Amsterdam – Schiphol

It is the day, and then I mean THE DAY. I have been looking forward to today for almost 5 months now. I’ve been annoying a tremendous amount of people with my enthusiasm, worries and other babble about my trip. I can almost not wrap my head around the fact that I’m sitting next to my gate RIGHT NOW!!! Gate G7 for whoever is interested. A bit frightening is the MH019 on the screen, but I will step into this plane with the full confidence that everything will be ok. And if not, I guess it was my time, but lets keep on thinking positive!

My arrival at Schiphol was very smooth, my mom, dad and brother came with me and we were very lucky with almost no traffic on the way here. Let’s all hope and pray that I don’t have more waiting ahead of me in Kuala Lumpur.. Saying goodbye was kind of hard, but at least I will see my mom in 2 months. I was able to say goodbye to the larger part of my family this weekend and I loved that everyone was there! I don’t see them that often so the times that I do mean that much more! A really comforting thought is that the rest of my family and friends are just a Skype call away, no need (or time) for being homesick!

For now I just hope that these flights will go allright, I also want to wish all my friends, and other 3rd years from ITTI and ITMC and amazing and unbelievable journey. I hope it will be everything you expected, and safe travels!

Now it is time for a toilet break and then BOARDING. I’ll let you know when I have arrived at the hostel in Melbourne (if I can find it)!

To be continued..

keep calm and fly in the sky

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WHAT!!? Did you know this about Australia?

I was doing some research for one of my school reports about Australia in general. I found out some of the most incredible, scary and funny facts about this country. Quite a lot of them are pretty amazing and I just had to share them.

Okay so, the one I was most impressed with, and yes I knew beforehand Australia was massive, is the size of this island. I did my research and I knew that Holland could fit into Australia a few hundreds of times. However after seeing this image I was just flabbergasted, it is just in one word MASSIVE.

The Great Victoria Desert, just one of Australia’s deserts is larger than the United Kingdom. You could lose an entire country in Australia and never even know it!

australia big

  • Australia’s first police force was made up of the most well-behaved convicts.
  • The biggest property in Australia is larger than Belgium.
  • Each week, 70 tourists overstay their visas.
  • Australia was one of the founding members of the United Nations.
  • Kangaroos and emus cannot walk backward, one of the reasons that they’re on the Australian coat of arms.
  • If you visited one new beach in Australia every day, it would take over 27 years to see them all.
  • The Great Barrier Reef is the planet’s largest living structure. It even has its own postbox!
  • There are more than 150 million sheep in Australia and only 20 million people. That’s 8 sheep for every person.
  • Another interesting Australian animal is the Wombat, it marked its territory quite interesting, with cube shaped poop..
  • The Australian Alps receive more snowfall than Switzerland.
  • Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world.

  • In 2005, security guards at Canberra’s Parliament House were banned from calling people ‘mate’. It lasted one day.
  • There are 60 designated wine regions in Australia.
  • Melbourne has been ranked the world’s most liveable city for the past three years.
  • Australia is home to 20% of the world’s poker machines. Half of them are found in New South Wales.
  • The selfie is an Australian invention. It was invented in 2002 by Nathan Hope.
  • Each year, Brisbane hosts the world championships of cockroach racing.
  • There have been instances of wallabies getting high after breaking into opium crops, then running around and making what look like crop circles. If you don’t believe me, read this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8118257.stm
  • An Australian man once tried to sell New Zealand on eBay.
  • Australia is home to 10 of the world’s 15 most poisonous snakes as well as a disproportionate number of venomous spiders.
  • There have been no deaths in Australia from a spider bite since 1979.
  • Currently there is a chlamydia outbreak among koala species, which has led to a 15% drop in koala populations.

There are many, many, many more facts about Australia, I could probably write for a day and not be finished. But these were my favourites, at least for the ones I found online.

Do you know any facts that I missed? I’d love to hear about them.

To end, this interesting video about Australian wildlife that was send to me a while back.

3 weeks before departure

So much to do and so little time. It is only 20 more days before I’ll be leaving, I know they say that time flies, but these last few weeks really flew by. I had so many fun activities: Christmas with the family, London for new years and seeing some more of England in the week after. However, since I’ve been home I started realising that I still have loads to do and I am kind of stressing about it!

