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.
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!