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hello! i’m juli!

welcome to design to explore! a blog dedicated to design, travel, and storytelling!

lots o exploring

lots o exploring

it hasn't even been a full week in sydney, but theres been so much exploring and sight seeing that i needed to share... 2.20 exploration nation

My first full day in Sydney I woke up and decided to go check out the University of New South Wales campus and get situated. Since I was already enrolled in all my classes, all I really needed to do was a student ID card (don’t really know what I need the ID for, hopefully not a lot considering the picture is horrific).

Once I got my ID, I walked around campus through the activities fair where all the student orgs and clubs were out trying to get new members. We knew we wanted to join a surfing type club, so we were on a mission. Eventually we found the wind surfing and sailing club and immediately joined on the spot. The club provides surfboards and all type of sailing and water activity equipment for day trips to the beach. They also are having a welcome BBQ this weekend, and next weekend they are having a Surf Weekend at Culberra Beach. The retreat is three days long, and they rent two houses right on the beach so that you can spend your days surfing and nights hanging out. Definitely going to sign up for this one!

Later that night, my roomies Eva, Stef, Monica, Jess and I headed into downtown aka the Central Business District of Sydney for dinner, drinks, and the views. We navigated the train and arrived at the Sydney Harbor for golden hour (the prime time for lighting for photographers). It was beautiful and amazing and completely incredible, sometimes I feel like a one of those annoying tourists from Times Square who is walking slow and taking pictures of literally everything (sorry Aunt Catherine) but how can I not?

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2.21 art campus

Similar to Michigan’s campus, UNSW’s art school isn’t on the main campus (of course), so I decided to venture out to find where I will be spending most of my time for the next couple of weeks in the studio. Monica joined me for the adventure and we hoped on a bus and headed towards Paddington. The art school is incredibly tiny and located in a charming little part of town where the houses are quaint and cute and surrounded by local coffee shops and stores. There was so much wall art I was stopping every couple of blocks to take pictures of the graffiti.

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Once we returned from the art campus area, I relaxed and hung out before our group decided to find a local bar around town. We ended up going to Spring Street Social, its an underground speakeasy and we went and got their happy hour drink special, a $10 cocktail. This is a deal considering they are normally $20, so we all took advantage of it. I sat around with my roommates Monica, Eva, Jess, and Stef and we drank and talked about our lives n stufffff. Then we got on the topic of dessert and decided to ditch the bar for Max Brenner’s Chocolate Shop that’s located in our mall. A pretty chill day, but lots of bonding with my new roommies.

2.22  a (bondi) beach day

Since I haven’t gotten a real beach day since I’ve gotten to Australia, I got my roommates Eva, Jess and Monica to come with me down to Bondi Beach. It was amazingly beautiful and we had so much fun just chilling at the beach. At some point our friends Sara, Jami, Kennedy, Ashley and Grant joined us as well, and we all went for a swim. Everyone thinks the water is cold, but it’s easily the same temperature as like medium temp LBI water, so it honestly wasn’t terrible. The waves were big and beautiful and everyone was trying to body surf, but I was not about getting sand literally everywhere…

After the beach we all made plans to meet up and go out that night before going our separate ways. I took two friends, Grant and Sara, and showed them how to use the buses to get home so they wouldn’t have to walk home, it was like sending my children to school as I dropped them off at their respective bus stops and waited for them to get on the bus. And of course I needed texts confirming they got off the bus and home okay, so funny, how am I turning into the mom of the group...?

side note: one of the hardest things to adjust to is walking and doing everything literally on the left side. the elevators, walking, the traffic, everything is to the left and i keep messing it up and blocking the way...

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That night everyone from the beach came over to our apartment to pregame for going out. We hung out for a bit before the group split up, there was the half that wanted to go to the nightclub and another half that just wanted to get a beer at a chill bar. I went with the chill bar people because I was not into that club scene all the time, and we just went back to Spring Street Social (the underground bar from the night before) and we spent the night there talking about all the traveling we want to do while we are here….

2.23 back 2 campus

Today was official orientation for the study abroad, it was your average orientation, again telling us how we need to take our studies seriously, our professors wont be lenient, an blah blah blah, the same thing we’ve been hearing literally since forever. Afterwards we hit up a free BBQ lunch in the quad before heading back to my apartment.

Today was a pretty chill day, but I spent most of it on campus just hanging out. I got home around 4, took a solid power nap, before everyone in the apartment started getting ready to go out, because apparently Thursday nights are lit. We were all heading to the Ivy, so we got all dolled up and went to da club. The Ivy was insane, it was like being in 5 different bars all at once. We started in a chill dinner type area, then we went upstairs to the bar, then we went downstairs again to a sick pool bar area (at this point I got pulled to the side and thoroughly questioned if I was legal – 18 – so that was very strange, I guess I look 12) then we went even more downstairs to a dance club area.

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Monica and I saw some of the other TEAN/American kids in our program and we hung out with them, then we went off and explored and made some Australian friends who took us under their wing and showed us around the bar. They were telling us how this bar is super upscale with a cover charge of $40 (clear to see why considering how fancy it was), so there was plenty of older gentlemen in suits and then all of us younger kids infiltrating for the night. I ended up navigating the whole group home on the train since it was the easiest option for the large group, again feeling like the mom... how....

2.24 time to shred

Today was the day we were all looking forward to, our surfing day! Monica and I headed to the beach a little bit before our lesson to check out the other kids in our group and how they were surfing. We were hoping to get a little sun and get a little warm before it was our turn for the lesson but no such luck since the clouds were all over (meanwhile we were just starting to think clouds were illegal here since the weather has been beautiful).

When it was our turn we got in our wetsuits and split up into group, since I had the experience surfing before I went with the more advanced group and this was definitely the move, the instructors gave us a very abbreviated instruction and then took us right into the water and we skipped all the whitewash surfing as they call it (where you catch the wave after it breaks). I got up on my first try, which was absolutely shocking to me, but I was pumped and just wanted to keep going. It was a little frustrating because they wouldn’t let us try and catch our own wave, they wanted to push us out, so our group had to literally wait in line in the water to get a wave. In the end, my last ride was the best ride of the day and I was able to end on a high note.

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After surfing our group grabbed lunch together and ate at the beach. I was feeling absolutely toasted from the sun, so Monica and I decided to head back to the apartment, where I immediately took a nap. The rest of the night everyone was exhausted from surfing and going out, so we decided to buy some ice cream and cookie dough and call it a night.

So far im loving Australia and I’m actually pretty excited for classes to start so I actually have something productive to work on….

getting into the swing of things

getting into the swing of things

pics or it didn't happen

pics or it didn't happen