Greetings from Brisbane, Australia!

I am currently located in Brisbane, Australia as a doctoral exchange student from the Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki. My exchange period includes four months practice-based research period as an adjunct research fellow in the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. Since I started to plan my exchange period last year, I have not had boring days. Before travelling here, exchange period required lots of paper work, applications and mental preparation to leave home, family and friends for four months. In this blog post I will share my TOP 5 highlights of my exchange period so far:

 

TOP 5

My supervisors and colleagues in Finland, who have been supporting my research during the bad days and during the good days and every day between them.

That support works well even via Skype and Facebook! And my supervisors and colleagues and friends here in Australia. They have welcomed me so warmly and I have felt since the first day that I am at home also here. Okay, I also love the weather here which is always sunny and warm (the coldest days are like the Finnish summer weather).

 

Tuula Jääskeläinen blog sun australia

 

TOP 4

My flat mate here in Australia.

She is an Australian girl and we have had vivid discussions every day about everything. She has been very patient to listen to my weird English with Finnish accent in the beginning and helped me to develop my English. How do I know that my English has improved? I don’t say anymore BrisPEIN like Finnish do. I say BrisBNNN like Aussies do.

 

TOP 3

International office coordinator in the Sibelius Academy in Finland.

Without her I could not have managed to make this exchange period possible. She has been so helpful and advised me in every little detail in a way which made this kind of process possible really smoothly. And I know, that there are even hundreds of exchange students needing her help and still she treated me like my exchange period is the most important thing now. At the same time I want to thank the Griffith University and their arrangements and support and systems, they take so good care of the students here. I feel sometimes to be a VIP client instead of one student among 50 000 other students. Yes, 50 000 students in one university!

 

TOP 2

Meeting so many advanced researchers and activists with huge heart in the Disability, Media, and Human Rights conference April 19-20 at the Curtin University, Perth, Australia

I have attended many good conferences but this was one, in which I enjoyed every presentation with all kinds of EMOTIONS. Of course, there were also very hard issues, but the way they were presented and discussed made them actions which can change the world. I am sure this conference will change the world to be a better place for people with disabilities. (Did I already mention that I also experienced the world’s most beautiful sunset at Cottesloe Beach in Perth?)

Tuula Jääskeläinen blog no hate

 

TOP 1

Hiking in rainforests in Mount Tamborine.

I cannot even describe the relaxing spiritual peaceful healing atmosphere what I experienced among big trees, smell of eucalyptus, birds singing, something hard like stones dropping from trees and sounding like there is somebody moving inside the bushes. I was lucky to see a wild kangaroo (I learned later that it was a wallaby but all kangaroo-types-animals are kangaroos for Finnish people). I think this experience is something that I will remember all my life.

 

Tuula Jääskeläinen blog koala

 

Of course, my dearest thanks go to my husband, kids, family and friends. Everyday connection with them via Whatsapp and Messenger has saved me from suffering from homesickness.

And yes, surfing is cool!

Surf photo: ByronBaySurfSchool