Tuesday, March 2, 2010
So today was a big day. It felt like things came full circle, being that the initial prompting of my move to Sydney was in fact to attend grad school and today was my first day of classes. I kind of felt like school started last week, as I have been preparing for classes for almost a week now because we had assignments given to us ahead of time. I will be getting my Masters degree through the University of New South Wales, which is a HUGE university here in Sydney, about 40,000 students attend. It is quite different than my undergrad experience to say the least, being that OBU may have had 5,000, if that? My degree will be in social development with an emphasis on refugees/forced migration. My first semester courses are Issues in Social Development, Community Development, Politics of International Aid, and Rights Based Project Design & Evaluation. Classes tonight were great! The most exciting thing to me was probably the class sizes being small so you can get to know people and that people were from ALL OVER. I have classmates from Sudan, Nepal, Romania, Malaysia, Indonesia, England, to name a few. We did brief introductions but I can't wait to hear more of peoples stories. It should make for some interesting class discussion with so many different cultural backgrounds, work experience, life experience etc. One of the professors asked me in front of the class if I ride horses a lot at home, and she was dead serious. That is better than how the conversation normally goes..."Are you from Canada or the States? I'm from the States. Oh which part? Texas. Oh, isn't that where the fattest state in the already fat U.S? If not the obesity issue, its capital punishment, or gun laws. Maybe I will start claiming Wyoming, since I was born there, there aren't any stereotypes about Wyoming are there? Thursday we had a wine night with the professors to get to meet them and other people in our program. My professors are from Australia, England, Italy and New Zealand. I found out more about the internship programs that are available. There are opportunities to do some work on the Burma/Thailand border with refugees there, work on the Indian side of the Indian/Burma border, a project in New Delhi, India (which I have already been to), and a chance to go to the annual refugee conference at the U.N in Geneva to do some lobbying on behalf of Australia. The programs are competitive, based on grades and experience, so we will see! I will definitely apply.
I am so glad have had so much time to settle in and felt very prepared to begin school. School aside, my time here has been so incredible and so worth all the prep, uncertainty, working extra jobs, etc. Still miss Woodview, but that will never go away regardless of where I am. Such a special place in my heart. Perspective gained there radically changed my views on so many issues. If you are reading this and are one of my Woodview friends hug a 4th grader for me that was one of mine and start a political debate with Ruben on my behalf.