After two months of living and studying at Jay Gatsby’s Home, Manly and the International College of Management started feeling like home. At that point all the things, which were so exciting and awesome at the beginning, became to be our daily routine: waking up with shafts of sunlight in our faces, studying in English-classes with people from all over the world and thereby wearing business clothes, sharing rooms with persons who maybe had been foreigners two months ago, lying on the Manly-beach in our less free time or using the ship as the main public transport.
The studies turned to be much more ambitious than they had been at the beginning of our semester abroad. Basically, the study-system in Australia is a bit different to the system in Germany that we are used to. Here, at ICMS, we do not have to write just a final exam at the end of the term, we rather have to write essays or create presentations for nearly every single week in different subjects. By combining all these single certificates of performance plus the final exam at the end, it can be calculated the final grade. As a result, we had lots of things to do during the week.
In spite of everything, we tried to use our long weekends (which lasted at least from Friday to Sunday) as eventful as possible. Separated in different smaller groups, we explored the east coast of Australia.
Because of the less time we had during the weekend, lots of groups decided to focus on Sydney and its environment. Obviously, there are many things to see: Hunter Valley, Blue Mountains, Taronga Zoo or Sea Life Manly – for naming just four attractions. Others wanted to have more action whereas they did Bridge Climbing on Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sky Diving, Cage Diving or Whale Watching with a speedboat.
But besides the attractions that Manly and Sydney had to offer, there were many other cities to see.
Melbourne was just one and a half hours by plane away from Sydney and allured with its beautiful parks and (of course) sights like the Great Ocean Road or the Formula One route Albert Circuit Park.
Also the trips to famous surf-spots like Spot X or Bryon Bay were completely booked up. Primarily, Byron Bay is really recommendable. The small village near Brisbane is the most alternative part of the east coast. People there are living like they did 200 years ago in original Australia without any western influences: wearing colourful clothes with crazy samples, having flowers in their hair and dancing on the streets to self-made reggae-music. There is not a single in Byron Bay, because it is most visited by backpackers and surfers from all around the world, who are used to sleep in hostels.
Gradually, the summer arrived in Sydney and it became warmer and warmer. Although the temperature outside turned to over thirty-two degrees, the first advent calendars were located in the supermarkets. The imagination that some of us would celebrate Christmas sitting under the sun instead of sitting under a Christmas tree was a really strange feeling. Because of all the (Christmas-) shopping, the first of us get in trouble with their luggage and had to send packages back home to Germany.
Because of all the single activities, time was running so fast. The final presentations and exams were already within eyeshot and we besides planning our next trips to Cairns, the Golden Coast, Brisbane, New Zealand or any places, we had to focus more on studying for university.
Just three more days and we will be off – visiting the east coast and living the Australian lifestyle!