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Angermann, Barbara; Hoffland, Shelly (ed.) / Wisconsin engineer
Volume 93, No. 1 (October 1988)

Denissen, Nick
College life the aussie way,   pp. 21-23

Page 23

XXXX, Resches, Tooheys, VB, Coopers
Ale, or Red Back. (Not Fosters. Blah!)
The class lectures, which are
either an hour or an hour and a half long,
are not very relaxed. On the first day of
Quantum Physics, the professor said she
had a list of all the students who had
received Distinctions (very high grades)
in the prerequisite course, and said she
was going to ensure that they did not
repeat that feat. If she heard someone
talking during class, she would make
them march to the front of the lecture
hall (filled with about 100 students) to
solve a problem on the overhead. It was
quite an effective stunt; on the average,
there was only one "talker" per week. In
addition, she thought that tutorials
(discussions) were a waste of time and
substituted them with additional
After the first few weeks, the
students start thinking about grades.
Grading is very different in Australia.
The scale is High Distinction, Distinction,
Credit, Pass, Pass-Conceded, and Fail.
There is no realistic way to map them
into the A-F system. People try to get
Credits and Passes there like A's and B's
here. High Distinctions are reserved for
Nobel Prize winners, and Distinctions for
their assistants. The grades are usually
determined by one mid-term or a major
paper (about 30%) and the final exam
(about 70%).
But all is not that grim! In the
afternoon students either work or study a
bit, and then they're off to have fun. This
usually consists of windsurfing or
sailboarding if the wind is up, or surfing
when the swell is up. After about four
days of this, everyone is usually ready
for the weekend. Like in Madison, the
weekend starts on Thursday and is
usually spent partying and having fun.
There are always a lot of party
boats (a party boat is something that is
big, floats and can carry plenty of grog).
They are mostly sponsored by student
groups or societies and are open to every-
one. Leaving the Opera House steps
around 21:00, the boats cruise the harbor
and return around 1:00 or 2:00. There is
always plenty of grog, good music, and
fun people. Not a bad deal for A$5.
Live music is another major way
of enjoying the weekends in Sydney.
Bands such as Crowded House, The
Church, Big Pig, Mental As Anything, etc.
... play frequently. The gigs are usually at
pubs; the atmosphere is great, the crowd
is not too large, and most importantly
there is always lots of cheap grog!
The weekend mornings usually
start off with breakfast in Double Bay,
skin cancer at the beach, and fun in the
waves... The fun never ends!
If you haven't sussed it out yet,
Australia is fun! There is something for
everyone. Why not go and study there a
semester. I don't know what tuition for
foreigners is, but when you register, just
tell them you're Aussie and you will only
pay about US$350/semester (they hardly
ever check). III
Wisconsin Engineer, October 1988
The cool shots of "the local" and
some recreational windsurfing
(obviously the rough life Nick
mentions) were captured by Karin

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