It’s been exactly a week since I left Hong Kong and flew to Brisbane. I’m doing some work experience with education here – as well as a cultural exchange programme. So far, all’s been well!
It was my first time flying Qantas, unfortunately we were delayed an hour in Hong Kong but I really appreciated the refreshments they provided while on ground. The seats were a lot smaller than I’d expected! We flew a red-eye flight which is definitely the worst kind of flight because of the amount of pressure you have to make sure you get some sleep before you arrive the next morning. Which unfortunately, did not work for me as those seats were impossible to sleep on! We landed in Brisbane International Airport at around 8 in the morning the next day and because I was travelling on a Subclass-600 visa, the lines in immigration were insane. Pretty much nothing was going my way because I was also randomly checked in customs! Eventually, I was able to finally meet with the SCU representative who brought us to our bus to head to Lismore.
Lismore, an approximate three-hour drive away from Brisbane is a quaint little town which is where my work placement and homestay is at. We had a quick stop about an hour into the ride at a convenience store which was pretty much our first breath of Australian air. We took a quick look at the prices of snacks and were shocked at how expensive everything was! A bottle of water was HKD$30!? (I later found out that prices of items in Australia really varied on where you buy them). We headed back to the bus and continued our drive and finally arrived at SCU, the host university for our placement programme. Here, we had a quick introduction and met our homestay parents!
A homestay experience is something that seems quite popular here in Australia and although I didn’t have a choice on whether to do homestay or not, I’d say it’s a unique experience. It does allow you to get out of your comfort zone and adapt to a completely different culture and become exposed to a completely different family. I’d say, so far the biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is with food. Typically, coming from a Filipino family, there’s always meat on the table – over here, I think I’ve gone an entire week with probably one third of the amount of meat I’d consume in a week back home! I keep telling myself it’s okay because right after this Australia trip, I do have a beach trip planned!
Another adjustment would be the lack of freedom. This could be mostly because of how “far” everything is around here, you’d need to be driven from point to point so not much is really walkable. And plus, I’m probably just so used to the public transportation back home where I’m free to make my way pretty much anywhere and everywhere.
That photo above is the view from outside the house I’m staying at! Will have a post to follow soon on my day trip to Byron Bay last Monday!