As I arrived in Australia, I was running on 8 hours of mediocre airplane sleep and could not have ever imagined how long the day ahead would be. The “shuttle driver,” a girl resembling Miranda Kerr the Aussie supermodel more than any chauffer I had ever seen managed her way to my apartment. One hundred and nine pounds of luggage was painfully brought upstairs and I was left on my own.
I quietly knocked at the second bedroom door and was happily surprised to meet Layne, who is theoretically my “sister” as we are both affiliated with Alpha Delta Pi, though at different universities. I was not so happy to find out that while our apartment boasted a television it did not offer internet access (I guess only the US is wifi obsessed). Layne was on her way to meet friends at the beach so I used the opportunity to really settle in. With all of my things unpacked I embarked on my trudge up Coogee Bay Road to the University of New South Whales.
Although roundabouts are not uncommon in the US, here down under pedestrians are not always given the right of way; so I quite treacherously dodged across countless streets. As I made my way through the unfamiliar streets I stopped often for directions. After receiving inaccurate advice from one “helpful” passerby I was surprised to see the man running me down with his iphone in hand, “I’m sorry I was mistaken, my map shows me High Street is the other way.” Thanks to the kindness of this man and countless others I found my way to the study abroad office on the 16th floor of the Mathews Building.
My technology follies only became worse after entering the study abroad office but it was all in good humor. While about a dozen other study abroad students successfully activated their new cell phones through Global Gossip mine remained useless. After waiting an hour or so hoping that a signal would appear I was instructed to call back later if the problem persisted… Don’t you just love having no means of contact while in a brand new city? I do! To top off the afternoon, my new friend Seth, a student from Syracuse University, and I went to lineup our university internet access. As you can guess Seth was able to connect instantaneously. To my chagrin the “uniwide” access was unwilling to connect with my identical Macbook Pro. However after the supervisor did some jiggling (as that is how you solve all technology problems) I was off and running. I enjoyed a quick Facetime chat with my parents while on campus and then headed back to my apartment in Coogee Beach.
This first day in Australia tried my patience but also made me realize that things here are quite different even if everyone is speaking English. However with an open mind and a little extra time I was able to solve most of the technology problems that arose and even got to talk with the young mobile phone reps about life in Sydney. Try to plan ahead but also be aware that things may not go accordingly.
Submitted by Mia, Abroad101 Global Ambassador in Sydney, Australia