What did you like most about the SFS experience?
The entire experience was amazing, I cannot believe it is almost over! I loved being able to make awesome friends while living and learning in a beautiful rainforest for three months. I learned so much from this program and have so many perfect memories that I will take home with me.
You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impressions of it now.
Australia is fantastic. The culture is very laid back and everyone I have met has been very friendly and funny. Traveling during mid semester break, to Cairns on free weekends, and local community service events and tree plantings were great opportunities to interact with locals and learn about the culture. Additionally, the Wet Tropics rainforest is incredible and is a perfect place to live. There are so many amazing things to learn from this place. I know that I will be back some day!
What is life at the field station really like? What are the best and the most challenging parts of living at a remote field station?
Life at the field station is really awesome. I love everything about it, including the large and plentiful insects and spiders. The best part of being at the field station is getting to know everyone so well. With no other people around, we have to make our own fun which usually involves part board games, volleyball, intense games of trivia, watching the sunset, or naming wildlife. The most challenging of living at the field station is definitely the perpetual dampness and the terrestrial leeches that come with it, but it is a small price to pay for being in the most beautiful place in the world!
What ended up being your biggest challenge this semester both academically and culturally?
Academically, my biggest challenge was definitely my Directed Research project. I chose to go out of my comfort zone and do a socioeconomics project, which was challenging for me but still an amazing experience! Culturally, the biggest challenge was learning to love “burgers” that are actually just thin slabs of steak. Put that on a buttered roll with beets, pineapple, barbeque sauce, cheese, and caramelized onions and you have delicious Atherton Tablelands barbeque.
What is the best memory you have from the semester? Give some highlights.
It is completely impossible to pick a best memory, as the entire semester has been amazing. Some highlights include seeing the rainforest canopy and Cape Tribulation from a canopy crane, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, hiking “the pyramid” mountain, eating many flavors of Tim Tams, finding Monty the carpet python near our cabins at night, and having an amazing homestay weekend on a beautiful farm in the Tablelands.
Give three adjectives that best describes how you are feeling right now.
Thankful, nostalgic, happy!