Scenes from the Skeens

Uni (or as us Canadians call it, university)

February 24, 2007 2:57 am by Melissa

I thought the first week in to classes was a good time to write something inspirational rather than three months from now when I am in the thick of assignments and bored with the lectures.

For those of you who do not know, I am attending The University of the Sunshine Coast in Sippy Downs, Queensland completing my Graduate Diploma in Education. I spent last week attending Orientation week (for those Canadians reading, otherwise known as ‘frosh week’). I can see why they have toned it down to ‘orientation week’ here rather than ‘frosh week’ as things are a lot more tame and academic oriented. I can’t say I was too disappointed with that as I think I would have been pretty perturbed if I was attacked with shaving cream or had beer poured all over me on my first day on campus.

uni Sippy Downs is in a new area of the Sunshine Coast, around a twenty minute drive from the coast of Mooloolaba or Maroochydore. I have heard from students that are living on campus that they are a little disappointed by the school’s distance from any bars or drinking establishments. The closest and only tavern is a twenty minute walk away. And there are no bars on campus. I have decided this is the perfect setting for a post grad, who has been out of university for several years now and beyond the drinking years. OK , maybe not past the drinking years, but definitely past Monday night binge drinking.

We had heard from several people that the university was a wildlife reserve and that kangaroos were in abundance around campus. After three days of visiting, including one day with Maddy, with no roo sightings, I began to think I had to search some unknown area of the campus in order to see them. Then the day came, I was walking across campus along a paved path that is surrounded by grass and open fields. I could see a group of kangaroos ahead within a metre or two of the path I was walking on. I considered myself lucky to see them from a distance and continued walking slowly, hoping not to scare them off. I continued to do this until reaching within an arm’s reach. The most amazing thing was that they could care less that I was walking past them. One just politely hopped away from the path, almost to give me more room to get by.

I now see the kangaroos almost daily and although I never tire of watching them while eating my lunch, they have become another reality of life for me in Australia. This very long vacation is the start of an amazing year for all of us for different reasons.

My first impression of the classes at the university, like my impression of so many things here in Australia is a satisfying one. That is almost putting it too mildly but like I said it is only my first week in. I have to write all of my success stories early.

The University of the Sunshine Coast is small in comparison to most Canadian universities. This may explain the more interactive lectures and tutorials. My ‘Primary Curriculum’ class consists of 30 Canadians and one Aussie. Most profs would continue teaching the class as planned, with the Australian content, but this particular lecturer truly wants to see us succeed and is changing the content to match the Ontario guidelines.

My other lecturer for ‘Becoming a Teacher’ is a Canadian. He is the only prof who doesn’t post his lecture notes online prior to the class as he hopes to have all his 250 students show up. That and he doesn’t like to give away his Canadian jokes ahead of time. My brothers would be happy to know he is a Montreal Canadians fan and he has a collection of NHL Power Point presentations of the Canadians in brawl with the Leafs. His lectures are full of comic relief as well as verification from the students that every one is still awake during his lectures.

So, maybe it is the Aussie way of life that has us feeling so welcomed and satisfied or maybe it is the way that Canada has mingled in so well with our daily lives here, always reminding us where our true home is.

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