Hello Everyone!! I have successfully survived my first week abroad in the beautiful community of Townsville, Australia!! My first impression of Australians is that they are very welcoming and free spirited people!
My first glimpse of Townsville from the plane was of the lush green mountains and beautiful coastline. The JCU International staff that graciously took me to my temporary accommodations at the Civic Guest House happily greeted me. As a person who has never stayed at a hostel, I had no idea what to expect. Fortunately, this hostel was well known and the staff also was very helpful with giving directions on where to eat and wander around in the heart of Townsville.
The next day I knew I had to tackle the task of finding a permanent home off campus. Of course, I had looked up a few roomshares before on easyroommate.com so I did have a few viewings lined up. Its awesome the JCU International staff also offers to take you around for viewings. A much more reliable and safer option in my opinion than trying to use the bus to get everyone, especially since I had no idea how the bus system works here! I was able to find a nice home in Annadale, a neighborhood close the University “Uni” as locals would say! And it also is pretty close to the shopping mall here Stocklands! I pretty much got everything from Stocklands I needed like groceries, “thongs” aka flip flops for us Americans, and it has great places to eat!
I was surprised to see Dominos, Subway, KFC, and “Macca’s” aka McDonalds here!! Trying my best to not eat at any of these places yet, but we’ll see how long I can last without fried chicken and McDonalds French fries in my life!! After my first visit to Stocklands, I still had not purchased a bike so I decided to take a leisurely 2 mile walk along the Ross River in Rossiter Park back to my house in Annadale. It was AMAZING! As a person that lives for outdoor activities and hopes to never have an office job, I was totally in awe by the enormous trees, variety of birds everywhere, and I even had turtles in the river come right up to the bank to meet me! At the end of my walk, I came to a bridge that crosses into Annadale and Weir Park. The view was breathtaking!! There were people jogging, biking, and fishing off the rock jetty, and the mountains in the background gave me a sense that I made the right decision to venture to Australia. I did get a used bike now off Gumtree, a website much like Craigslist so there will be more adventures to come!
As far as studying abroad at JCU, I know this is going to be a life changing experience for me. I have a diverse group of roommates from Kuwait, Norway, Mexico, and Australia and I have met a few Americans as well. We all had a good time at the Toga Party! The JCU campus itself is full of life and I’m always stopping at Wadda Moolie Creek, the landscaping and the sound of life (birds) brings about a sense of nature and peace. I can’t wait to start my courses in Fisheries Science, Conserving Wildlife: Sea Mammals, Birds, & Reptiles, and Conservation Biology. We’ll see what all studying abroad at JCU has to offer!