Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Hogwarts Castle!

Since arriving in Manly on Sunday a lot of things have happened. First off, I haven't been keeping up on my blog, so for my readers I apologize, although I have a feeling there aren't too many of you, the ones I have are oh so special, so I apologize.

The bus picked us up at the airport and drove us to Manly and our new home, the International College of Management Sydney, ICMS, also known as the Hogwarts castle :) haha, well maybe only to me but it really is great, so beautiful and looks straight out of a fairytale. After checking in, unpacking, touring the college, and having dinner, our Orientation week here at ICMS began. Each day this week has started nice and early, with breakfast around 7; and even if you would like to sleep in a little you cannot because the beautiful beaming sun shines into your dorm window, plus the loud and energetic birds make way too much noise in the morning to sleep in very late :)

Monday- We did not have too much scheduled on this day so a group of us walked down to Manly Beach, toured some of the shops and spent a good chunk of our day laying out in the sun on the beach. Manly Beach is so awesome. Its very long and most of the time quite busy. Lots of people of all ages, playing, surfing, or just laying out, there is almost always a lot going on. It is a lot of fun. At dinner on Monday we had a live band play for us, made up of 14 and 15 year old boys and they were awesome! Very talented young group and very entertaining. We eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, in the Court Yard Cafe', also known as the CYC. It is all open and outside with a bunch of tables and an area for entertainment which we have had at lunch and dinner throughout the week.

Tuesday- Early breakfast and then a Study Abroad meeting with our director Amy to answer questions and talk about how we are doing and see if we need anything. We also got fitted for our uniforms, which are nice business suits. They are a dark grey and consist of a medium length skirt, white button up, blazer, scarf, panty hose, and professional black shoes. So basically the women are dressed kind of like flight attendants :) They are pretty nice and despite the warmth of them in this beautiful weather, I think I will appreciate the fact that when I get up in the morning for class during this semester I won't have to worry about what I am going to wear. Tuesday evening was jam packed and exciting. We had a college welcome ceremony in the chapel, which is a gorgeous building, and as many of the staff remind us of here, it is the chapel where Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman got married. The Dean of the college along with the administrator gave speeches to welcome all of the students. They also listed off every country that is represented here and informed us that everyone countries flag is hung out front of the college, which is pretty darn cool if you ask me. It really is an international place with so much opportunity to meet people and learn a lot about other cultures. The ceremony was followed by a cocktail party out front of the castle. Everyone was dressed in their best and mingled with the several hundreds who came to celebrate the start of this new school year. They had champagne, wine, beer, and delicious hor' dourves. It was a beautiful setting and quite a magical moment with so many people who came together to celebrate this school.

Wednesday- was a bit busier with a learning strategies meeting, and final enrollment. Another yummy lunch and then a group of us walked down to Shelley Beach to see how it compares to Manly Beach. Shelley is also beautiful and not a far walk from Manly Beach. It is tucked over in the corner of the beach area with rocks shielding the wind and has almost no waves so its a nice place to chill in the water. We hung out there for a while and then headed back up to the castle. Later we found out that Manly Beach was closed to swimming because the waves were so big so it worked out for the best that we had gone to Shelley Beach. Wednesday concluded with dinner, and of course more entertaining musical entertainment and then a floor meeting to go over some basic housing rules.

Thursday- The morning started with a session called 'the college and local community' to go over some key aspects of the college and better adjust to this new school. Following this informational session was a more hands on session as we headed down to Shelley Beach and got a nice thorough course on surf safety. We also got to break up into teams and practice surf paddling, and running into the water and moving right into paddling. It was a great introduction to surf basics and got me very excited and anxious for this weekend, which is our surf trip! We had lunch and then went outside with a pretty big group to do team building activities and games. There was a blow up obstacle course, a volleyball game with a huge blow up ball, and tug of war. The tug of war immediately reminded me of home and Greek week and all of my beloved Delta Gamma sisters, and how I miss you all! I used my skills and my knowledge of our success back home to help my team strategize :) It was a lot of fun. We showered up and ate dinner and headed down to the 'Sandbar' (the bar and game area in the basement of my dorm building) to have an Australian Party. There was music, balloons, flags, and lots of people. We played some Australian trivia and then had a special guest. A guy brought in a bunch of different types of animals, mostly reptiles and gave us a Native Wildlife Show. It was so cool; he brought spiders, snakes, lizards, and an small alligator. As he took each one out of their boxes he would talk about them and then ask for a volunteer to come up and hold it and carry it around the room for others to see. I volunteered and got to hold a blue tongued lizard, it was sweet. Overall it was extremely informative and really fun.

And now Friday- here we are, and finally I am caught up on the busier first week at ICMS. Early breakfast and some time on the internet catching up with my family, and setting up some skype dates. I had a meeting with Amy and the functions department so that I can get involved and work some events while here at school. There is also opportunities to volunteer at this place called "Bear Village." It is such a good cause; families and their children who are terminally ill come and spend time together in this beautiful place. I am definitely hoping to get a chance to volunteer there later this semester.

I am having a blast and really appreciate this opportunity. I am definitely missing my family and friends back home but I know they love me and support me, and every time I look out the window and see the gorgeous view, I know I am here for a reason. And that reason is to learn, grow, discover, and return home a better and stronger person :)

I will be off to lunch soon, then we have a professional development program from 1-4 ish and then we will be packing up and heading to our surf trip around 5pm today and returning Sunday night. I am very excited for the travel opportunity, to spend time with my new friends, meet more people, learn how to surf, and get away for the weekend. And then classes start Monday, and although the time thus far without actual school has been so awesome, I am excited to start classes. Its such a great opportunity to be here and to take classes that are unlike anything offered at Albion. I received my "timetable" (as they call their class schedules here) and I do have two 8am classes but I got the four classes I wanted and my timetable is pretty good. I will be taking Intro to Tourism, Intro to the Events Industry, Business Communication, and Intro to Sports Management. So for now I am excited and eager to learn more.
Sorry for the very long update but thanks for reading. :)

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