Central Penn Immersion Student – Barend Woode

By on 10-17-2012 in Australia 2012

Hello!

My name is Barend Woode and I am currently studying abroad in the great country of Australia. I am sharing my experiences with you because I just wanted you to know how thankful I am to be a part of this program and this wonderful institution. Hope you enjoy!

My Aussie Family

By on 10-17-2012 in Australia 2012

My Aussie Family

I recently had dinner with my Aussie family and it was amazing! I met a great young man named Josh on the basketball court and we became instant friends. During a conversation, he invited me to have dinner at his house and I happily accepted his invitation. After basketball practice his grandmother came and picked us up. Immediately from the car ride we were having good conversation and excited for what was in store for dinner.

When we got to their beautiful home I met Josh’s mother, his four sisters, and his little brother. They were all ecstatic to meet me and I was just as ecstatic to meet them.
His mother and I spoke a lot about the history of Australia, about the Aboriginal history of Australia, and how people feel about the Aboriginal people today. We also talked about government, economy, and the comparisons between the U.S and Australia. As we started talking about various subjects, it was already dinner time! We had a great Australian meal.

The name was Gristles and it was something that I had never eaten before. It reminded me of a meat patty filled with a bunch of different vegetables. I loved it, and it tasted great. I sat down with all the kids and we all talked and laughed around the dinner table. Josh’s little brother Jack really liked me, and he was one of the smartest two year old I have ever met. That little guy would not stop talking and he made me laugh all night.

After dinner Beth, Josh’s Grandmother, spoke to me a lot about what she used to do and how she recently retired. She worked in Real-Estate and retired the day before I got there. We spoke about school, and how different the school system is in Australia compared to the U.S. We had great conversation all night and at the end of the night I didn’t want to leave. They accepted me as part of the family by the end of the night and I loved every minute of it. The hospitality, care, and great food made it a wonderful experience and I hope to keep in touch with this family for the rest of my life.

Second Place is the First Loser- Adventures in Sydney

By on 10-17-2012 in Australia 2012

Second Place is the First Loser- Adventures in Sydney

Before I begin this blog, let me disclose how competitive I am.

I never thought of myself, personally, as a competitive person. I thought I was just supporting a competitive husband and daughter. However, now that I am no longer married and my daughter is grown and gone, I have come to realize that I don’t like to lose, and that I consider most circumstances to be competitions. I hope I have learned to lose gracefully, and take each loss in stride, but I still don’t like it.
While on the Brisbane layover leg of our Sydney excursion, I wandered down to the basement bar/restaurant in our hostel with the promise of a $10.00 two for one meal. I ordered a drink and walked over to order food, only to be told that the kitchen was overwhelmed and food would take an hour. I spotted a pool table in the corner and found a space on the neighboring bench to watch the players.

I was immediately impressed with the level of play and decided that watching would be better than making a fool of myself by challenging the table. However, a young man soon came over and asked if I wanted to join the competition. There was no entry fee to the tournament and the prize was $100.00, so I threw caution to the wind.

I guess I should interject at this point that I know a thing or two about playing pool. My ex-husband was a very good player, but didn’t have the temperament to be a serious competitor. We discovered that our daughter Juliette had an excellent competitive temperament when she picked up a pool stick at the age of nine. In her first tournament she placed fourth, then she won her second. She started shooting with juniors on the national level at age ten. By 14, she was a national champion. I spent at least four nights a week watching pool and coaching my daughter.

I lucked out my first round when my competition vanished. I got the privilege of watching all the other players and judging their skills. I played a very good player my first game, and acted like leaving him without a shot was just dumb luck. At that point, I started chatting with a guy named Justin, who became my cheerleader. I won the next several rounds the same way, by playing smart but acting dumb. Before I knew it, I was in the finals!

I was impressed by my German opponents’ skill, and knew he would probably win. The game came down to the final few balls. I was told earlier about the two shot rule; that fouls resulted in the opposing player getting two shots, even if they missed. They never said that sinking the other player’s ball, even if it was the result of a legal shot, was a foul. My opponent’s ball was sitting in the corner pocket, blocking the path of the eight ball, so I shot my ball into it and left it sitting in the pocket. This is a legal strategic play in America, but a foul in Australia.

He then went on to pocket the rest of the balls on the table, but left the eight ball sitting in the side pocket. I didn’t have a great shot on my only remaining ball, so I played a perfect defensive shot that left my ball between the eight ball and the cue ball. The German boy made a very good kick shot into the end rail and smoothly pocketed the eight.

