Now this is the orientation I was waiting for!
After a village orientation that left us AIFS students still with many questions, we spent nine hours on Murdoch University’s campus in various information sessions that answered almost all of our thoughts. We talked to other Americans who came together through their school, and they seemed to be just as lost as we were at first, so that was a bit comforting.
Orientation consisted of five sessions of valuable information. All international students gathered for registration in a huge lecture hall on campus, where we were greeted by the Vice Chancellor. The most interesting thing I learned from her is that Murdoch is built upon traditional teaching land of the Nyungar people.
After this, we were split into more intimate groups of less than 20 students, designed so that we could meet knew people. The first session I went to consisted of speaking to people in the group and discussing our expectations and understandings of Australian culture so far. The second session discussed academic expectations and university culture, and the third session informed us about life around Perth. The free lunch was between the first and second session, which consisted of sausages (hotdogs) and a meet-up with my friends.
The final session found us back in the lecture hall for some more safety information, but I was a bit too anxious to sign up for our international student trip to King’s Park and Cottlesloe Beach to pay much attention. There were limited spots on the trip, so I definitely wanted to get out the door as soon as possible to get a good spot in line.
Luckily, all my friends and I were able to register for the trip. During the sign-up period we finally met our on-campus AIFS coordinator, who I spoke with briefly the day prior. Her name is Brodie and she is one of the sweetest and most informational people ever. She answered all our questions, extinguished many of our worries and made us feel more confident about our upcoming trips and student life. We wished we had met her our first night!
We left campus that day with two Murdoch bags (one thanks to orientation and one thanks to Brodie), a lanyard and a Murdoch bottle. I was so excited that we finally had some Murdoch gear, considering I was under the impression I would not find much. More importantly, we left having talked to more people from all over the world, having gained so much useful information and feeling more assured as international exchange students. This allowed us to relax while we headed back to the store for more groceries and day-to-day items, and enjoy each other’s company over some games of cards.