International Welcome Festival and City Amazing Race! (Issue 15, 2012)

Amazing Race at Queen Victoria Market

Amazing Race at the Queen Victoria MarketFrom Tuesday 10 July to Saturday 14 July La Trobe University’s Melbourne campus came alive with a flurry of activities for new international students, and then again on Friday 20 July on the Bendigo campus. The Welcome Festival was the official start for new international students at La Trobe’s Melbourne and regional campuses.

The Welcome Festival is designed to help international students in their transition to La Trobe, the city and surrounding suburbs of Melbourne, as well as the City of Bendigo and the regional campuses for regional international students. It is also a time for new students to ensure all of their enrolment, course details and timetable information is correct.

During the Festival, many activities were on offer to help new students make new friends and create support systems in their new environment.

Some of the activities included:

  • The Essentials – a compulsory session that provided vital information about studying at La Trobe and living in Melbourne. 
  • Wildlife walks – tours exploring La Trobe’s own Wildlife Sanctuary, kangaroos and emus were spotted. 
  • Oz English – the origins of some Aussie slang were examined and information on how to understand Aussie pronunciation was given. 
  • Shopping buses – these ran to all the largest local shopping centres in the area. 
  • Driving simulator – students were able to learn how to drive safely on Australian roads. 
  • Cooking class – students learned how to cook nutritious and inexpensive meals, while sampling delicious treats created by fully qualified chefs. 
  • Tour of Bendigo – students based on the Bendigo campus went on a bus trip to local tourist attractions, Lake Weeroona, Rosalind Park City lookout tower, Sacred Heart Cathedral and much more.  
  •  City Amazing Race – the highlight of the Welcome Festival, students explored Melbourne’s city centre and surroundings in small groups while making news friends and competing to win!

Amazing Race in the cityThe City Amazing Race is based on the popular television show – it sees groups of new students competing to be the first team to finish a set of tasks at different venues around the city. This time around, the tasks included:

  • Finding items, coded in Australian slang, at the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere – the Queen Victoria market. 
  • Learning how to handball (Aussie Rules Football technique) at Enterprize Park next to the iconic Yarra River. 
  • Finding an iconic piece of artwork in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Bourke Street Mall. 
  • Dancing The Wiggles moves in one of Melbourne’s busiest places – Federation Square. 
  • Counting the steps of Parliament House.

Finally students gathered, group by group, at the final destination, where well-deserved warming food and drinks were served. Music played and everyone waited for the winners to be announced. The first three groups to finish the race were presented with great prizes.

Jessica Siljehau, from Sweden, found the Amazing Race very enjoyable and useful.

‘I would definitely recommend people to do the Amazing Race because it includes bonding and getting to know transportation in the city. This is quite good because we’ve all heard about the tram, train and bus and this way you get to learn which is best in different situations, so that’s definitely good,’ says Jessica.