I come from a world of Duke blue and Blue Devils, and here I have found myself embraced in Australia by blue skies and… Blue Dogs. 

Since I arrived, Emmanuel College has been my home away from home. Oddly enough, our colors are “Duke” blue and white. I walk around, seeing everyone wearing their sweet blue and white-striped rugby jerseys and I can’t help but smile about how good it feels to see the familar but also how much fun the experience of a residential college has been. 

Amazingly (and frighteningly!) enough, I have nearly reached the half-way point of my time in Australia. For the past two months, I have been living in St. Lucia, a suburb of Brisbane in Queensland, the Sunshine State. My residential college houses about 300 Australians and 50 international students, mostly under-grad, but some grad and post-doc as well.

We live in a variety of two-story brick wings situated around a grassy courtyard and alongside the dining hall and gym. My wing, affectionately known as Micky, is named Meiklejohn after the Dr. Reverend John Meiklejohn, (could his parents not have come up with a more original first name?!?) first president of Emmanuel when the college was founded in 1911.

I have found the residential college system amazing, and am thrilled that I was placed here instead of an off-campus apartment. I have the rest of my life to live in an apartment or private home, not the case for living with 40 other peers. Most of the kids are two years younger. Funny story: typically, American study-abroad students are in their junior year, so most of us are 20 and 21 years of age. Oddly enough, most of the kids in my wing are first-years (except my fellow Americans), so therefore only about 18. At first, it made me feel old to constantly meet people two years younger, I must admit, but now, it just seems normal.

So what is college life like, one might ask? All meals are provided for us. Food is pretty simple, sometimes of a very typically dining hall variety (dried meat, lots of rice) but for the most part, it’s really good. I’m happy about the constant selections of veggies and salad (and dessert!) at dinner and fruit in the mornings. As long as I have fresh food, I’m always happy. Sidenote: I’ve eaten more carrots and PB-and-J toast here than ever before in my lifetime. No complaints though… they are delicious.

In addition to the constant supply of food I do not have to buy or cook, college has many other perks, including one free load of laundry a week. Being the girl I am, I still do a load myself because heaven forbid I would ever mix darks and whites. People also clean our bathrooms, vacuum our floors and empty our trashbins from our rooms. Sounds good hey? As my mom said before I left, why would I ever want to leave here? Answer: I’m still searching for that answer. (haha, just kidding mom… I’ll come home, I promise!)

One of my favorite things about college has been the social perks. You can always find someone to go out with or stay in and watch a movie. Meals are often hour-long affairs as you chat up you tablemates and get all the latest gos (This seems obvious, but gos = Australian slang for gossip). Being part of a residential college is the best way to hear about any party on or around campus and often scores you free bus rides to such events. Living with Australians also gets you the inside scoop on places to travel, how to get there, and who might give you a free ride to the beach next weekend.

Lastly, and one of my favorite parts, Emmanuel has many sports teams that compete in the Intercollegiate league against the other, and obviously inferior (!) colleges. So far, I’ve seen a fair share of soccer, rugby and basketball. It’s a great chance to meet everyone and I think we often have way more fun on the sidelines than they do in the game.

Given that Emmanuel’s colors are royal blue and white, looks like I should have brought more Duke shirts with me after all 🙂 Eh, no worries, I’ll just have to wait until my super-sweet rugby jersey comes in. As our college song goes… we’re blue because we’re blue, because we’re blue… Go Blue dogs!!