G’day Mate! As my first month studying abroad in Australia comes to an end, I have plenty to be thankful for. If my time in Queensland were to end today, I could not complain, as this month has been incredible. Luckily, I still have 3 more months remaining.
Classes have certainly picked up, and there are several large assignments on the horizon. At Bond, professors enjoy putting all of their major assignments around the same time. Unlike High Point, most Bond classes consist of a midterm test or project and a final (which I know is not rare in universities, but it’s not what I’m accustomed to). These 2 assessments make up roughly 80% of each class. That being said, I have especially enjoyed my Australian Sport in the Modern Era course (shocking I know) and Australian media. I find it fascinating to see how Australia differs from the US in both sport and media.
Speaking of sports, Res Wars began this past week. Res Wars is a semester long competition between each of the 5 on campus dorms. My dorm, A-Block, also referred to as the dungeon or prison by our jealous rivals, left the dodge ball battlefield victorious in week one. Preseason favorites, AC Red Devils, left the court disappointed with their subpar performance and will surely respond strongly in weeks to come. A-Block’s dominating Grand Final match, against rival B-Block, sent an intense shock wave through campus.
Saturday, I attended the annual Brisbane festival with Sarah, Jared, and Wade. We spent the day walking around the city and taking in the atmosphere. There were several vendors at the festival, including the consensus favorite, Divine Doughnuts. Along with our doughnut consumption, we also consumed a bit of historical knowledge at the local museum. There was also a Chinese lantern exhibit outside along the river, which I enjoyed. But the neatest part of the day for me was the fighter jet fly over, followed by a 20 minute firework display.
Brisbane is a 1hr 15min train ride from the Gold Coast, which is quite convenient for Uni students without cars. Unfortunately, public transportation after a massive event has its cons, pun intended, especially when no security is present. There was a group of 4 men in their 30s, along with a dozen or so teenagers and 5 tweens who were sitting in the several rows behind us on our return trip. To make a very long story short, these men all clearly had troubled pasts and were “mentoring” these other 17 or so kids on their ways. It was extremely difficult to witness, especially after hearing the assumed ringleader giving advice to the 5 youngest boys. He was explaining to them about different illegal acts he had committed and so on. The most disturbing moment came when I heard him say these exact words to the young boys, “You’re the future of us.” Implying that these kids, no older than 13 would be the next street criminals. This was hard to swallow and it made me really appreciate my upbringing in a loving Christian home.
The train ride got worse when a man, sitting across the aisle from me, decided to make snarky remarks towards the group. Lets just say things escalated very quickly. The whole thing ended with a couple of punches landed and a plethora of harsh words delivered. This was about a 2-hour ordeal, so you can imagine how intense it was. Mind you, there were a couple of young children with their families that had to deal with this too. There are a lot more details I cannot share on this blog, but it was possibly the most surreal 2 hours of my life. At one point Wade asked me if this was one long dream we were all experiencing together. In the end, everyone left the train in one piece, which is always good. This was a very eye-opening experience for me and like I said earlier, it made me very grateful that I am not in the same situation as those kids.
On a lighter and more upbeat note, the last couple of weeks have been fantastic. I have spent time with friends in Surfers Paradise, the beach, and of course trivia nights, among other things. Public transportation doesn’t seem to like us though, as we have missed the last bus of the day on 3 different occasions. I have been attending Hope Church here in Robina, which has been great. It is a little bit different from churches I am used to, which can be uncomfortable, but refreshing at the same time. Wade and I purchased our tickets to the Mumford and Sons concert in Gold Coast on Halloween, which we are both stoked for. Sorry for the long report, I guess 2 weeks is too long to write in one blog post. But hey, if you made it this far I guess it wasn’t too terribly boring. Cheers!