¡Hola! My name is Abby Bryant, and as of this past Saturday I am an official alumna of Saint Vincent College. The question of what to do after graduation had been weighing pretty heavily on my mind throughout my last few semesters at Saint Vincent, and after a lot of thought, consideration, and paperwork, I accepted an invitation to join the Peace Corps as an Agri-business Volunteer to Panama!
Next month I will be moving to Central America to begin a rigorous training program, after which I will be sworn in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer and will receive an assignment to a rural Panamanian village. Though much of my work will depend on what my specific village needs, I will be focusing on teaching better business practices to local farmers and plantation owners. Since I studied Marketing, International Business, and Spanish at Saint Vincent, this seems to be a perfect fit for me!
A frequent saying about the Peace Corps is that it is "The hardest job you'll ever love." I'm ready for the challenge and am looking forward to sharing my experiences with all of you! If you ever have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them in future blogs. ¡Hasta la próxima! Until next time!
It has now been about two months that I have been living amongst the kangaroos and koalas in the land down under, and it has been the most exciting two months of my life! This past month has been filled with learning how to surf, traveling to the Gold Coast and to Melbourne, and a lot of learning at my Australian internship.
At the end of March, myself as well as a group of 75 other study-abroad students got on a bus and traveled to Crescent Head, New South Wales, where we took part in a weekend filled with surfing! We spent all day Friday through Sunday learning how to surf in the beautiful Australian ocean. I was able to stand up on my very first try! We lived like true surfers for the weekend. We camped in teepees that were only a couple feet off the beach, and woke up at the crack of dawn in order to catch the best waves.
The next week was our Easter Break, also known as their Fall Break. We had an entire week off school so my roomate, another Saint Vincent Student (Sam Richardson) and I decided to travel the coast of Australia! Our first stop was Melbourne, which is in the southern state of Victoria. We stayed in a hostel for four days. This city was amazing but much colder than we were expecting; we even ate a place called Latrobe Cafe! Melbourne is known as the fashion capital of Australia and is famous for its architecture as well as its very intricate tram system.
While in Melbourne, we explored the famous Great Ocean Road. We took a twelve hour tour hat showed us some of the most beautiful beaches in the world along the 150 mile road. Along this road is one of the seven wonders of Australia, The Twelve Apostles. They were once twelve rocks (there are only eight now due to some being washed away), which were carved out by thousands of years of battering by the Great Southern Ocean. Along the Great Ocean Road, you are also able to see the real London Bridge from the song!
The next stop on our Easter Break adventure was the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. The Gold Coast is a surfer town known for its beaches and amusement parks. We spent our days in the Gold Coast lounging by the beach and exploring the markets of this beach town. The Gold Coast hosts some of the biggest surf competitions in Australia, everywhere you looked you could see someone holding a surf board!
Once we returned home from our week-long adventures exploring both and North and South Australia, it was time for me to return back to my internship. The web team and I have been working frantically because by the end of April, the first phase of the new University website will be going live. One job I had was to look through hundreds of images in a database called iStock to pick out five photos for the home page of the school's website that would appropriately represent each of the departments of the school. I have also had jobs such as going through the entire website and making sure that all the links work correctly and are tagged to open up to the right page. Working with a web team has allowed me to work closer with the CMS and other Adobe software programs such as Fireworks and Photoshop. My future jobs will include editing images and other design editing throughout the entire website.
I have learned so much in these past two months of my Australian internship, and I can't wait to see what else comes my way!
It has been a little over a month since I left America and settled into my new home. Every day of Australian Living here, I am learning something new about the culture of the people who live here and about my surrounding environment. My school is called The University of Newcastle, which is in New South Wales, or about two hours north of Sydney. Newcastle is known for its beaches. It is primarily a surf town and hosts the surfing competition 'Surfest' which is a part of the world surfing tour. This is a picture of me at Newcastle Beach, which is about a ten minute train ride from my campus.
These past few weeks have been a mixture of work and play. I started classes two weeks ago, and other than the fact that the teaching style is a little different than what I am used to at Saint Vincent, I really do enjoy what I have been learning. In my creative writing class we are constantly writing, and reading our work out loud to criticize each other in order to improve. However, my children's literature class we look at books such as Where the Wild Things Are and see how the underlying messages have affected children as they grow up reading books like this that may be portrayed as scary or frightening.
