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When travelling in a foreign country, there are things a person wishes they experience – and things they hope they never have to relive again. Funnily enough, all it took was one bite of an otak-otak and some street market food to make our first field school trip one that we will never forget.

Since arriving Batam, we have wanted to visit one of the hospitals to get a sense of the state of health services. Finally, on the 4th of July, after almost a week in Indonesia, our chance finally came.

Chris: My diagnosis was chronic stomach cramps due to … you guessed it, seafood. The culprit: a prawn. My only recollection of eating a prawn was in some soup I had for dinner one night at the local markets. Once shelled and deveined it mustn’t have been any bigger than half the size of my little finger. Prawn 1 Chris 0. I was given some medicine and we were on our way.

Veiongo: My allergic reaction was triggered by a traditional Indonesian seafood dish known as otak-otak. My lip began swelling and four hours later I was a red marshmallow. It took two hours to get back to our hotel from the small island where the allergic reaction had been triggered where I contacted clinicians back in Australia to seek advice. An hour later, Chris and I were sitting on hospital beds in one of Batam’s private hospitals. I was given medication, an injection and then paid a total of $22 AUD for hospital treatment (What a bargain!!!).

Chris: The following three days were mostly a blur. What I do remember however is being too scared to leave the vicinity of a clean and reliable toilet, I slept for most of the day and I was in a much worse condition. This was due to what Indonesians call mencret. Essentially, I had taken too much of the prescribed medication and I ended up dehydrated. Prawn 2 Chris 0. Back to the hospital! I was there for one hour in total with new medicine and another hospital experience.

A few things we noticed about the hospital: It was clean, the staff were friendly and could speak some English. As we wanted to be more cultured, we both tried our best to make use of our limited Indonesian vocabulary. Although it would have been easier if we spoken English, according to Mul (one of the leaders of the trip and native Indonesian speaker), the nurses and doctor were very happy to see the bules practising their Indonesian. This was a confidence builder and reinforced the benefits and importance of learning a language. Anyone who has tried to learn a second language understands that although it is challenging, time consuming and at times embarrassing, it is incredibly rewarding.

We are now (almost) back to full health. But there are a few things future travellers should learn from the Work and Organisational studies (WOS) students:

- Take an allergy test before leaving Sydney
- Just because the locals and other travellers can eat roadside delights doesn’t mean you can
- Don’t be that guy or girl that ate seafood and then got sick…. Twice
- Trying to speak the host country’s language puts you one step ahead of the person who only speaks English
- Even though it was one scary experience, at least we got to try out medical treatment in Indonesia

We would like to thank Mul and Gulnaz for accompanying us to the hospital, the awesome Harris Hotel staff, the hospital staff and our supportive field school team for being there when we needed them. A special shout out too to Dr Jacob Opio, Jacky Ayo-Opio and Lavinia in Australia for being on call 24/7. We really appreciate it!

Batam, you have been an incredible experience. It will definitely be a trip we will never forget!

Written by: Christopher Donovan and Veiongo Lamipeti

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Christopher Donovan- Hospital visit no.1

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Veiongo Lamipeti- waiting for an injection.

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Where can media and communications studies take you? Eleven of our intrepid students have embarked on international journalism internships after securing prestigious fellowships. Kira Spucys-Tahar is the first Sydney Uni student to be sent to The Indian Express in New Delhi, and we’ve asked her about her experience so far:

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I can distinctly remember the first 20 minutes or so of my very first official day of University. I can't remember the date, but the month was March, and the Year 2001. Phowa. Yep - absolutely ages ago. ipods didn't exist and Noika phones were still way cool.

As is the case now, back then I was quite partial to parental moral support (I was only 17. I'm 20 Holy-Cow 9 now, but feel nearly exactly as I did when I was 17, which may not be a good thing), so I organised for my mum (who is a legend) to walk up from Central Station with me and to drop me off outside the little Gate-House thing next to Parramatta Road. You know the one. We always try and cross the road there against the red-light and risk getting squashed by west-bound cars turning left off Broadway. It's currently the home of the Compass Outreach Programme. Anyway...

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When someone asks you what you love about going to Sydney Uni, it’s pretty easy to come up with an answer. I mean, there’s the picturesque campus, the vibrant student life, the lecturers (a.k.a. some of the best academics in their field), and so the list goes on.

But I’d like you to forget all that.

From now on, there’s only one answer you need to give when someone asks you what’s so great about going to Sydney Uni.

