At the beginning of the spring semester, we asked student Henry Locke about his first impressions of Australia. Now, as the semester comes to a close, he shared his thoughts with us again.
What did you like most about the SFS experience?
Being fully immersed in the environment, both academically and culturally, has easily been my favorite part of the SFS experience. There’s nothing quite like being able to have an ecology course in the classroom one day and then go out into the field, observing everything we learned on the next. While some might be deterred by the prospect of a python hanging out next to your hammock, I loved every second.
You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impressions of it now.
I have been charmed by the beauty of the natural environment and the people of Australia. Queensland is a beautiful state, especially during the wet season! The people that we have met during various activities such as tree planting or collecting research data have been wonderful and welcoming. During the homestay program I had the opportunity to stay with a couple in Herberton who took in me and three others, sharing stories and laughs with us over incredible meals. I will sorely miss my time here but look forward to when I will be able to return.
What is life at the Center really like? What are the best and the most challenging parts?
Life at the Center can be both extremely fulfilling and also frustrating at times. I really enjoyed the ability to make my own meals and enjoy them sitting on the grass looking out on the rainforest. Spending the semester living in a cabin turned into a wonderful experience as my cabin mates and I became very close. The group setting proved to be my biggest challenge, as it was a rare opportunity when I got alone time.
What ended up being your biggest challenge this semester both academically and culturally?
The Directed Research portion of the semester was definitely the most challenging, both academically and culturally. My directed research pertained to people’s perspectives on climate change and similar topics, which required conducting surveys to gather this information. Academically, this research was difficult and required a lot of thought and consideration on how my partners and I should write our paper. Culturally, it was challenging to engage with people in the region on their opinions regarding climate change, especially if those opinions were sometimes uninformed. I really pushed myself to conduct the survey and collect the answers without judgement or objection.
What is the best memory you have from the semester? Give some highlights.
My favorite memory from the semester, from the year, was when I went scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef with my friends. Other highlights include: hiking to the Gillies Lookout, tree plantings, and sleeping outdoors in the Outback.
Give three adjectives that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Content, reflective, inspired