One official week in Townsville, Queensland! Classes start tomorrow and I feel ready to get busy again even though I’ve enjoyed the incredibly relaxing atmosphere here.
So let me give you my overall first impression of my new home:
– Climate: The weather is so nice here! I’d say it ranges between 70 and 80 degrees during the day and feels colder or warmer depending on if it’s sunny or windy. In any case, I’m basically wearing tank tops and shorts every day and this is the coldest it ever gets here. Yay for winter in July!
– Animals: There is such a cool assortment of animals just sitting outside my window: wallabies (basically the equivalent of Duke squirrels), kookaburras, turkeys, cockatoos… They’re all there! We also went to Billabong Sanctuary on Friday and got to pet koalas, pythons, wombats (MY NEW FAVORITE ANIMAL), and see a crocodile feeding. Australian animals are so unique!
– Town: Townsville is a lot smaller than I anticipated; there are no skyscrapers and all of the bars and clubs are located on one street called Flinders Street. We get half off on bus fares as students but they often show up at least 10 minutes late and aren’t the most reliable. But…
– Beach: The beaches are A-MAZING. And I mean UH-MAZING. All of them are free (pools too) and are your classic beautiful, white sand beaches with kids building sand castles and teenagers skateboarding along the sidewalk. It’s about a 40 minute bus ride down to where they are on the Strand but the trip’s definitely worth it. I went there my first night with a small group and just sat on the beach under the stars, The next day I went to Magnetic Island, which is only a 20 minute ferry ride away and has even more bays where you can go swimming, snorkeling, jet skiing, skydiving… Basically anything you’re willing to pay for. For someone who’s only been to the beach maybe 3 times in my entire life, I’ve now been tanning almost every day. I’ve gotten a little anxious though because apparently Northern Queensland’s the skin cancer capital of the world.
– People: Everyone is so nice and inclusive here! On any given night I can walk into the kitchen and cook or chat with someone on my floor and it almost always ends in an invitation to go somewhere or do something together. Surprisingly, I’ve met way more Norwegians than Australians or even Americans so far. It’s awesome because everyone has such cool accents and in return, think I have an accent. I think the strangest thing so far is how big the age range is. There are medical students living next door who might be 10 years older than me but are just as chill and involved in student life as the 18- or 23-year old first year students are.
I’m really happy and relieved that it’s been pretty easy to settle in and to meet so many great people so far. The days feel really short since it gets dark around 6pm but I hope this semester doesn’t fly by too quickly. Btw, if anyone has any suggestions for cheap trips or hostels or just general advice, please please let me know. I’d really appreciate it. 😀