Monday, 4 July 2011

International Induction day

This turned out to be an easy day.  Exchange students were told to report to the International office for 11am. There are c 120 exchange students, which surprised me, as we were so few.  I think there are many other types of student, but I suspect most foreign students are independently arranged, and so have to pay full fees, as opposed to the reduced fees we pay as we are matched to outgoing Australian students going to the UK.  I met up with most of the people from Herts, as well as people from the USA, Hungary, Japan, Sweden, and Scotland. 

Some students booked on the tour to the brewery and chocolate factory did not show.  I gather there had been some problems with overbooking of on-campus accommodation and quite a few students (including those from Herts) had been booked into local hostels and hotels, and some had elected to stay with family members if they had relations in Perth (one of the Herts girls did).  Some students appeared to have had a poor initial experience of accommodation in Perth, although I have been lucky and have no complaints.  But things appeared to be being sorted out.  Once of the Herts girls received an accommodation offer while we were at lunch, and it was of the type of accommodation that she had requested.  And a couple of years ago when I started at Herts, our accommodation was so overbooked that people on my course were in hotel accommodation for 3 months, and one person I met today was in this accommodation for the whole year! 

We were comparing prices UK/Aus.  Apparently some of our boys have already been out clubbing (not my scene!) and beer prices were $9-10 per pint! (c£6-7).  This seems extortionately expensive to me, but I know there is a UK campaign for minimum pricing per alcohol unit, so maybe our prices are very low compared to other countries.  And I have been told Aussie beer is weaker than in the UK.  Not a subject I know anything about, so this is just hearsay.  Also I've been told 20 cigarettes are $12 for 20 and I think the UK price is about £7, so aussie prices are a bit more expensive.  As I don't smoke or drink, I don't care how much they charge. 

I forgot to take my water bottle today.  Although cafe prices seem similar to London prices, there is a very good campaign here to reduce waste by recycling water bottles.  There are free water fountains in the circulating areas on campus, so you can refill your bottle for free.  I've not seen this in the UK, and I think it is a wonderful idea.  Healthy and free.  Especially given the summer temperatures seem to average 40 degrees - free water to keep you rehydrated.

Tomorrow's event starts at 0900 with "the big breakfast".  So I'll go to that and then see about going to a library induction. 

I've also been running around the internet to find a swimming club.  It's difficult to work out the precise locations but I think the nearest is Perth City SC.  It is a bit north of the railway station, and they swim on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and Saturday morning.  I would not fancy walking back to the bus station in the dark but I will investigate.  I might take a trip there on Saturday to find out what it is like.  Looks very competitive from the website, which I am not.  But I will keep an open mind.

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