Beginning My Internship in Australia
This past Thursday was my first day at my internship in Australia. The University is currently reconstructing their entire website. For my internship, I will be working with the staff to create an entirely new website. The current site has around 40,000 pages and the new site will have about 20,000 pages. It is my job as an intern to help with editing images, rewriting content, and making sure all the information on the new site is up to date and accurate. This past week I have been checking and comparing the research profiles of professors on the current and new site to make sure each professor's research is correct.
Although I have spent many hours either in class or at my internship, I have also had some time for fun and exploring Australia. I was able to go to my first Rugby game, or as the Australians like to call it "footy." Our local team is called the Newcastle Knights. Even though I did not understand much of what was going on during the game, it was still a lot of fun. I had some help figuring out the rules by some of the other Australian students that live in my dorm, pictured below.
I also took a weekend trip to Sydney. It was about a two hour train ride from my campus. We spent the day seeing the Opera House, going to the Botanic Gardens, and exploring the shopping in downtown Sydney. The Opera House was beautiful, I never knew it was multiple buildings, I have always thought that it was one large Opera House. There is also not just one large theater. It is really a complex of theaters and halls all linked together under the famous shell of its architecture.
I hope you've enjoyed my first look at my Internship in Australia - I'll keep you updated over the next months!
After a very long twenty-three hour flight, I have arrived in Australia! I have been here for about two weeks already and have done things most people are never able to do in their entire lives.
We spent the first week in Carins where everyday was packed with activities, meeting new people and learning about the Australian culture. Me, along with about 70 other students from all over the country, stayed in a youth hostel for the week. We spent our mornings in sessions where we learned the history and customs of Australia. Did you know that Australia currently has their first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard? Or did you know that there is absolutely no tipping in Australia? Not even in restaurants!
While in Cairns, I was able to pet and feed a kangaroo! They are so friendly and are willing to come right up to you. I also held a snake around my neck, which was terrifying but exciting all at the same time, and finally I was also able to hold a koala bear. I did all this just on the first day after arriving.
And the next few days were just as exciting! I went scuba diving as well as snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. I saw a reef shark, a stingray, and lots of beautiful fishes! My last day in Carins was spent horseback riding in the rainforest, where we rode our horses into the river. Once this week was over, it was time to fly to my school in Newcastle, which is just above Sydney.
Once I arrived in Newcastle, I got settled into my dorm room and started making friends right away because everyone is so friendly here. This past week is called "O-Week" and that stands for orientation week. There are no classes this week and my internship in Australia hasn't started yet, you just spend all day long meeting new people in your dorm and exploring the college.
I registered for two writing classes as well as a theology class and my internship. Classes start Monday and I just can't wait to start learning and exploring more, keeping you updated along the way!
In just about two weeks I will be flying out of Dulles Airport and will be landing in Sydney Australia! These next two weeks will be filled with last minute chores like buying a cell phone and changing my banking. However, in two weeks I will begin the journey that will change my life forever.
Once we arrive in Sydney we will fly again to Cairns, better known as the home of the Great Barrier Reef, where we will have a week long orientation filled with activities. We will be scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef and exploring this new area. We have the option to go skydiving, horseback riding in the rainforest, white water rafting, bungee jumping and much more. The hardest part will just be deciding what to do.
The Great Barrier Reef
Recently, I found out what my Internship will be while abroad. I will be assisting the University of Newcastle in redesigning their website, including the replacement of its Web Content Management System (WCMS). In order to do this I will be working with a Web Project Team within Marketing and PR.
I look forward to all that is coming up for me. Although, I am nervous for the unexpected. I hope that I am able to crush this fear and take on whatever is headed my way!
Hi everyone! My name is Katie Kohler and I am a sophomore communication major with a marketing minor at Saint Vincent College. This spring I will study abroad in Australia, at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales. While abroad, I will be taking four classes as well as participating in a communication internship that will be assigned to me once I arrive.
As of right now, I am both nervous and excited for my trip. But I am mostly looking forward to satisfying my curiosity about what exactly I will be doing. I am excited to meet new people and experience a completely new culture, especially because I have never been outside of the United States before.
I have only heard the most wonderful things about studying abroad, in Australia particularly. I am so thankful that Saint Vincent has allowed me to have the opportunity to experience this once-in-a-lifetime journey through their study abroad program, and I look forward to sharing my experiences every step of the way, so that everyone can feel like they are right by my side down under!