Over a week after landing in Gold Coast, Australia, I finally am having the opportunity to sit down and write a little about what adventures I’ve had over the past week! Between all the things we’ve done and the technological difficulties, it took a little while to get the first post up! I’ve decided to post at least once a week, with extra posts for additional adventures. Here’s a day by day breakdown of the events and experiences I’ve had during orientation, or O-week:
After a 15 hour flight to Hong Kong, 6 hour layover, 9 hour flight to Brisbane, hotel stay, and hour shuttle ride to Gold Coast, I arrived at my apartment complex! Since it’s right across Lake Orr from the school, we could see campus upon arrival. Looking at the Bond University sign mounted on a building was very surreal!
I checked into Varsity Towers, dropped my stuff off in my new studio apartment, and headed with a friend to check her into the dorms. We walked around campus, and got all the logistics done like getting our ID cards and checking classes. We attended our first Australian Barbecue ever! I later went back to my apartment to unpack some essentials, attend a building orientation, and change to go experience our first night about town. We met a few Australians on campus who gave us some advice and information about the area, and soon we all headed to Surfer’s Paradise. We met a few interesting people traveling over Holiday, and by the next morning could not BELIEVE we had only been in Gold Coast for less than 24 hours. It seemed like a fantastic eternity since we had done so many new and exciting things!
Lake view off Varsity Tower apartments
I attended a Writing Workshop to see what expectations there would be for classes here at Bond. It was a good session to get a taste of the work ethic here. A few of us then went to “Sandstone to Sunset,” a formal reception welcoming new students to campus. There were several speakers, as well as a traditional indigenous performance and blessing. We also got alumni class pins. After unpacking a little more (it took basically all week), we got ready for the ABC (anything but clothes) party. Since the legal age is 18 in Australia, there is a fully licensed on-campus bar called Don’s that hosts theme parties every Thursday night, and afterward provides buses to and from downtown Surfer’s Paradise. People get really into theme parties here!
On the way home that evening walking on the lake boardwalk back to my apartment, I had a moment thinking how lucky I am to be in this beautiful place. It was peaceful and calming and I cannot WAIT to experience living here.
Nightlife in Surfer’s Paradise
The only part of jetlag that has been hitting me is that I keep waking up, wide awake, at 6:30am. This isn’t terrible, but I’m sure I’ll get adjusted soon! Today, I attended “Wednesday by the Water” BBQ, checked out the campus gym and pool area, and went with a group of friends on a campus tour. The things that strike me the most about campus here is that it is absolutely breathtaking, and SO much smaller than Penn State’s campus. The bookstore is inside the library, and the gift shop at home is about six times larger than the actual textbook store is at Bond. There’s also only one dining hall and a “large” class has max 40 people in it. Campus life is a little different here, but I think it will be exciting!
I woke up early and ventured out to Pacific Fair Mall, where I took care of my phone plan and got a few groceries. I made it back just in time for the student abroad welcome BBQ, then a bunch of my friends and I checked out some of the surrounding area. We went to the pool at one of their apartments, the Cape, which is a large gated villa complex with real sand at the pool. We spent some time in the sun then checked out Market Square nearby, a small downtown area where we got sushi. A few of us also stopped for coffee on the way out, which was delicious. Fun fact, they typically serve ice cream in iced coffee here! For the first Thursday of the January semester, Don’s hosted the Tight & Bright party later that evening.
A balcony picture at the Cape prior to Tight & Bright
I got up early and went for a run around Lake Orr, which is located literally right next to campus. I ran down through Market Square, and along the boardwalk to a beautiful view of the lake. A few of us later headed to IT to take care of some school logistics, then attended the “Recovery BBQ” and “G’Day Bond,” a general information session for new students. I went to the Robina Town Centre mall with a few friends to pick up a few more groceries and check out the area, and Friday ended up being the calmest day of all week!
A view of Lake Orr
Today was a catch up day for most of us, I took some time to organize my apartment and catch up on small details that had been pushed aside during our first week [of vacation] here. Then, a large group of us headed off downtown for our first ever bar tour. We got to know a few locals and got a few tips on the nearby area. It was also a great way to get to know a few more friends around campus!
Nightlife in Surfer’s Paradise
A friend and I went back to Robina mall to shop a little, since despite the fat that I put so much energy into packing, I definitely did not pack well enough for my time here. It’s hard to pack for beautiful sunny weather when you’re heading into the cold Winter atmosphere at home! Going off of this, there are definitely a lot of small details we needed to figure out over the first week here. Most of them are settled out, and hopefully the rest will fall into place.
Overall, I am absolutely in LOVE with Gold Coast!