I hope I left graciously. I gave him a good hand shake with a smile plastered on my face and quickly retreated to my room. I could have used that $100.00, but at least I can say I competed in Australia.

National Champion 2001

National Geographic “World” magazine

Juliette’s High School Senior Picture

 

Learning History from Down Under

By on 10-17-2012 in Australia 2012

Learning History from Down Under

              

 

“Their history isn’t our history but learning their history is important.” Ericka Joseph

Hello Readers!

 

My name is Ericka Joseph and I am one of the students that was selected to go to Australia this year. Traveling to Australia has given me the opportunity to learn the history of the Australian people. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting an Aboriginal during my excursion to Sydney.

 

Coming to Australia has really taught me the importance of learning not only my history but the history of others as well. Throughout these last six weeks I have learned a lot about Australian history and when I visited Hervey Bay Baptist Church, I learned about the Aboriginal spirituality. I have really enjoyed travelling to different places in Australia and learning new and exciting things about their culture. Australians truly appreciate their history and show their appreciation by sharing it with others.

 

The most fascinating thing that I have learned during my time is the history of the people who originated here, which were the Aboriginal people. I never knew about the Aboriginal people until I arrived in Australia. Learning about the history and culture of the Aboriginal people has been so exciting from their art to their spirituality. Aboriginals pass their heritage on through their dancing, singing and art work. The art work is demonstrated by people throughout this beautiful country. I was very fortunate to see an Aboriginal perform during my excursion to Sydney.

 

While walking around Sydney, I heard a strange sound and saw a crowd of people. So I walked towards them. Once I finally managed to push my way through the large crowd, I saw what the commotion was about. There was an Aboriginal man playing an instrument that I never saw before. I later found out the gadget that was used during the performance was called the didgeridoo. The didgeridoo is a long wooden tube, which is traditionally made from a hollow branch. The instrument is blown into and has such a unique sound. The didgeridoo has been used for centuries by Aboriginals and plays a huge part in their traditions.

Overall, the performance was incredible. I really enjoyed my time learning about the Aboriginal culture. I am very happy that I was selected to have this once in a life time experience and I will never trade this experience in for anything in the world.

What is the most unique instrument that you have ever played or heard?

 

Activities in Sydney

By on 10-17-2012 in Australia 2012

Activities in Sydney

G’ Day Mates!

I know that you are on the edge of your seats waiting to read about all of the happenings in Sydney.

As you may or may not know, we spent a total of six days amongst, as Marilee would say, the “beautiful people.” Though we arrived relatively early on our first day in the city, we decided not to tackle our educational objectives right away.  Trust me, it does not matter how much planning you do, when you are somewhere that beautiful, you just want to explore as much as you can before you have to work. So, Marilee, Megan, myself, Brittany and Cierra roamed the streets for a couple of hours. The best and worst thing about Sydney is that time really flies when you are there. Before we knew it, it was 3:00am and we were exhausted.

On our second day in the city, we decided to start tackling some educational objectives by following our itinerary.  Our first official educational adventure was to the Sydney Aquarium. I do not know what was best, riding the ferry and having the best view ever or taking happy snaps and notes at the aquarium. It was refreshing to see that we were not the only people excited to see the sea creatures in the aquarium, it was packed with people and of course, fun facts.  Did you know that crabs have teeth inside of their stomachs?

The third day of our trip was the day that we set aside to visit the Australian National Maritime Museum.  I love to go to different museums and was fortunate to have the opportunity to say “ I went to a museum in Sydney, Australia!” There are not many people who can say that.  The most interesting thing that I learned from the museum is: The gallery was the United States’ gift to Australia in 1988. It was nice to read something positive and interesting about America that I had never heard before.

What else did we do? I am glad you asked readers. The group and I also went to the opera house and the Sydney Tower Eye. We had so much fun and learned so many new things, that it is hard to say what I liked the most. However, if I had to choose, I would say that the opera house was the best experience because it was something that we all wanted to do collectively. If there is one thing that I have learned from my time here and planning excursions it is this: it is almost impossible for everyone to agree to do one activity at the same time.

What are some things that you have learned about travelling with groups and where were you travelling when you learned those lessons?

Overall, I enjoyed my time in Sydney and I hope you enjoy our photos.

