By Chantal Boezaard HU
Slightly over eight months, have I lived in Brisbane. 36 weeks. But, after 257 days it is time to leave Australia. What a blast it was, Brisbane has become my second home, and I am a 100% percent sure that I will come back to this beautiful river city.
The first couple of weeks I was mainly trying to find my way in Australia. Celine, my fellow Dutch Worldrep mate, and I had to look for a place to live. We were not very keen to live on the Griffith Campus, because it was quite far from the city. We found an amazing shared student house, with nine other tenants. It was an absolutely incredible experience to live with people all over the world, we had housemates from America, Brazil, Denmark, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. It was really intense to get to know complete strangers on such a short notice, so well. Many of them were only staying in Australia for one semester and would leave at the end of June again. I truly have made friends for life and I am sure that we will meet again soon. We used to throw house parties, go out for dinner together and in exam weeks survive at the State Library together.
In the last eight months I have seen my fair share of Australia. I travelled from Brisbane to Melbourne in the spring break for a week. Where I did a lot of sight seeing, from the Brighton Beach houses, to St. Kilda’s and Albert Park. The highlight of the week was the trip to Philip Island, a small island right before the coast of Melbourne. With an almost untouched nature park, it was one of the most beautiful places I have seen in Australia. Closer to home we have done several trips up North to Noosa and down south to Byron Bay. Both perfect weekend getaway places, to relax and soak up some sunshine. On tour we have seen so much of the Australian native wildlife. From whales at Cooloongatta to sea turtles on North Stradbroke Island. But most memorable are of course meeting the most Australian animal alive: The kangaroo.
Between all the parties and trips, I also had a lot of schoolwork. When I just got here I firstly needed to decide what my thesis topic would be. Before I left home, to go on this adventure, I took the time to do my annual Harry Potter reading marathon, where I read the entire series again, and I think that was when I subconsciously already made my decision to write my thesis about the Harry Potter series. But I was struggling to fit this into the Worldrep program. After going through my own experience, I thought there must be more stories out there like mine. People who so deeply connected with this story, that it has influenced their way of living, and how to deal with important social and human issues. Realizing this, I found my research topic, and with help of my wonderful supervisor Margaret Gibson we found my research: ‘Doing politics through Harry Potter: How a generation finds its voice through fiction’. The first semester was filled with classes on how to start doing research, where to find the right references and how to deal with them. We talked a lot about other honours projects and examined their approaches and methods. During these classes we had a lot of time to interact with fellow researchers and honours students. The second semester was a lot more intense, because it was time to go into the second phase of the research project. It was time to collect data, organize and analyze it and to draw conclusions and start writing. It was an intense period and I had some hard but very productive meeting with my supervisor. In the end we delivered a qualitative piece of academic research, combined with a journalistic blog equipped with two long read articles. Both my exegesis and creative blog will be available at https://doingpoliticsthroughhp.wordpress.com
I ended my time in Australia with a big smile on my face, because this experience has truly changed my life in a positive way. I learned so much about my capabilities as a researcher. I met so many amazing people and went to such beautiful places. Thanks to Worldrep.