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Student Blog Update: First Days Down Under

UW student Lunden Harris is currently in Brisbane, Australia with the OMA&D-affiliated exploration seminar studying the design of engineering materials and structures at the Queensland University of Technology. During the group’s time “down under,” Lunden will be sharing regular blog updates along with classmate Cara Mischinski. Here is her second entry.

By Lunden Harris

G’day mates! I’m here to update you on our trip. When we first arrived to Australia we stayed in a youth hostel in Sydney, New South Wales. The hostel had a restaurant attached, a kitchen to cook food and rooms for our group to share. The first day we had to wait a couple hours before we could get a room so we hurried to drop of our luggage and go off to explore the city. After the 14-hour flight we were all starving so our first mission was to get food.

We went to a street over from the hostel where there was an area dedicated to food and shopping. We split up into three groups depending on what we wanted to eat. After our bellies were full we went back to the hostel to move into our rooms. By this time the long flight and food had caught up to us and made us very tired so most people took showers and a nice long nap! It was honestly the best sleep of our lives. We woke up around 5:00 p.m. Australian time and had a nice group dinner with just the students. We all talked and bonded since the flight was pretty grueling. We decided to go to the indoor pool on the top floor of the hostel. We hung out for as long as we could before we all fell back asleep again.

Lunden's group dinner
First group dinner and first night in Austalia! Photo credit: Timnit

Due to the flight and time change most people woke up around 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. We had breakfast with the whole group that our program coordinator, Cathryne Jordan, put together for us before we went to University of New South Wales for a talk. At breakfast, we met our professor “JK” Yang and assistant Rajesh for the first time in Australia. Professor Yang was doing the talk at UNSW. After a member of our group told us about a tour bus that went around the city of Sydney, including the iconic white-sanded Bondi Beach, called The Big Bus. Everyone bought a bus tour ticket and split into different groups again.

Bondi Beach
The locals say you must get a picture here or you haven’t been to Bondi

My group left around 9:30 am and went on a tour to Bondi Beach first. When we arrived to the bus stop a huge, red double-stacked bus showed up. We got on and collected our headphones so we could hear about important sites. It took about 30 to 40 minutes to get to the beach but it was so worth it. The view was incredible! The beach is in a round cove surrounded by high rocks and clear blue skies. We walked around the whole beach and had the classic beach photoshoot. We didn’t get in the water because Australia is still in winter (just finishing), and entering spring, so it was too cold. However, there were people in the water but they were surfers practicing on the harsh waves formed by the strong winds.

Cara and Lunder on Bondi Beach
The two bloggers at Bondi Beach on a very windy day

After we left the beach we took a small hour break before we went on the city tour. This tour would take us to the famous Sydney Opera House, but due to being in the Southern Hemisphere the sun sets around 5:00 p.m. By the time we got to the Opera House it was already 6:00 p.m. but it was still magnificent, all lit up. Ms. Cat told us earlier that day that we all needed to get a mandatory picture in front of the Opera House. At the end of the day everyone had gotten their picture and came back smiling! It was marked as a successful, fun, and gorgeous day for everyone.


This was taken by Luke who dabbles in photography
This was taken by Luke who dabbles in photography
Other wonderful picture taken by Timnit showing the beautiful Sydney Harbor!

The next day we had to move out of the hostel by 10:00 p.m. and leave for the airport around 12:30 p.m. When breakfast ended we all stored our luggage and did our own things. A group of us went to a park near by with a reflection pool. The main reason for going was so Luke could get some awesome HD photos and Benny could fly his drone above the park! The drone went up and all the birds squawked and flew around it but don’t worry they didn’t interfere and he still got a great video. We hurried back to the hostel for our plane ride to our main destination: Brisbane, Queensland. That is where we have our class and will be staying for the next three and a half weeks! Thanks for reading! Next I’ll be updating you on our free weekend and second week of class. Hope you enjoyed and see you soon 🙂

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