Farewell Brisbane

We have had another full week as we now wrap up in Australia.  We took a ferry to Moreton Island for an overnight experience of beach culture.  A huge storm on Saturday created very windy and choppy sea which shaped our beach adventure.  We stayed at Tangalooma Resort which serves as a dolphin education center.  We learned about the wild dolphins they have been studying for decades, but sadly, we did not get to feed the wild dolphins as we hoped.  The researchers surmised the rough sea kept the dolphins in deeper waters the night we visited.

Students also did more site research for their projects.  Some students interviewed Australians on Moreton Island, another group visited the Queensland Multicultural Police Officer at Police Headquarters, while others headed out to Griffith University to interview a well-known Australian Professor of Special Education.

Yesterday students presented their final presentations.  It was evident that each student learned an immense amount about Australian culture. Today is free for rest and last minute shopping, but this evening we will be participating the LUMINOUS Lantern Parade.  Thousands of Queenslanders will attend, and Landmark College will proudly carry a banner to celebrate cultural diversity!


Australia: Ancient and Modern

This week students wrapped up living with their Australian families.  From their “Homestay Report” assignment, it was apparent everyone soaked up many lessons about the multicultural aspect of Australia while enjoying a bit of ‘home’ with food, games, and pets!  It was exciting to hear many stories of “my Australian brother goes to kindy (kindergarten)” or “my Australian Mom made ANZAC biscuits for us”.

On Wednesday, we experienced some of the ancient Aboriginal and Torres Strait culture firsthand.  Students learned to dot-paint, dance, and eat berries that have sustained Aboriginal culture for thousands of years.  Then Thursday, we visited Brisbane city museums with fascinating exhibits of modern Aboriginal artwork and interactive educational displays.

Student Reflections

As we learn the layers of multicultural Australia, students have been keeping journals as part of the course.  Here are just a few reflections from some of the group.

Andrew’s reflection from Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary:

After getting my picture taken with the koala, Jackson and I headed over to the kangaroo area. The environment was unlike that of a regular zoo where this environment was a huge field where the kangaroos were free to roam around the pasture and could go and eat where they pleased. It was a lot different from animals being stuck inside a little cage like at regular zoos. We both then walked around with the kangaroo food we had bought in the gift shop to feed them. Jackson apparently was very popular with the kangaroos and had three of them eating from his hand. They also were interested in eating from my hand and I enjoyed being able to pet them as well. We also tried to feed the emu’s but we were both scared that they would attack us because of being too close to them and invading their territory so we decided not to.

Jackson’s reflection from our Multi-Cultural Workshop by Australian Trainer Margaret Bornhorst:

During the workshop today, we learned many things. This included the customs of Australia. Some of the things that were discussed seemed slightly familiar from the intro to communication course, but other’s seemed new.  The part that I thought was most interesting was the whole thing about the culture and personality clashes. This revolves around two people from different cultures clashing. They just have to figure out if their clashing because of their cultures are different or because their personalities are different. For it to be defined as a culture clash, it must involve a trait, either a value, a belief, a behavior, or an attitude.

Bobbie’s reflection from our Multi-Cultural Workshop by Australian Trainer Margaret Bornhorst:

Today during our workshop we learn many new Australian values one may not notice at first glance. The speaker was very informed because she lived in the United States till she was thirteen then moved to Australia.  This allowed her to see Australian through a unique perspective. One interesting Australian value I learned was that many men in Australia are not keen on showing emotion. My homestay mention this probably came from the English background and said it is very encouraged to have a stiff upper lip. Jame the 14 year old boy I was living with said it was not normal for his circle of friend but not looked down on. Anti-intellectualism was another value many Australians seem to adopt.



New Homes, New Lessons

Our journey Down Under continues to expand the students’ cultural awareness.  At the end of last week, students were assigned to make site visits to various important landmarks in Brisbane.  Each student is working in a group to prepare for final presentations about “Child-rearing and Education”, “Pop Culture and Media”, or “Immigration and Tourism”, and their site visits provided secondary sources and background information.  They have been navigating the new city streets with confidence and curiosity.

Saturday was a free day.  Liza and several students walked along the Brisbane River to a colorful street market:  Davies Market.

Sunday students met with their new Australian homestay families.  Each family greeted the students with enthusiasm and vast experience in showing international students a slice of Australian life.  Many report they may see koalas and kangaroos in their back yards!

Stories, Symbols, and Kangaroos

The group is in full swing now.  Professor Burgess has students exploring the city noticing symbols of Australian stories.  Sunday we had a lovely (and inadvertently adventurous for a few of us) hike outside the city to Mt Cootha.  Aboriginal people used to go to Mt Cootha to collect honey (ku-ta).  Monday we had walking tour through the city highlighting the history of Brisbane.  Yesterday, Wednesday, was an excursion to the koala sanctuary:  Lone Pine.  We traveled to the sanctuary via ferry along the Brisbane River expanding our understanding of the area.  Holding koalas, feeding kangaroos, and petting dingoes along with many other unique species has endeared Australia to us all.

Arrived Down Under

It was a LONG day of travel yesterday, but we have arrived safe, tired, and very excited.  Yesterday we settled into the Youth Hostel Brisbane, stocked up on groceries, and had a lovely walk through the city.  Today promises to be a good day including a hike up “Honeyeaters Track” to the beautiful lookout called Mt Cootha.


Welcome: Orientation 5/13/16

IMG_0185Welcome to our Australia ’16 Blog!  Students, we look forward to meeting as a group on Friday 5/13/16 at 9:00 in MacFarlane 104 for Orientation.   Please remember to bring:

  1. Your laptop
  2. Your passport (or copy of it)
  3. Your CO Intercultural Communication Coursepack and small language textbook

At Orientation we do some group activities, be introduced to the course, receive important travel information, complete some vital paperwork and eat some Vegemite (for the cultural daring!).  Please email me if you have any questions:  lburns@landmark.edu