As the newest addition to the Australia Studies Centre staff, I’ve had a fair share of work in preparing for the arrival of this semester’s ASC students. From making thousands of copies to building shelves, I’ve been working hard in anticipation for the beginning. Coming from working in motion picture in Los Angeles, I’m not quite used to having my own desk. It is certainly a welcome change. But I’m looking forward to bringing expertise in visual storytelling to the team here at the ASC.
Classes are now full in session with students bustling about the campus. After a fantastic orientation week of meeting, greeting and heaps of fun in the sun, the ASC and Wesley students are now well acquainted.
For the ASC students Tuesday morning brought the first session of the View from Australia class from Program Director Kimberly Spragg. Next the bright-eyed students receive the gift of hundreds of pages of reading material in the form of A Concise History of Australia, Henri Nouwen’s Can You Drink The Cup, and the View From Australia Reader. These books along with weekly trips to important sights around Sydney form the content of the course: the history, government and identity of Australia.
The class encompasses everything from the current antics in Australian politics to eating with a fork and knife in true “Aussie” fashion. This is not just a dry history lecture that can be read in any book. This class seeks to explore the world through the eyes of those on the other side of the world.
Along with the cultural education comes a crash course in forming relationships with Australians.
“The thing you will remember the most after you leave will be the relationships you form,” says Kimberly.
“Most of the Australians have made friendships with ASC students and have had their hearts broken once they left,” she tells them, “so you may have to pursue friendships more.”
She reminds them that relating to Australians is the biggest part of learning about the view from Australia.
I already hope to take some of that wisdom as I settle in my new home for the next 10 months. The possibilities for the semester are infinite with such a great team and an eager group of students.