G’day! This summer I had the opportunity of a lifetime: two months of studying conservation in the rainforests of Australia and performing research on the Great Barrier Reef. I was very apprehensive of my decision at first, as I had never met any of the 25 other students I would be spending the next 2 months with. In addition to this, I would be traveling to a remote research center in the rainforest where I would be sleeping in a cabin, have little to no Wifi access, and partaking in a rigorous Monday-Saturday schedule where the days began early and finished late. I was so nervous. However the two months I spent in Australia ended up being, without a doubt, the best two months of my life.
It is difficult to explain everything that I experienced, but I will do my best to make it short and sweet. The typical Monday – Saturday schedule consisted of a couple days full of lecture and the remaining days were typically field excursions. The field excursions could either last just a day or up to two weeks depending on where we were going and what we were doing. Some of the excursions that were just a day long included visiting regenerative agriculture farms, private aboriginal lands, hiking to waterfalls, volunteering for nearby communities, and so much more. Several of the longer field excursions included traveling to New Zealand, staying at a research station on the Great Barrier Reef, and exploring the Daintree Rainforest. Over the weeks, the passion I had for protecting the environment only grew, which is something that I did not think was possible. It was so amazing to be surrounded by other students who were fueled by similar passions and cared about the betterment of the world, not just themselves.
Overall, this experience has shaped me into a better person. I have gained further insight on the world of conservation, culture, ecology, and myself. I am able to walk away from this experience with lifelong friendships, a new perspective, and a fueled ambition ready to take on the world! If you ever have the opportunity to go abroad, take a leap of faith and go for it! P.S. Don’t forget to recycle 😉