- Nick Ramsey is an Ohio University Lancaster Middle Childhood Education major who is studying abroad this fall by student teaching in Perth, Australia. He is writing a bi-weekly blog for the OUL website. He is the first Ohio University regional campus student to be selected for the Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching or COST. Click here to read more on Nick's story.
Well Hello there! I have finally gotten settled after arriving in Perth last Saturday evening. I must say that plane ride was one for the ages, but it wasn't completely unbearable. Walking off of the plane into the Sydney International airport was quite a feeling. It is one I will never forget. The best way to describe it was a breath of fresh air! It was great to finally be walking through the airport after the long build up and preparation over the past year. The very first thing I noticed were the high prices! I guess you could say I had a little bit of a layover (10 hours!), so I decided to grab a bite to eat. A small turkey sandwich and a bottled water ran me $13.00! Now I know airports tend to charge more compared to other places, but the sandwich didn't even come with tomato!
I arrived in Perth later that night and was greeted at the airport by my coordinator, his wife, and one of my new roommates. In Australia, they drive on the opposite side of the road, which did not seem too different at first, but I caught, and luckily stopped, myself from screaming at the driver, "No! You're turning into traffic!" Thank goodness I refrained.
My host parents were very wonderful in making me feel at home the first night. We just sat around and chatted for a little while. Of course I did not understand a thing they said on the first night, I just kept nodding my head and laughing when I thought a joke was made. The accent is as strong as you can possibly imagine, but it sounds so good when you start to understand it!
The very next morning, I accompanied my host mom and her friend while they took their dogs to the nearby dog park. I quickly recognized that Americans and Australians both LOVE their dogs. The environment was so friendly, and everyone was quite nice. We also went to a nearby mall. My host mom dropped us roommates off in downtown, and we walked around and stopped at different pubs for $10 beers and a beautiful brunch restaurant. To be completely honest, even though I might have looked and talked like a tourist, I felt very at home on my first day and did not have much culture shock.
My first week was mostly spent at the school where I will be teaching, observing the classes that I will be taking over and teaching a few lessons here and there. I am located in the science department, which has a very high team morale. Everyone gets along quite well, and we spend a lot of time just hanging out. Every Monday, some of the guys get together for basketball (which I was presumed to be very good at), so I joined that club. The science department uses a rotating schedule where two teachers will do some cooking at home and bring in for everyone to eat and enjoy company. And on Fridays, the teachers get together for drinks after school.
As for the students, on Wednesdays they have a large list of specials they can choose from, including cooking, Lego mechanics, shot put, etc. Physical education and health are required for all students to take at least one time during the week. The school environment is very laid back and much of the school is outdoors! The inside hallways are reserved for teachers, and the students use outside pathways to get from class to class. I have pictures of all of this, it looks pretty cool. I will send them along as soon as possible. My internet access on my phone is for some reason a bit spotty.
Well, I need to go! My year 10 science class is next period and we will be looking into introductory genetics. Talk to you soon!