Update from my second semester in Perth

By Megan Hitchcock (University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia).

Well if I thought this semester was going to be any less crazy or busy than the last, then I was completely wrong! The semester started with pool parties, inter-college sporting events, and of course the essential beginning of the new semester’s college formal, and has just kept getting better! College-wise I feel so much more settled this semester, although a lot of my friends have left, for those of us that have stayed it really feels like home. I really feel part of a community and cannot even begin to explain how thankful I am that I was able to be part of Trinity – inter-college events definitely bring this pride out!

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Other than everything going on in Perth, I’ve also done some incredible trips this semester too. My first one was back to Sydney to see a famous art exhibition ‘The Biennale’, an exhibition across all of Sydney in many different locations including the famous Cockatoo Island. It was here actually that I got inspiration for one of my assignments this semester, looking into gendered space and how it is used – the notorious toilets on the island covered in racist graffiti provided me with a unique interpretation of our topic. That weekend I was also privileged enough to get to see a Sydney Dance performance, which I absolutely loved. Another period spent in Sydney really did show me just how much I love that city.

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Back in Perth and if I thought I’d be chilling around college for any long period of time I was most definitely wrong! A couple of friends and I decided to make the 8 hour drive down to Esperance for the weekend (south WA) to stay with one of our friends from college. WOW – what a weekend. We climbed Frenchman’s Peak and saw the incredible views, we drove a 4×4 down an incredible isolated beach, saw wild horses, saw some of the most incredible beaches I have ever seen in my life, and wait for it… FED KANGAROOS ON THE BEACH! Now that is a true Australian experience if ever I’ve heard one. Honestly words cannot even describe how surreal the weekend was. For me this just summed up what everyone is missing when they say they have ‘seen’ Australia when they just visit the east coast!

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Post Esperance I was able to put really my Global Ambassador hat on and represent Manchester at the Study Abroad Fair at UWA. I did my best to really sell Manchester to everyone, however was unable to do any kind of talk as the communication surrounding the fair hadn’t been especially clear, so no one turned up to any of the talks that were on!

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The Easter break for me meant yet another very rural Australia experience, packing up three cars with 14 people’s worth of stuff and a few tents and heading north from Perth for our next road trip. This consisted of swimming in gorges and hiking in Karajini National Park, snorkelling with turtles and beautiful beaches in Exmouth and watching dolphins being fed in Monkey Mia to name just a few things. Hours (and I mean HOURS) of driving became the norm, a standard driving day would be 6-10 hours in the car, along with having a spare petrol can in the back of the car and going for days with absolutely zero phone signal. This trip really did feel like outback Australia at it’s truest. A massive learning curve for all of us was working out that we had to fuel up at absolutely every petrol station we passed, even if we had half a tank left, as often petrol stations would be so few and far between that a full tank would only just get you to the next petrol station! Another lesson was learning how to dodge kangaroos, cows, emus and even dingoes on the roads – the most important thing we were told in terms of safety on the road was that you shouldn’t swerve around the kangaroo you should just attempt to slow down/stop – even if this means hitting the kangaroo! Our last lesson was never get too complacent with putting up tents! Having slept in a tent every night in the heat, we had got lazy putting up the outer tent, only to wake up at 4am on our last night soaking wet with the weather having taken a turn for the worse overnight! – Not ideal when we had a ten hour drive back to Perth that day! The sight of clean clothes not covered in red dirt and a decent shower was warmly welcomed when we got back to Perth, but truly the experience of seeing so much of the north of the west coast really was incredible. The fact that I can casually say I saw a dingo on the side of the road is crazy!

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Back in Perth meant the arrival of Anna (a fellow Manchester exchanger on exchange in Melbourne) and the chance to show her around Perth. We had a great time being reunited after ten months apart and got ourselves excited about being back in Manchester in September!

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Since then it’s been a break from all the fun and putting my head down to work on the various assignments I have due in the next few weeks and revising for my end of semester exams that aren’t too far away! So for the next bit I am off to Melbourne to do a return visit to see Anna and then exams so my next blog probably won’t be until after that, but will try and write again soon so the next one isn’t so long!

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