School’s Out for the Summer!

Hey All!

Today I had my only exam in the official exam period. I think it went well. It was more challenging than usual because it was a closed-booked exam. Since all of my Western exams are open book, I definitely had to study quite differently for this exam than I am used to.  At any rate, the good news is, I am done my semester!

All in all I would say I really liked the University of Queensland. It’s a beautiful campus, the students and profs were all very friendly and the classes were interesting.  I really couldn’t have asked for more out of my uni experience.

One of the best things that I would say that UQ had to offer, was the social life.  In particular, the wide array of student clubs. I would definitely recommend getting involved with at least one club while on exchange. It’s a great way to meet other exchange students as well as local Aussies.  It’s also a good way to find affordable entertainment. Australia, while amazing, isn’t the most cost-efficient place to travel, and getting involved with the uni clubs is a great way to cut those costs.

Mount Barney National Park

I did an overnight trip a little while ago with the UQ Mountain Climbing Club, to Mountain Barney National Park (1.5 hours south-west of Brisbane).  I would have never checked out this location, but for the fact that the local climbing club members recommended and set up this trip. It was also super-cheap since we all car-pooled there and camped with borrowed equipment.

Beginning our Bush Walk

The main plan for this adventure was to bush-walk through the forest and climb the mountains up to the top of the Mount Barney summit.  This was the most insane trek I have ever done. I’m used to hiking back home, but this Aussie-style bush walk was much, much more intense.

For starters, we weren’t really on any trail at all.  We made our own paths between the bushes, trees and random spiders.  I now completely understand why the Australian’s use the term “bush walk” rather than “hike”.  My legs are still covered in the scratches and cuts I received from the many prickly trees and bushes.

On top of the second peak we climbed, looking at the first peak we climbed.

When we weren’t bush walking, we were scrambling up the various mountains in the Mount Blarney National Park. The climbs got pretty challenging, and more frightening the higher we climbed.  The views, however, were amazing! We happened upon a rare Rock Wallabie, who just stood by a rock posing for us as we snapped it’s picture.

The Rock Wallabie

The wildlife on this adventure were my favourite. We drove past a half-dozen kangaroos and wallabies on our way to and from Mount Barney.  And, also came across an extremely poisonous Brown snake. I quickly ran in the opposite direction of the snake! It was a really, authentic Australian experience. I’m glad I joined the UQ Mountain Climbing Club and had the opportunity to experience the craziness at Mount Barney.

A creek near the end of the hike.

After the Climbing trip, I was more than ready for a little beach vacation. So, two days after the trip, I headed two hours south of Brisbane to Byron Bay. It’s a quiet, little hippie town with beautiful beaches and plenty of pretty hikes, which were nothing like the Mount Barney bush walk!

Byron Bay Lighthouse

I also had the opportunity to take an actual surf lesson. It was so much nicer having something telling me what to do, rather than guessing how to manage this sport on my own.  Bryon Bay is also great place to learn to surf. This beach trip was so appreciated after the exhausting mountain climb!

After Hanging Ten in the Bryon Surf

All in all, it’s been a great week. I can’t believe my semester at UQ is already over, but I’m looking forward to a few final weeks of travel in Oz.

Cheers!

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