New Zealand Trip: Franz Josef, Milford Sound & Queenstown.
By Julia Amodeo, Undergraduate student in the Creative Industries Program, Faculty of Communication and Design
3 months ago I left Canada for my semester abroad in Brisbane: the largest city on Australia’s east coast! It was my first time travelling alone and I was excited and terrified. Once I landed, met my roommates and learned more about Brisbane, I was thrilled to spend the semester here. So far my journey in Australia has been the most amazing experience of my life and I am only half way through! I have learned so much about myself and met so many amazing people from all over the world!
When I first arrived, I flew to New Zealand to travel the South Island before I started classes. I backpacked along the coast for 17 days. We went on hikes, discovered incredible lookouts, and learned about the culture. It was a beautiful country.
One of the most unforgettable experiences in New Zealand was the Heli-Hike I did to the Franz Josef Glacier. We took a helicopter ride up to the glacier and went on a 3-hour hike. We climbed through the glaciers, ice caves, and tunnels. The view was stunning. It was definitely one of the most surreal experiences I have ever had!
I arrived back in Brisbane happy to be in warm weather again. I was surprised with how quickly I fell in love with the city. After walking along the river and discovering all parts of the city, I was so excited that this was the place I would call home for the next 6 months. Right away I noticed that the people were very friendly and welcoming. I also noticed how clean, modern and unique the city was from what I’ve experienced. The weather is constantly sunny and the lifestyle is a lot more laid back than what I was used to in Toronto.
I have been studying Creative Industries at the Queensland University of Technology. The campus is really beautiful and I love my classes so far. They have given me a lot of opportunities to get directly involved in Brisbane’s music and entertainment scene.
Brisbane: Koala Pine Sanctuary, South Bank & Gold Coast.
South bank is one of my favourite parts of Brisbane. It is across the river from the downtown core. It has great restaurants, markets, shops, museums, and stunning walkways along the river. The Streets Beach is one of the main areas we spend our time. It is a man-made beach lagoon overlooking the city and is only a short walk from campus! Another highlight of my time in Brisbane has been the Koala Pine Sanctuary, where I got the chance to hold a koala and feed kangaroos!
About an hour away from Brisbane is the coast! We visit the gold coast often on the weekends to enjoy the restaurants, bars, shopping and beautiful beaches.
A few weeks ago I spent the weekend surfing as a member of the QUT Surf Club in Byron Bay (2 hours from Brisbane).
We had surfing lessons for 2 days, explored the town, kayaked with dolphins, and went on a hike to Byron light house. Surfing was an incredible experience. Everybody in my group picked it up by the second day, learning to stand up and ride the waves!
I can’t wait to explore more of Australia in the next few months. My exchange experience has exposed me to so much and I could not be happier living and studying here. It has been important for me to make the most of my exchange by trying and experiencing new things. I can’t wait to bring what I have learned back to Ryerson for my final year before graduation. For anybody considering exchange, I highly recommend it. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself!
And if you ever travel to Australia – get ready for slang you’ve never heard & don’t get too scared by the snakes and spiders!