Name: Johanna Smith
School: Purdue University
Program: Rainforest Management Studies, New Zealand & Australia
Seven hundred fifty meters above sea level in the Atherton tablelands, nineteen students from across the country and the world spend their final days together. Watching the sunrise from inside a cloud, spending time with friends, and swimming through a waterfall is just part of an average day. We spent days in the Daintree National Forest, had lectures by the ocean, and changed our views and ways of life without even noticing it. We worked hard to absorb all the information we were given, more than we ever thought possible and we formed our own opinions. Research papers are handed in, final exams studied for, and it’s just a family in the rainforest.
We’ve been through a lot in the last four weeks and our time in Australia has been unforgettable. Spotlighting animals at night, seeing wild crocodiles, walking through endangered ecosystems, and trying to make s’mores out of anything possible are just a few of the memories we will take with us. We spent a night with three Aboriginal elders from the Yidinji tribe, we learned about their culture and history of their people after being welcomed to their land. Every step has been a miracle and I wouldn’t trade this time for anything in the world. No matter how far we are from each other, we leave our footprints here in Australia and they will be taken care of until we return to pick up where we left off.