Context: I moved from San Diego to Melbourne, Australia to pursue a PhD in psychology… eventually. First I have to knock out the undergraduate requirements, which I’m doing this year, and then a thesis “honours” year , and then my PhD. (yes, the U in ‘honours’ is intentional, attempting to switch to the Aussie bastardisation of English, not the American bastardization)
Random thoughts in no real particular order:
- I’m being really academically challenged with this Graduate Diploma; even more than when I got my MBA. They’re lecturing 4 hours per day, 5 days per week, and jumping straight to the material that the professor/lecturer found most challenging in school, not starting with definitions or any sort of structure from a book/journal. I’m doing well in terms of marks (grades), and I’m exhausted.
- I feel like an alien who was lost and found his home planet.
- The spelling of the American “curb” is “kerb” here. It’s totally screwed up and messes with my head.
- At 5’9″ 155 lbs I went from somewhere between skinny and average to straight up average. The lack of fat people here in the city astounds me.
- I walk almost twice the amount of steps compared to what I did in the U.S. I can get almost everywhere I need to by foot or tram living near the city.
- I have not seen a kangaroo or any kind of dangerous animal; the only thing dangerous are cars driving on the opposite side of the road that I’m used to.
- Coffee is so much better here it’s ridiculous. If you ever come to Australia and you like espresso/milk try a ‘flat white’.
- Iced coffee is ice cream and espresso and served as a desert.
- A 1 bed downtown flat (apartment) in a high-rise costs about $1300-1700 AUD per month from what I’ve been told. That’s currently about $1000-1300 USD per month.
- Living in a dorm dedicated to international/grad students is amazing. Intellectual conversations everywhere, and people looking to make friends is awesome. That, and I have 7 breakfasts / 5 dinners prepared for me included in the rent, along with weekly maid service.
- Orange juice is less expensive than a soft drink.
- The Aussies shorten almost all verbal expressions but not the phrase “soft drink” to my knowledge.
- One new local friend was sincerely excited that my name was Dave. He had no other friends named Dave, which confuses me because in the past I couldn’t get away from other Daves (seriously, this was a problem in certain circles, and still is).
- My Aussie informal nickname would likely be Dave-o. I’m excited about that.
- The Aussie (and Kiwi) offensive slang for having sex is “root”. To say that “I’m rooting for USC” during college football would lead to questions as to exactly how many men are on that team and am I using protection.
- I have an infinitely stronger compassion for people where English is not their native tongue. I have to ask the Aussies to repeat themselves from time-to-time; I can’t imagine what it’s like for ESL people.
- For dating, I suddenly became exotic. It was also incredibly refreshing to be approached by a woman, and interesting to witness the nervousness that goes along with it from the flipside.
- I haven’t met an Aussie yet who likes Trump. Still looking for one. Closest I’ve gotten is that they acknowledged one thing they liked (random bus passenger said that he liked Trump was aiming to pay for the US’s ‘fair share’ of the U.N.).
- Aussies make fun of the Asian stereotype for not pronouncing their L’s or R’s, and fail to do so themselves frequently. Hypocrites.
- Asians:Australians are analogous to Mexicans::Americans in the sense that there’s a feeling that the Asians/Mexicans are stealing jobs, and are often sadly the victims of discrimination.
- Both Native Americans and the Indigenous Australians are sadly given the shittiest land and given alcohol to drink themselves to death.
- My health insurance here for the *year* cost me about 150% of a single *month* of my COBRA payment from my last job.
- I went in for a routine doctor’s visit already. Got an appointment within a couple of days despite the holidays, 2 pages of paperwork, and no copay.
- Reducing my “stuff” down to 3 1/2 suitcases worth was incredibly liberating.
I’m certain there are things I’m forgetting; please feel free to ask in the comments if you’d like to hear about anything in particular.