On sale tomorrow, November 1st, is the first ever Sydney edition of Monopoly, and the only University to feature on the board is – you guessed it – the University of Sydney.

Forget the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge – they didn’t make the cut. But you could be purchasing Sydney University at a bargain price and be setting up your little houses all over campus before you know it.

Sydney Harbour and Darling Harbour hold the prime spots on the board, while other locations to feature include Manly Beach, Centennial Park, Kings Cross, and Taronga Zoo.

You can score a $100 prize for the best Mardigras float from the community chest, or cop a $15 fine from the chance cards for travelling in the T3 lane of the Spit Bridge.

Considering that there were only 22 locations up for grabs and they were all nominated and voted for by the public, a position on the board is nothing to sneeze at. Put it this way, you know you go to a pretty neat University if it scored a place on the Monopoly board.

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The current business environment is more uncertain than ever, and the University of Sydney Business School is definitely no stranger to change. And as a student of theirs for the last two years, I can certainly testify to the exponential trend of improvement and innovation taking place there, and the new Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is part of that change.

The MBA is very exciting news for graduates who are seeking to further their professional careers and become great business leaders in their fields.

But with all the MBA programs already out there, why create another one, and what makes this MBA so special? I believe the answer is very simple – adaptation. There’s no doubt the global business environment is becoming increasingly more complex, and as a result, what is required from business leaders has changed. The University of Sydney’s new MBA degree has been developed to adapt to these circumstances and even has an exclusive partnership with Korn/Ferry International, one of the world’s leading executive talent firms.

It is definitely a great time to be studying business, and I am very proud to be a student at a Business School that is so dedicated to innovation.

For more information, visit the MBA website.

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You may have noticed that the Uni website has taken on a slight shade of blue in recent days. This, dear students, is in response to the ‘What Matters’ community outreach project, which aims to gauge public opinion on some of the work done by Sydney staff, students and alumni.

It's an opportunity to realise that we're part of a university that has a significant impact on how our society works, and also allows us to have our say on what we think is important.

You can vote on issues that matter to you. Cancer research? Improving children’s literacy? The environment? Expanding the arts? The introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes? Each of these issues is vastly important and the university wants to know what YOU think is important.

Personally? I voted for increased funding for cancer research. Yes, no doubt, reducing our environmental footprint and ensuring our children grow up more than competent is of great importance, but for me (maybe because I am a health sciences student) we are still mountains away from developing an effective and consistent treatment for cancer. The arts will always strive wherever there is a right brain, and packaging for cigarettes won’t cure an addiction (although surely will reduce the number of new smokers) but we cannot dismiss the fact that all of these matters must be addressed.

It’s up to us to help them decide.

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In the terrifying cold that is (apparently) Sydney winters, most people seem to forget that just around the corner waits a season even more terrible. Lulled into a false sense of security by icy blasts from the Antarctic, the assumption is that summer will somehow bring unending happiness to all who bask in its warm rays. Nothing, comrades, could be further from the truth.

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Hop to uni

12 Sep

Last week I did something I haven’t done since November last year….I went back to the Cumberland Campus at Lidcombe for uni. After 20 weeks of prac work in the hospitals and 9 weeks of glorious holiday, it was finally time to start the last 7 weeks of my undergraduate degree in Physiotherapy.

I can’t really complain. I only have 4 days of uni , not the usual 5, plus I am learning how to manipulate backs and best of all I get to visit the famous Cumberland lolly shop (where students get to stock up on their favourite lollies to help get them through long lectures!)

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For those of you who are regular readers, you might remember a blog entitled 'Am I an idiot?’ I now have a definitive answer: YES!!!

Last Friday morning I was amongst 1784 people who undertook the challenge of walking 100km for charity. Sadly, 20% of them did not complete the challenge for various reasons. It was without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It is so difficult to describe the physical and mental pain that I was experiencing. Give me 6 exams in 5 days any time!!

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The single scene

15 Aug

We all know it can be a tough life out there if you’re single. There’s no one to fend off unruly and unwanted men at a bar, you have no back up plan for Saturday night if all your friends are doing their own thing and then there’s worried and sympathetic whispers by the parents. These are problems without the complications of trying to find a partner.

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I know you're out there. Yes, that's right, YOU. You all know who you are. I am talking to all of you who are reading our blog, but aren't leaving any comments. As much as I love to talk about my exhilarating life (sigh)....I am sure that there is something that you guys really want to know but haven't asked. We are your 'little insiders' to uni life so use us! If I only knew that there was something like this when I was doing my HSC I would have been waaaayyyy more stoked about living at college.....

