Touchdown in Mawson Lakes. The International Space University has returned to the University of South Australia for the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program. Twelve months after I was a participant at SH-SSP18 I have returned as a Teaching Associate to SH-SSP19. There are many familiar faces on the staff and a wealth of experience which is needed for conducting this unique, intensive and rewarding program.

IMG 3002blogThe Space English Access Course (SEAC) is conducted for one week prior to the main program and is intended to help non-native English speakers grapple with the academic language of the lectures. Some of the highlights included an ethical debate about leaving Elon Musk on Mars, presentations by the TA’s on Australian slang, games of badminton and basketball, some Zumba dances, a small scavenger hunt around Mawson Lakes, close readings of Drops of Jupiter and Hey, Soul Sister by Train and presentations of the core lecture content amongst the SEAC participants. Some of the more adventurous participants are travelling to Uluru and Kangaroo Island for a well deserved break this weekend.

In the meantime, the TA’s and staff have been busy preparing for the arrival of the participants and the commencement of the program. This has included organising welcome bags, setting up rooms and determining logistics for the expert lecturers and instructors who will be travelling from all over the world to contribute to the program.

The staff were treated to a delicious welcome dinner of peking duck at a local favourite restaurant Bailong which was naturally followed up by a walk to Rundle st and a visit to the ice cream shop.

The scene is set and the cast is ready for another fantastic Space Studies Program, some even say it might be the best one yet. What I do know is that the next five weeks will be full of mind expanding knowledge, unforgettable experiences and a unique blend of networking and friendship building that only an ISU program can create. Welcome to another sizzling Adelaide summer of space.

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