Reality Check

It is hard to imagine that I’ve already been in Brisbane for two and a half weeks. On one hand, two and a half weeks is a very short amount of time especially when I calculate how many wonderful things have transpired since I first arrived. Upon my landing, I was swiftly transported to my home called Westella, a large student shared house with 21 other foreign exchange students, where I was greeted by my first five friends who were up early to watch the World Cup soccer match between Argentina and Spain. I was immediately welcomed in and watched the rest of the match with these five people who’s numbers slowly grew to eight as the morning wore on. After three hours of bonding, I finally felt it wouldn’t be anti-social of me to excuse myself and change my clothes for the first time in 24 hours. I got ready for a very busy day which began by putting real food in my belly, shopping for groceries, unpacking, opening a bank account, visiting my Uni to print my student card, and ending with dinner at Chop Change. It was this day that I first truly appreciated American portions and prices, I will never ever complain again. Ever.

In the days that followed, I was able to meet my lovely housemates, who I all love and feel so thankful to have as my friends. We’ve been able to get to know Brisbane together and have spent many days seeing all the attractions of the city.


Some of such iconic locations include Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Surfer’s Paradise, the Sunshine Coast, and my new favorite hang-out spot; South Bank. Apart from these, I’ve spent numerous days exploring West End where I live. I cannot imagine a more perfect neighborhood to call home for the next couple of months. There are cafes and restaurants up and down boundary, a dozen venues with live music, and a mutual agreement between residents to live as natural and sustainable as possible. These last 2.5 weeks have been filled with relaxing times, great friends, and more than a dozen memories. I’ve been having so much fun that I nearly forgot the main reason why I was here was for school. Today I finally had my first day of real class; the first being Australian Terrestrial Life and the other being Environmental Sociology. Both seem keen and I can’t wait to get my hands dirty and out into the field with the terrestrial life course. The campus is situated atop a hill and has numerous ponds and lakes that break up the scattering of buildings. I’m excited to grab my laptop and head to the library for my first study session. That’s all for now!



Hi I’m Haley

Hello, my name is Haley and this is my first of many posts to come about my exciting semester abroad at the beautiful University of Queensland in Brisbane Australia! I arrived in Brisbane on July 10th and will then travel home on December 15th. I am a student study Natural Resources and Environmental Science and couldn’t be more thrilled to be studying in such an exotic and uniquely different part of our world. Queensland is much more tropical than the rest of Australia and has many National Parks and Forests that show case Australia’s wilderness. My course load at UQ consists of Australia’s Terrestrial Environment, Australia’s Marine Environment, Rainforest Field Ecology, Sociology and the Environment, and Contemporary Australia. A majority of these classes take students out into the field to learn first hand, some destinations include Brisbane Forest Park, Fraser Island World Heritage Area, Lamington National Park, Australia Zoo, North Stradbrook Island, and the Great Barrier Reef! 

I am so excited to begin my adventure and cannot be more thankful to the University of Illinois and it’s donors for providing me such an incredible opportunity to learn, grow, and experience another world. I hope you enjoy reading about my many adventures!



Spontaneous weekend trip to London

Hello friends from Lasalle Beauvais in France!

Earlier last week, Paulina and I (two U of Iers) were just looking up cheap travel tickets and decided that we wanted to go to London. It was a pretty crazy travel experience because in order to maximize our time, we took a bus that would go during the night. So we took a bus that drove into the night and arrived in London at the early hours of 5AM. We spent two whole days worth of time there and walked around a lot which is a great way to tour a city, I think! I thought it was great that we ended up hitting up a lot of the tourist hotspots without really meaning to one evening on a after-dinner walk. It was awesome and relaxing. I highly recommend going to get some fish and chips from any local spot, they’re delicious! And if you’re into food and eating like a lot of FSHN majors like myself, we unfortunately didn’t get to try this place called Duck and Waffle, but it’s in the heart of central London and from its full reservations, seems like a pretty tasty place.

P.S. This might have been obvious to many of you, but I didn’t know how I would get from France to London (would the bus skid over water? Do we go on a boat??) The mystery is solved.


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meat and potatoes = a classic combo.

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juicy, flaky and tender cod. YUM!


take me back 🙂

Connie Lam