My name is Philip Kirkbride. I’m a college graduate from Ontario studying at AU. I’ve always wanted to do an exchange program or study abroad but never found the right time to do so. This is the story of how Athabasca University has allowed me to create my own study abroad program. In the last issue I made my way back to Sydney by train.
A few days had passed since I arrived in Sydney. I found myself unwinding by laying out on Bondi Beach. The sun was hot and the beach was full of people enjoying every minute of it. It’s almost always packed on sunny days. Surfers gathered on one section of the beach to take their turn riding the waves.
A scenic path known as The Costal Walk connects Bondi Beach to several other beaches. Between the beaches the path led into hills with rounded cliffs and rock-pools. The cliffs have been beautifully shaped from hundreds of years of waves.
After a long stroll along the coast I sat down with my laptop to work on an assignment. With so much going on it was easy to fall behind?which I had. The beach was a great place to get work done, unlike the hostel where I was staying. The vast majority of guests that were 18-30 years old from Europe (with a few Canadians thrown in), had come to Bondi Beach to party, surf, and generally have a good time. I had a blast playing beer pong, card games, and late nights on the beach. Yet I couldn’t help feeling out of place with a textbook. These people were here purely for fun and enjoyment, while I was… something not quite that.
Despite the always Saturday atmosphere of Bondi I managed to get a lot done staying there over the next few weeks. Slowly but surely, I started to catch up on my course work. Of course, there was still the issue of finding an invigilator to facilitate my exam. In the past I’d always taken exams at my local college, which was easy and convenient.
But when booking an exam outside of Canada you have to get in touch with an individual who is a registered invigilator. Being in a class with both a mid-term and an exam complicated matters further. While It’s not as easy as walking to my local college, I have to give Athabasca credit for having an extensive list of invigilators around the globe.
However, choosing an invigilator from the list was something I’d have to figure out later, as it still wasn’t clear if I’d stay in Sydney or continue on to another Australian city. Exploring the country was, after all, the main reason for coming. I can’t say Bondi Beach ever got old, but after three weeks, I found myself wondering about all the Australian beaches not yet seen.