Today has been more successful than in my wildest imaginings. I was awake half the night because I was jetlagged, but this was only to be expected. At 8.30 I was collected by the Accommodation Officers from Curtin. There was another mature student in the car, Cali. (If she is mature, I must be vintage!) Cali is studying for a masters in math education and will return to the US when she finishes.
Immediately we set off, the Accommodation Officers were identifying the type of places we would like. I said that I was basically sober-sided - I don't drink, smoke, gamble or party. They obviously knew their landlords well, for as soon as I said I was seeking a one bed flat, they suggested a granny flat in Salter Point where the owner was seeking a mature post grad student - I think I fitted the bill, even though I am undergrad. They took Cali and me to the Accommodation office, where they clarified a few details for Cali, then asked us to come back in about an hour, by which time they would have set up some viewing appointments!
We explored the campus in the pouring rain. Rain here is quite unusual, and everyone was apologising for the weather. If only they knew the weather in England! We found the Textile and Print Department and Math Education. We went to Westbank and each opened an account. I now need to do battle with my bank in the UK and make a phonecall tonight to authorise an international money transfer. Unfortunately the one thing I did not manage to do today, is to get a new sim card, so don't yet have a new phone number.
Stephen, our accommodation office driver, was most helpful. I am a nervous passenger and he did not make me twitch once! Good man. We were chauffeur driven to about 7 different locations in the area, in the pouring rain. We went to Salter Point first and although it was at the top end of my budget, it was like being offered 5 star accommodation including bills, for my exchange year. It had a main room with kitchen, laundryroom/bathroom, bedroom and utility cupboard. The outlook was fantastic - over Salter Point (unsurprisingly). It was like being offered the chance to live on millionaires row. It's a short walk to the bus route, or I can get a bike and use a cycle path to Curtin. We then viewed two other locations: the second was not as well maintained and although $50 cheaper did not include bills, and the third was on the 6th floor of an apartment block and generally appeared a bit tired. I nearly ran back to the accommodation office, to take up the first viewing. We have agreed that I will move in on Thursday. I now need to sort out making funds available for bond and first rent payment.
We looked at various locations for Cali. Her areas were mostly east and northeast of the university. Some were houses that had 6 students sharing, others were family homes with one or two student rooms attached. Most had a bathroom shared between 2 students, which appeared a lot better than I had imagined. This is probably because Cali specified a preference for limited bathroom sharing, so demonstrates how well the accommodation officers matched us to our requirements.
Cali and I are going out later today to view another flat for her. Then we go to dinner together.
I have had such a fantastic day. The assistance offered by the Accommodation Office has been absolutely outstanding. I hope my university (Herts) support foreign exchange students this way, but I think it unlikely. Curtin University has represented itself well.