The two things I really don’t look forward to are my exam on the 21st and the report I still have to write. I guess the other things are also not really seen as great, getting a credit card, making sure all my insurances are allright, and numerous other ‘fun’ stuff are all on my to-do-list.

The main thing I’m worried about is what I need to bring, it’s just so easy to forget things. I also don’t want to make the mistake of overpacking. It is just really confusing that it’s summer there right now and will be winter by the time I’m leaving. I plan on mainly packing clothing for summer and fall, but how will I ever fit all of it in just one suitcase. I need some serious help..

My family is planning a little get together just before I leave and I’m really looking forward to that. Will be great to see everyone before I go! I have no further news now, but I’ll keep you up-to-date on any of the exciting things!

The video below is from when I went to England last week, it often looks ridiculous and we have a serious obsession with the song ‘Blank Space’. I however had an awesome and fun time so I wanted to share it with you guys, enjoy!

6 weeks to go – got my visa!

“This is to advise that you have been granted a Working Holiday Visa, Subclass 417, on 02 December 2014”.

Couldn’t be happier when I received an email that started with this sentence! Everything is finally starting to work out, good thing though, since I will be leaving in about 6 weeks. In the last few weeks I have been very busy with school, I needed to get 55 study points to be able to actually go on my internship. At the start of the year I was still missing a few, this was looking at it now not even a point I should stress about (since I passed everything!!). However, I was really stressing about it, and now I finally feel like a can breath a  little.

Finding the right visa

After everything in my mind had settled down a bit, I had to start thinking about all kinds of practicalities. First thing that came to mind was my visa: did I need one?; can I go on a tourists visa?; where can I get one?; how much does it cost?

Can you imagine me sitting there with way to many things that I need to find out all at once. So that is why I decided to take everything one step at a time. First thing is what kind of visa do I actually need. Can I go on a tourist visa or do I need a working-holiday one. At first I was overthinking it way to much, fortunately the Australian immigration service has a great website which explains more about all kinds of visas. After some research I found out that I do need a working holiday visa. With this visa I can work at my placement company (which isn’t paid, I do get accommodation though!) and if I would want to I could also get a second job. However, I’m really not doing this since I will probably have my hands full with just the one job at the hostel!

Getting this visa is one of the easiest things ever, it only takes up to 24/45 hours before you have it and is one of the ‘cheaper’ ones. The only thing is that my passport is only valid till march 2015, and getting a new one costs 50 euros. This is just so damn stupid, seriously, I already have one, but just because they only made it valid for 5 years, I have to pay AGAIN. I’m emptying up my piggybank before I even get in Australia..

I have to mention that I’m really happy that I already have the security of a definite placement. There are loads of other students who are still in the process of applying and waiting to hear from people. I already think that I don’t have enough time to arrange everything in between school work, holidays and other activities I have planned. I can’t even imagine how this will be for them.

Hopefully I will receive my new passport next week, and after that the next step is actually applying for a working holiday visa!

To be continued.. 

 

This is the website where I found all the information on visas for Australia: http://www.immi.gov.au/Visas

How it all began

Here the story about how everything started.

Everyone around me knew that at first I really, really wanted to go to Malta for my placement, this was mainly because I thought I couldn’t afford anything further away. However, after waiting almost four weeks for a response from the company I applied to, I decided it was time for the next step. Deciding on my second choice was remarkably easy, I almost immediately started looking at placements in Australia and I noticed the company United Backpackers straight away. After applying I got a response after just one day, can you imagine my excitement!

After that everything went quite fast,they emailed they would love to talk to me,  I had an interview at six in the morning (already loving the time difference). At the end of the talk I got the liberating news that they would love to have me there. Then school send me a placement agreement, this is kind of a contract, that needed to be signed by all parties. With this paper signed I was ready to start looking for a flight and really get everything started.

So now we come to today, I just booked my flight. I will be leaving on the 27th of January at 12 in the afternoon and will be arriving in Melbourne around 9 in the evening on the 28th of January. In between I have a stopover in Kuala Lumpur where I have to wait for about 4 hours. My flight will be with Malaysia airlines, I am a bit freaked out about the fact that they had two planes of which one just disappeared and the other crashed in one year. However, all other airlines were almost 200 to 300 euros more expensive, and I just couldn’t afford that with my student budget. So, I have decided that I just need to get over it and that I will be just fine!

To be continued..