Hi my dear Aussies (and other English speakers)!
How are you doing? Good, I hope!
If you were thinking I had given up on writing articles in English (which would be quite understandable, as it has been more than two months since I released the last one), I’m glad to tell you were wrong!
Nevertheless, I think I owe you an apology for this considerable lateness. It’s quite hard to remain punctual when you try to write in another language than the one you learnt when you were a child. But I like doing it though, because I reckon it helps me to improve my English and that it is a good way to share my experiences with you, who welcomed me and helped me to feel like home in Lincoln.
In this article, I will give my point of view about different topics, I hope you will like it. If you were there during my presentation for the year 11’s at St Joes, you will see that some of the things I am writing in this article are quite the same as the ones I talked about on that day.
Enjoy your reading! 🙂
I think the most important difference between here and Belgium is the distance between two places.
In Belgium, there are villages and towns literally everywhere. My little hamlet, Hazeilles, is only one kilometre from the nearest village, which is 60km from the nearest city. In short, I may live in the countryside, but it’s really easy for me to go to more bustling places. Besides, public transport such as buses and trains are more prevalent.
In ‘Straya, if you drive 1km, you are still at your starting point. After 60km, you definitely are in the middle of nowhere. I was really shocked by those big distances at the beginning of my exchange because, as I didn’t expect the travels to be so long, I used to hop in the car without anything to keep busy. I nearly died of boredom during a travel to Cowell. However, I’m getting used to this aspect of Australia and I have learnt to enjoy it. Some landscapes are really beautiful and inspiring, even on Eyre Peninsula.
There are so many new things about Australian school and so many differences between my old school and St Joes, I don’t even know how to begin.
Let’s start with the uniform! In Belgium, we don’t have any dress code. Students wear whatever clothes they want, provided that they aren’t outrageous or insulting. I don’t really know what the best is… Admittedly, it allows students to express their personality, but as a result, some of them have to deal with discrimination problems. I reckon each system has its pros and cons.
I’m quite glad with my current school. Although St Joes has a few strangely strict rules (no contacts, no phones, hats even during cloudy days), the global atmosphere is really pleasant. The teachers are friendly and helpful and the staff really seems to care about the student’s well-being. Lots of people asked me if I found the school easier here in Lincoln. To be honest, I’m not really sure it is. Of course it depends on the school, but in St Joes, most of the subjects are as hard as the ones I had in Belgium.
School here is also way more modern than my old one. When I first came, I couldn’t believe there were so many computer rooms in the school… and I was astonished to learn that some of them even had windows 8. In my old school, everyone was glad when we got a few projectors, but, in fact, it is nothing compared to the modernity of St Joes. Recently, we changed our lockers and now, we can access the year 12’s area. It is funny to see how important the seniors are in the school, but I won’t complain, after all, I will be in year 12 next year.
I have never had to work really hard in St Joes (except from that bio assignment that nearly drove me mad). As I have finished school in Belgium, the results I get don’t really matter. However I try to do most of the assignments other people get, even if sometimes I just have to give up because it is too hard.
I don’t know if I did my exams well, but eh, at least I tried! 😀
The City and the Bay
Living in Port Lincoln is really enjoyable. People are pleasant, most of the town is really beautiful and the sea is just a few metres from where I live.
I reckon there is only one disadvantage about living in Port Lincoln. I am starting to think that I have a bit of a problem with traffic. First, I really can’t get used to the fact that cars drive on the left side. I still get in the car by the wrong side sometimes, which seems to be always pretty funny for the driver. Then, I don’t know if it is because I come from overseas, but I find it really hard to cross the streets. I always feel uneasy when I walk along Liverpool Street!
But all the rest is wonderful. The main advantage of Lincoln is the proximity of the sea. Who needs a pool, when you can swim in the bay? Even surfing beaches such as Fisheries are not that far from the city. I reckon the sea is one of the reasons why life in Australia is awesome. I swam in the ocean for the first time only a few days ago. Before that, I had only swum in quiet waters (North Sea, Mediterranean Sea…). Being knocked down by the big waves is one of the funniest things that happened to me since I have been here. I should really learn to surf, I think I will try it during the holidays.
In Australia, I discovered that fishing wasn’t bad at all. Actually, I really enjoy it (especially squidding). It can be very relaxing and it is always a good time to spend with someone you know.
Comparing parties in Australia with parties in Belgium is quite difficult because I haven’t been to a lot of them here in Lincoln, so I can’t really judge yet. My opinion so far is that it is usually very funny, but it can sometimes be quite a mess.
In Belgium, most parties are public, while in Australia, most of them seem to be private (I might be wrong though). It means that most of the Belgian parties can’t be shut by the police, if the legal conditions are respected. There are dj’s and high tech material and the drinks can be bought on the spot. But there are some disadvantages too. First, anyone can rock up, so you sometimes have to deal with violent people and the security is not as good as it should be. Then, drinks can be either very cheap or ridiculously expensive, depending on the party.
What I like about Australian parties is the friendly atmosphere. Everyone seems to know each other, and when you don’t know someone, you are quickly introduced to him. A good example of a well-organised party is the St Joes after grad’. I reckon that night was one of the best of my exchange. There was security, the music was quite good and I really had a good time.
Missing home is normal when you decide to leave your country for a year. Homesickness sometimes happens and there is no way to avoid it. However, when it occurs, it is not really that hard to cope with. The best thing to do is always try to keep busy and focus your mind on something else. Even simply walking the dog can be a good solution.
Here is a little list of the things I miss about Belgium:
– My friends and my family (obviously). Even if I love all the new people I met in Australia, sometimes I just wish my Belgian relatives could be in Australia as well. From time to time, I dream that my Belgian and Australian friends meet – which is pretty funny.
– Belgian beer. Oh god, I miss that so much, I think I could kill someone to get a bottle of Leffe Brune or Tripel Karmeliet! By the way, thanks to all the people who went to the Belgian Café with me, I really appreciated that guys. 🙂
– Food. In general, Australian food is really good but – no offence – bread and cheese taste a bit… flavourless.
– I really miss making puns and jokes. Sometimes I really wish I could understand all your jokes and allusions. Hopefully I will improve my English enough to get it at the end of my exchange!
But again, even if I sometimes miss things from home, life in Australia is still awesome and I have met really good friends. I am glad I came to Australia and I have no regrets!
Et voilà! This is the end of the article. I hope you enjoyed it! If you have any question or comment, don’t hesitate to ask. If you want my mobile phone number or my snapshat name, inbox me on facebook.
I really hope you enjoy your holidays! See ya everyone!