I have been an Australian resident for a full month now and its safe to say that I have settled quite nicely into my life here. It definitely does not feel like it has been 4 weeks since I left Minnesota. Nonetheless, I have attended 3 weeks of classes, frequented both the grocery store and the beach each week and eaten too many Tim Tams to count. I am feeling very comfortable navigating the city, and have begun planning a handful of upcoming excursions with friends.
Study abroad students are often warned that after the first few weeks pass the excitement starts to wear off and the homesickness sets in- however I have a thought of a way to combat the usual homesickness. My plan is to do my best to avoid any sort of monotonous or regimented schedule while in Australia- being open to spontaneity and adventure at all times. I am normally a very plan-oriented person, sticking strictly to schedules, but I hope to change this part of me at least a little while here. The many weekend getaways I am organizing will definitely fulfill my desires to explore.  Also, with 5 roommates and a circle of 10+ friends I have not had one moment where I was even near a state of boredom.
In my time here I have taken part in the lively nightlife downtown in Surfers Paradise and around my Uni village. Just this passed weekend the Gold Coast Turf Club hosted a student Race Day. This meant lots of last minute shopping for appropriate dress and of course hats and fascinators. On the day of, the entire village gathered for what was 5 hours of mingling and horse races. It was an unforgettable experience. It wasn’t the fancy dresses, or the nice suits, the colorful drinks or delicious food, it was not even the horses that made it so special. It was getting pampered and not feeling like broke Uni students for a day.
This same weekend we had 3 friends’ birthday’s to celebrate. This meant multiple night bus rides to Surfers where we checked out some of the different bars and dance clubs. We also splurged and spent one evening at a nice outdoor Italian restaurant eating delicious pasta and sharing margaritas. This night, as most do, ended with a jaunt to Ben and Jerry’s.
This coming weekend I will be attending an Australian Footie League match as the Gold Coast Suns take on Melbourne. I am not totally sure what the rules of Footie are, but I hear it is the Australian take on American football. I have also heard more than one local Aussie grumble at the mention of AFL but regardless I am keen to see the game played live. On Sunday evening I have plans to go with some Aussie friends to a sunset music and drum festival at a beach south of the city in Burleigh Heads.
In the next few weeks I also have plans to bring 7 other girls back to Byron Bay, to take an extended weekend in Melbourne, to go camping in Binna Burra Lamington National park, to travel for a week up the coast to the Great Barrier Reef, to see my beloved Beyonce perform in Brisbane and to travel through New Zealand after my semester is completed.
It may be foolish to say this so soon, but it is hard for me to see myself getting intensely homesick whilst busy venturing through Australia- especially having great friends at my side. Although it is true that I have “settled” into my life here, there is little time to actually settle in between classes, trips to the beach and the many hunger inspired journeys we take to discover new delicious restaurants.
I think what I’ve gathered so far in my study abroad experience is that even after the novelties fade, the accents become familiar and the slang becomes decipherable- there are always surprises. There is not a day that is wasted and there is not an opportunity to be missed. And the Australian beach will never be less beautiful than the first day I saw it. 
Race Day at Gold Coast Turf Club 
High rises in downtown Surfers Paradise
Sunset in Surfers Paradise

Sunset in Surfers Paradise

The Journey Continues