class that I would have never predicted is amazing.

 

Day 21: Darling Harbor

This morning I woke up to watch the world cup semifinal, but with time changes, that means I woke up at 5am…. Thank god I slept in earlier this week and that class was once again on efficiency and was therefore really interesting. Even though I wanted to sleep after class, we went to the botanical garden and planetarium, which was up on this hill that had amazing views. We then continued walking and went to Darling Harbor, which is one of the go to places in Sydney! It has a really cool vibe that reminds me of Fisherman’s Wharf just with less tourists and more lights and sites. Afterwards, we attempted to go to the fish market, but realized it closes early in the day so went back and ate in Darling Harbor. For anyone going to Sydney, make sure you go to the fish market because I hear it is really awesome, but you have to go in the morning!

In general, I think one thing I have done well this trip compare to some others is going out with people and exploring even if I should sleep or do some more work. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I will finish the work and will have time to sleep later. I’m also glad that I have friends that will drag me along if I do make an excuse, and I really haven’t missed out on much thanks to them!

 

Day 22: Field Trips and Olympic Stadium

Today we woke up early to go to two different places: the Ausgrid Education Center and Earth Power. First we explored the Ausgrid center, which is an extremely sustainable building with some interesting features we learned about and a few exhibits that show green building and energy saving tactics. Ausgrid is the company that maintains the power grid in Australia so their perspective on energy savings is really interesting. Again, this fits very well into my degree and interests and therefore was extremely fascinating. I do wish our tour guides were a little more knowledgeable, but I took a Green Buildings class last semester, so it was like seeing what we learned about in class but in real life! Earth Power is a bioenergy plant that uses microbes to digest food waste into methane, which it burns to produce energy. Aside from the horrid smell of the rotting food, the facility was very educational and another great experience of seeing what we are learning in our bioenergy classes.

After the field trips we took an in-bus tour of the Olympic complex, which was pretty cool, but also very much renovated since the Olympic games 14 years ago. We ate at a nearby park that had probably the coolest playground I’ve ever seen. If I were just 10 years younger, I would totally be all over that place!

For dinner, we were once more astounded by the delicious Asian food that is so close to campus, then went out to dance and had a great night!