An appropriate title to accompany the feelings of dread that come with the end of a term, right? While I have my fair share of assessments due in the next two weeks, the only thing I’m truly dreading is having to leave Melbourne. The end of my trimester at Collarts has snuck up on me even faster than Week 10 at Drexel and I’m not sure I’m prepared to adjust back to my life on the other side of the world so soon. I’m trying not to think about that right now, as I still have two weeks left in this lovely country. Also, I have plenty of assignments I should be thinking about (and doing) instead.
It’s not quite finals week here yet, but the end-of-term effects have surely kicked in: Collarts students and teachers are stressed, sleep-deprived, and over-caffeinated. I personally have been dividing my time between a song mix for my recording class, mixing surround sound for two films, and reports for my acoustics and finance classes. That being said, I’ve spent a lot of the past week in the computer labs at Collarts and haven’t been able to check out more of Melbourne. There are still a few places here I want to visit before I leave, like: The Melbourne Zoo, the Immigration Museum, the famous Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar, and Evie’s Disco Diner- a vegan and LGBT+ friendly restaurant/nightclub that’s very close to Collarts!
While I try to cram in those visits and more before I return home, I’ll also need to prepare myself for the adjustment back to life in America. Though U.S. politics are regularly covered by Australian news outlets, I certainly have not been exposed to as much American political media as usual. Instead, I’ve been bombarded with ads for the Victoria state election which was held this past Saturday. One major difference in the Australian voting system is that voting is compulsory, meaning that if you don’t submit your vote on election day, you may be fined. This incentivizes citizens to vote, and hopefully to familiarize themselves with the candidates. Additionally, this law means that my peers at Collarts had to vote this weekend, so I chatted with a few of them about the election.
The two main parties involved in the election were Coalition and Labor. In Australia, two primary political parties are labor, which is more similar to the American democratic party, and liberal which is similar to the Republican party. This sometimes is confusing as ‘liberal’ is commonly used when referring to American democrats. The Coalition party in Victoria is closely affiliated with the larger Liberal party. Of my Aussie friends who were planning to vote, all were supporting the Labor party. Apparently, Coalition politicians are promising to reduce government funding to a range of programs, including the Safe Schools program which aims to prevent gender and sexuality-based discrimination in schools. Both state and federal governments in Australia are still divided on many social issues, including LGBTQ+ issues. This divide, while unfortunate, is not unfamiliar considering our own government in the US. Just like in the US, major political responsibility, as far as voting goes, lies in the hands of young people, and it was intriguing to hear about my friends’ perspectives.