Introducing Olivia Lee

IMG_3786Hello, my name is Olivia Lee and I am an international student at James Cook University. I study a Bachelor of Marine Science and have been living in Townsville for close to 2 years. Before my adventures in North Queensland, I was living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia among the buildings, smog, and people milling about at every turn. If you mentioned you were studying in Queensland to anyone, its location wouldn’t register in anyone’s head, let alone tiny Townsville. Despite its dismissed existence, Townsville has been the home for many international students such as myself who wanted to study near the Great Barrier Reef. It’s been a bumpy ride since I started my degree and a long time coming, but I can now call this place home and I’ve had many good memories attached to the university and to this patch of land. Please read on to see how I’ve been spending my time in Townsville! 

It’s A Wonderful (Enid Blyton) Life

It was Easter Break and if it wasn’t the opportune time to catch up on sleep I wouldn’t know when else to do that. Despite my imaginary plans to slack from Friday through to Monday, I knew I had already made commitments for various duties.

The break started off with a meeting for the crochet and knitting club (Chicks with Sticks is our metaphorically apt name) that I was heading as the President was away (note, having fun camping). For each semester, we’d prepare to

No points for guessing which element we were working on!

yarn bomb the University for an event we felt the need to advocate. This time round, we planned to use Earth Day as a platform to yarn bomb 4 different places at the University, each place representing an element- fire, earth, water, and air. Our meetings are pretty casual, everyone meets and crochets/knits together and we all have some time to relax.


After that, I went to Alligator Creek 40 minutes south of Townsville with some friends and also the residents at Rotary International House (the on-campus hall I stay at). I have to thank all the water elements for providing me with this beautiful scenery to swim in! Due to the rainy season in Townsville, the creek was filled up and the water was gushing, unlike its sad counterpart in the dry season when the most you can do is get your feet wet. Alligator Creek has no alligators in it fortunately.

Sunday brought with it the time to Barbeque at The Strand. In Townsville, The Strand is the ultimate place to go when you’re not sure where there is to go. People bring their families there, fish and chip shops are aplenty, teenagers laze around on the grass, and we were barbequing leftover satay sticks and chicken wings we made for an event earlier that week. It was a good way to relax with friends on a Sunday. Tip #1: You can’t complete your Australian education without attending/hosting a barbeque.

I would like to have been able to stay longer, but I had to get back to the University soon to feed my fish for an assignment we had! For an aquaculture class I was taking, we had to break into groups and maintain a clownfish tank by feeding and cleaning the tank. Despite it being Easter, our fish still had to be fed. Such is the career of an aquaculture caretaker.

To quote a friend, “creeks and crochet, where are you? In an Enid Blyton story?” Sometimes I forget how comforting and relaxed a quaint, small town can feel. There are things I often feel like changing (unreliable bus schedules…), but there are good points about a small town and when you’re kicking back relaxing by the beach with a satay stick in hand, everything’s good.



3 thoughts on “Introducing Olivia Lee

  1. Astrid Mackegård says:

    It’s so nice to read about your experiences since I’m thinking about studying at JCU as an international student as well! But what made you choose marine science over the similar course marine biology? I’m having a hard time deciding what to choose…

    • oliviaml909 says:

      Hi Astrid! I was deciding about the exact same thing before I got here. With marine science, you do get a wider range of classes besides biology (such as oceanography) and you have the option of more electives. There’s more choice in the degree if you haven’t really decided what your interest is yet. It’s also an accredited course by IMarEST so it also has a slightly higher ranking when compared with marine biology. 🙂 everything else is pretty much the same.

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