Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Pre-departure Training: Canberra

On August 27 I went to Canberra for "pre-departure training". This is where all the Youth Ambassadors for Intake 12 get together and bond and sing songs around the campfire.

It is actually an opportunity for everyone to gain a greater understanding of their role as a YA in a developing country. The 7-day program involved sessions on cultural issues, medical issues and insurance. We were able to meet Returned YAs and ask them about their experiences, problems they faced and all the nitty gritty that we need to know.

We attended a Cocktail Party at Old Parliament House where we were able to meet some of the AusAID staff. The Party was also attended by some of the Ambassadors and High Commissioners of the countries that YAs are going to live in. Unfortunately the Chinese Ambassador was unable to attend, and because the Federal Election was called the previous Sunday, no politicians made it either. However, we didn't waste our visit to Old Parliament House. We took the opportunity to devour some tasty hors d'oeuvres and down some of the bubbly stuff. It was also a chance to have a photo with some of Australia's Prime Ministers including Little Johnny and Gough.

The rest of the week involved a bit of cricket on the tennis court, much beer drinking and much complaining about the food, the cold and the accommodation (this kept us very busy). Each country group performed a skit - most of which were very funny and very inappropriate! On the final night the Fiji group organised a Trivia night and once again the humour was largely inappropriate!

There are 13 YAs arriving in Beijing with me on September 17. Two of them will move on to Mongolia after a few days site-seeing in Beijing. Of the 11 YAs staying in China, 8 will be living in Beijing including me!

Today I went to the Travel Doctor to complete my final vaccinations. I had 12 jabs in total over 3 visits! I also received my Chinese working visa so I feel like I'm ready to go. I just need to pack my bags and get outta here!

Catchyas next time.

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