Word of the Day: Swag, which is not a terminology for confidence. It is rolled up bedding, which is carried by a swagman. A swagman is a hobo. Look at that, two for the price of one! 

Only in Sydney

 

The one and only Sydney, Australia

By on 10-17-2012 in Australia 2012

The one and only Sydney, Australia

G’ Day Mates!

Did you miss me?

As you may or may not know, the gang and I took a trip to Sydney last week. I am happy to report that we all enjoyed our time there and it is apparent that we all took something positive from the excursion. Though every student stayed in hostels in Sydney for the duration of the excursion, we were advised by Poppa D (Professor Davison) to travel in smaller groups. So, we broke up into three different groups. Group A: Ericka, Joy, Kelsey and Caprice. Group B: myself, Brittany, Megan, Marilee and Cierra. Group C: Quinn, Brother, Barend and Carl.

I admit it; I am more of a couch potato than an active person. No worries, our adventures in Australia are changing that. The city was so beautiful and modern that even I wanted to see all of its attractions immediately. My group decided to go sightseeing once we were checked into our hostel. I strongly believe that there is something about that city that made all of us feel comfortable and energetic. Some might say that it is magical, I know I do.  There were so many people to meet and so many things to do that there was never a day that went by where we were stuck in our hostel.

If you have never been to Sydney, allow me to paint a picture for you. Imagine a better and cleaner version of New York City. Now, imagine friendlier and if you can, better dressed people. This is a city where transportation is always available and the nights are always gorgeous. Though we embraced Sydney and she embraced us with all of her beauty and openness, it was not all fun and games.

As I have stated before, it was an educational excursion. So, we stuck to our list of objectives and our personal itineraries we planned prior to our trip.  My group planned to see an opera, go on a tour of the Sydney Opera House, visit the Maritime Museum, visit the aquarium,  view the Sydney Tower Eye and climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Our goal was to collectively learn something new about those amazing places and hopefully gain a new perspective.  Stay tuned for in depth details about our Sydney excursion.

Did You Know- The Residents of Sydney hail from over 180 nations and speak 140 languages?

We passed this park on our way to catch the ferry daily.

 

Sydney Styles

By on 10-17-2012 in Australia 2012

Sydney Styles

Friday Happy Hour at the QuayBar on the Circular Quay

Regretfully, I’m just back from Sydney. If there was ever a place on Earth that suited all my needs it would be Sydney. If I had no strings, I would stay there forever. It has everything; cosmopolitan city-life, culture, and BEACHES! There are gorgeous beaches with  tropical turquoise water in Sydney. The minute I got off the ferry in Manly and walked down the Corso to the Pacific I felt at home.
I try not to dress like a grandma, whatever that means, and keep an eye on the fashion trends from magazines or what the younger people are wearing. While in downtown Sydney, I couldn’t help but admire the way the population dressed there. Sydney was described in the guidebooks as the Australian congregation of ‘beautiful people’. The residents here are known to be very fitness oriented, fashion conscious and regarded as snobby by the rest of Australia. Yes, I got that all from a guidebook. If you ask me, the rest of the country, as well as the rest of the world, could take some cues from them. By the way, the men are gorgeous here; it must be something in the water.

Here are a few fashion trends I noticed. Skinny jeans and ballet flats are almost like a uniform in Sydney for casual dress. And scarves. I’ve been reading about a trend toward sheer tops and color-blocking in the fashion magazines, and I found these trends evident in Sydney. Being a shoe fanatic, I loved the embellished sandals and over-the-top platforms, as well as the low boots.

The men there seem to have no problem dressing in the latest trends without feeling awkward. They also wear the skinny jeans, but with those leather shoes with the long square toes (I don’t know what they’re called), or with low sneakers. Most are seen with well fitted narrow jeans and tailored narrow dress shirts with the tails out. I also saw lots of men in Ralph Lauren Polo shirts with the big horse emblem on the front. Stylish leather man-purses were everywhere.
That being said, I felt frumpy my entire stay there. I wish I had known we were going to the opera, I could have shown the “beautiful people” a thing or two. I own way too many LBD’s (little black dresses). On the bright side, I was dressed comfortably for the miles and miles we walked over the course of our week there. I hope I didn’t stick out too much. I only saw a few of the ‘beautiful people’ pointing and laughing at me….
What is your favorite outfit that you feel the most comfortable in?

Where’s my LBD?