Internship in Australia (Chapter 2 — Orientation)

Friday 2nd June, We have an orientation session. Curtin’s coordinator, Priya Saracik, told us to meet her at the building 216 on 1 PM.

I did a little search last night to find nearest supermarket where we can buy food and stuffs. I found from the Curtin university’s website that the nearest one would be Waterford Plaza, where there are Coles and Supa IGA groceries as well as a few restaurants. Waterford Plaza is located next to the campus, so in the morning I decided to walk there and explore a bit before going to the orientation on the afternoon.

There, I had breakfast at Subway because it seems to be the cheapest and easiest choice. My friend ordered a footlong subway and shared with me. Bread choices here are different, but the price is relatively the same with Subways back at home. After eating, we walked from there to the campus.

I have recently noticed that everything in Australia seems wide and spread out. What I see as a short distance in Google Map often turns out to be quite a long walk. Hell, there is even a space for grass between the footpath and the street. In Bangkok the footpaths themselves are already narrow enough, and there are still people putting their food stalls on them. I also have visited Hong Kong, so I understand quite well about crowded place. For people living there, this would be a blatant waste of space. But well, Australia have too much space already anyway. I could not say that I did not like it better this way. Crowded places give me an uneasy feeling.

Manning Road, taken from just in front of my house. Notice the space?

Curtin University is a big place. You would have a good exercise done if you walk around the whole campus. (Bentley campus, I mean, there are also campuses in a few different places but I never see those.) They offer free shuttle bus around the area to aid students and staffs, but unfortunately I am not in the route. Anyway, I can take a bus no. 100 there, or walk if I feel like it. It would be quite a good walk, requiring about 15 minutes to reach the university.

I immediately like the space. There is a lot of greens, and everything is not too close together. I could even take it for a park, really, since some students are literally enjoying picnic on the grass. There are some interesting food trucks here and there, and buildings are seldom higher than four or five floors.

In front of the library, students are enjoying the outdoor.

We arrived early, but still later than two other friends whom we met yesterday. So we just sit there in the building 216 until it’s time Priya arrived at greet us. She is very friendly and helpful, not quite what I expect form staffs. She gave us a little presentation about the university, the country, who to call in emergencies and those essential stuffs. She also gave us some snacks to have with tea, pretty nice one. We also briefly met with Professor Islam, who is the originator of this Joint Capstone program.

After that Priya took us for a campus tour, which involved a lot of walking. She walked us around the campus (though not all of it) and introduced us to some important buildings, like the place we are going to work in and the location of our supervisor’s office.

Once that’s done, Priya took us back to her office’s building so we can meet with our supervisors for the first time. Some of them can’t make it today, though. I met with mine, which is Assoc. Prof. Iain Murray from the department of electrical engineering and computing. We talked for a bit, but not much since we are going to meet again in the next Tuesday anyway. Note that the next Monday is a public holiday here, it is called a Western Australia day and is a day to celebrate the anniversary of the first sighting of Western Australia from the merchant ship Barque Parmelia. This later led to an establishment of colony which would then become Perth city, but enough of the history for now.

Priya also arranged for us to get a SmartRider card. It is a card that you can use to pay for public transports operated by TransPerth, which is essentially all the public transport in Perth area. It is compatible with both buses, trains and ferry, since all of them are with TransPerth anyway. Priya also arranged for us to get a stamp from the school of Engineering, so we can get a SmartRider with concession rate of Tertiary students. It is a lot cheaper than adult’s fare, at times about by half.

We are essentially done after that, and went back to Waterford to buy some food for the next days.