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young single woman in Sydney must be in want of a beau...or at least, this is what her friends and relatives think...

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Remember the childhood song about the doggy in the window? "Oh where, oh where could he be?" Well I'm sorry to put a dampener on everyone's spirits but these days that cute puppy is no longer in that shop window, or even in the owner's care. No. I'll tell you where you can more likely find him...

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The optimistic architect, on any other day, would see every glass half empty as half full. Not today. Today Australia mourns the loss of one of its most prolific architects, Harry Seidler, who died yesterday morning here in Sydney aged 82, following a stroke last year. An architect loved by architects the world over, Seidler leaves an indelible legacy. He was misunderstood (hated?) by much of mainstream Australia, and perhaps herein lays the true sadness of his passing…

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Welcome, welcome, welcome to our new bloggers! You all sound so cute and fresh-faced! I hope this feeling lasts at least for a few weeks....

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It's the question on everybody's lips...no, no, not 'Are men necessary?'

What we really want to know is, what happened to good old-fashioned manners? You know, like saying 'excuse me' when you're in somebody's way. Or thanking someone for a job well done. Or smiling when somebody is talking to you.

Is chivalry dead?

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Usually my gut instincts are right.

I had a feeling Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz were having an affair while filming Vanilla Sky, I really did.

I have picked the last 7 Melbourne Cup winners, despite knowing nothing about horseracing.

Call it sixth sense, call it luck...generally if I go with my gut reaction, I'll fare pretty well.

And so it is with mixed feelings of satisfaction and desperation that I've discovered yet another of my instincts has been right on the money.

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Fat-filled aortas, blackened lungs and rotten yellow teeth - it seems they’re back in vogue with the National Tobacco Campaign’s latest advertising onslaught.

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Mmmm...for all those who were sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting for me to write something of note (or even something merely helpful), I'm sorry. After a long summer, I'm exhausted. I need a holiday to recover from my holiday.

Which is why I've become something of a Bree Van De Kamp (for all you people who have lives, this is a character from Desperate Housewives) and taken to cooking like Michelle Leslie took to wearing the burquah.

So here is my recipe for Brilliant Blueberry Bran Muffins. They are healthy and yummy, but most importantly, they will fit inside your Humphrey B. Bear lunchbox and you can take them to uni!!!

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No means no, JB

13 Feb

I must be the only person in Sydney who hates James Blunt.

Everywhere I go, I can't escape him! I hear his moaning songs, I see his face on billboards, I occasionally catch grabs of converstion that invariably begin with, "Oh my God, it's like he's singing about my life."

I am taking a stand.

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Its nearly here Team Cool, O Week and the start of Uni! How excited are you?!?!?! I thought that I would tell you how I got on in past O Weeks, please excuse embellishment or discrepancies in the actual story as I cant remember all of it, but what I do I will recount for you now.

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Happy Australia Day, everyone. I trust that you all celebrated the day in true Aussie style: whether you were cooking up a storm on the barbie, watching the cricket and/or tennis, listening to Magic Dirt at Big Day Out or heading down to the beach. Me - I went down to Royal Randwick to enjoy the races. Champagne was flowing, the frocks on the field were resplendent and everybody was "G'daying" left, right and centre. Elsewhere, Ian Frazer was being named Australian of the Year...

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Three years can seem like a lifetime, especially when you consider that Renee Zellweger (providing she keeps up her current trend) could be engaged, married and divorced twelve times in that space of time! But, at the risk of sounding like my high school teachers, your three years at uni will go by so quickly you'll want to stay on and do another degree (even if only to go to catch up with your mates!)

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Okay, this has little if any relevance to Uni, but I’m going to indulge myself and write the top ten cars to drive to Uni to really make a statement! (Well, I would really be impressed, and within some sort of reason, so a $35K limit)

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It's official: geek is the new chic. Faster than you could say, 'check-mate,' or 'knit one, purl one,' knowing all things trivial became the hottest trend. So just in case you're lost for words in your first tutorial, here are ten surefire conversation starters. Put on your cardis, shine those glasses and wow them with these pearlers.
(Disclosure: dates not guaranteed.)

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It’s raining, it’s pouring, your essays due this morning…. Well, at least with these little tips then at least you will have an ace up your sleeve for those wet, cold days at Uni!

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