First Impressions of SFS Australia

Posted: September 14, 2015

Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to live in the middle of the rainforest IN Australia for four months while getting class credit and gaining invaluable research experience?! While stuck in another seemingly endless lecture with four hundred other students learning about a natural world that couldn’t seem farther away this time last year, I never could have imagined that I would be here now, living what I’m learning and finally getting a taste of what my life could be like. This trip gives me the opportunity to experience what I could be doing with my degree, once I hit that distant, hard to imagine, “real world”. It enables me to imagine being a researcher living in the field, learning more every minute I walk around whatever exciting place I get to live! This is such an amazing experience to be able to do more than just take classes abroad, and I feel so lucky to be here!

What are your first impressions of the country?
I love to travel and visit new places, but I have never been so blown away by a place in such a short period of time. I have pademelons hopping across my path on my walk home, the chirping of hundreds of birds waking me up every morning, and exciting encounters with brand new animals I’ve never seen or sometimes even heard of before! The people here are so cheerful and welcoming which makes this great place even better. The other students on the trip are all just as excited to be here as I am… not to mention just as obsessed with all this science stuff as I am. I really feel like I’ve landed in paradise.

What are your first impressions of the field station?
We are nestled right in the heart of the rainforest and it is actually as remote and natural as I had hoped; in fact, it is exceeding my expectations! Like I said above, we have daily sightings of all sorts of cool creatures as well as trails running through the property that we can stroll along whenever we have time. On our walks we find tooth-billed bower bird courts, basket ferns nestled in the tops of trees, and so much more. We get to live right in the middle of all of this while still having all the comforts of home, and with Marianne’s amazing cooking… some newfound love handles.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester both academically and culturally?
I have been wanting to come to Australia since before I can remember and I know these four months will fly by, so I just want to take in as much of it as I can and be here in this moment! Academically, I can already tell our courses are going to be difficult and I could see the biggest challenges being juggling all of the fun things we’re doing with school work, staying on top of my course load, and managing my time well.

What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
I am looking forward to our upcoming camping trip! First, we are going to the Mandingalbay Yidinji country and interacting with Aboriginal groups. We will be camping with them which is an incredible and unique privilege. It’s going to be such a fascinating trip and a great way to have what we’re studying in our Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values class come alive! After that, we head to the Daintree Rainforest where we are probably going to see even more amazing animals. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I can spot a tree kangaroo… that would make my trip!

Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Excited, Amazed, and Stoked!