As I walked into my room at the Manta Lodge hostel on the first day of program with 3 new people who I had known for about 3 hours, it finally hit me how out of my comfort zone I was, and would continue to be, on this trip.
Over the first couple of days we did orientation on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). We learnt some background information about the people we would be spending every minute with for the next 3 months.
As our journey began, we were lucky enough to have new experiences as a group that brought us together.
In the mornings, many of us who were especially jet-lagged would get up and go for a sunrise run on the beach, just outside of the hostel.
We would take breaks from orientation on the beach and all go swimming in the ocean. It was here we had an amazing experience - two dolphins swam around 5 feet away from us!
One night we went on a gorgeous walk to Adder Rock, where we sat together and watched one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.
Orientation activities were an easy way to get people comfortable with each other but I felt that magical experiences like these were what allowed us to bond so quickly.
Our group dynamic and immediate connection was definitely the highlight of orientation.