I am currently on exchange at Scotch Oakburn College in Launceston, Tasmania. I am staying with my exchange Josie and her family about half an hour outside the city. Over my first two weeks, I have already done and seen so much. Launceston is very different than the Bay Area, but I am learning to love the differences and embrace them.
The first big difference I noticed was the lack of people. To give you some perspective, the population of Tasmania is about 515,000 people. The population of San Francisco is about 837,000 people. When I first touched down in the Launceston airport, I was mildly surprised to see rolling farm lands and not a city scape. The next thing I noticed was the weather. It is Australia’s winter now, and coming from the Sunny State, the 30-40 degree weather was a pretty big change. Standing by the heaters and wearing big puffy jackets has certainly helped!
Josie and her family welcomed me into their home. They have been so helpful and amazing, making sure I feel at home in this new place. I arrived to Tasmania during the last weekend of the two-week break between school terms. Before school started, Josie and her family took me down to Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. While driving there, we passed farm after farm, seeing more sheep and cows than people. When we finally arrived in Hobart, I was happy to finally be in a city. We explored the wharf, the shopping market that covered two street blocks, and Mount Wellington. From the top of Mount Wellington, I could see all of Hobart and the rolling hills of Tasmania. I couldn’t help but admire the beauty of this place. On the drive back from Hobart, we went to Port Arthur and saw the coast including gorgeous natural arches and caves. Finally, after a very fun weekend it was time to go to school.
My school, Scotch Oakburn is pretty different from Athenian. The biggest change is the uniform. I’ve never had to wear a uniform for school, so it is certainly an experience wearing a rented skirt that doesn’t quite fit right and rented button-down shirts with mysterious stains on them. Especially in rain and wind, the uniform is the last thing I want to be wearing.
On the first day of school, it was all a bit overwhelming. Meeting all these new people, trying to remember their names, and finding my way to my classes seemed like daunting tasks. But by the end of the first week, I had already made many new friends and could easily find my own way to my classes like I had been at Scotch for the whole year.
Even though I have only been here for two weeks, I have already done so much and meet so many great people. I am so excited to see what the next four weeks have in store for me.