Last week was O-Week here at the University of Notre Dame Australia. O-Week, as you may or may not have already figured out, stands for Orientation Week. Our week was packed full of activities starting at 8 a.m. on Monday morning when we moved into our Residence Hall.
I was assigned to Port Lodge Residence Hall, and might I add I’m happy I was. I moved in to find 30+ amazing people including more from the US, two from France, and even a few locals. It seemed to me that we all almost immediately clicked as we had our first of many community meals that evening which began with the obligatory fun fact about ourselves written on our name cards. It might just be me, but it seems that in every new organization or group of people that I enter, the fun fact is always there, lurking around the corner. Each and every one of us, I’m sure, is trying to decide which fun fact will impress the most people or will it be good enough at all. Everyone dreads the fun fact, but as it seems, it’s a part of every culture, no matter how many oceans you cross.
Tuesday began with the receiving of new ID cards and Pancake Tuesday. Well, Pancake Tuesday turned out to be more like Crumpet Tuesday as they had run out of pancakes by the time we had arrived. I wasn’t going to complain though, I got the opportunity to try my first crumpet and it was delicious!
Starting with morning tea, Wednesday was completely packed full with Academic Orientation, Maximizing your Time presentation, OSHC Presentation, Police Presentation, and a Transperth Presentation. We did have a small break to eat fish and chips at Sweet Lips. The fish was cooked to perfection, the perfect break in the middle of the day! Last activity of the night was our Welcome Celebration where we had a cookout got to know some people from the other Residence Halls.
Thursday was O-Day for the entire school! Students filled the streets of Fremantle for the opening celebration
and the official welcome. Then the parade began. This parade was unlike any other that I’ve been in or even seen. The students walked through the streets of Fremantle filling the street from curb to curb. It was incredible to see that many students lined through the street showing pride for their school. There were noisemakers and balloons and even hats given to the students to walk with and fellow Fremantle residents lined the sidewalks and cheered as we proceeded through. There was another cookout after the parade was over for us to meet even more students. An activities fair was also held in one of the buildings. The activities fair was insane. They gave out more free stuff than any other fair I’ve ever seen! I got hats, sunglasses, highlighters, pens, frisbees, balls, shirts, and more. The day ended with a welcome mass for all students.
Friday was perhaps the most fun as all the international students participated in the Amazing Race Perth. We used our newly acquired SmartRider passes through Transperth to get around in Perth and Fremantle to complete several challenges. Some of the challenges included solving a puzzle, walking someone else’s dog, and bringing an ice cream cone to a staff member. It was a great way to get to know the city nearby and our guide was amazing at letting us know where all the good hotspots were within Perth.
Our group at the Port Lodge spent the weekend lazing and swimming at both Bathers Beach and South Beach, cliff jumping, and exploring Perth. A few others that went through the same program, The Education Abroad Network, and I went to South Perth to have a cookout one evening on the beach with our program director. Overall it was a relaxing and fun weekend to top off such an action-packed week.