I find it only appropriate that I preface this writing with the simple truth that no two days at this place are alike; the task of putting a day in the life at the Center for Rainforest Studies into a nutshell is just not conceivable. Every day that I have spent here so far – and the foreseeable ones to come – are all layered with an assortment of experiences in the field, the classroom, the beautiful towns of Queensland, and this wonderful center I am learning to call home.
A few constants as far as what our daily schedules consist of are what time we wake up and what time our meals are—although those can be amended if the day’s events demand us to do so. Past that, what the adventure of the day entails can only be partly deciphered through the convenient schedule provided to us. Even so, the actual content of the adventure in its unique value cannot truly be discerned until one has been able to experience it. Whether it’s the friendly locals who offer us their time and stories, the vast and seemingly limitless rainforest canopy we often find ourselves sheltered under, or the curious enchantment that the various wildlife offer us, each moment of our days here are filled with endless worth. While one day may be dedicated to exploring the local habitats and receiving insights on the flora and fauna of the area, another day may be for an immersive study of how the people living here are directly involved with their surrounding environment. Compared to the average day that I am used to at a University, a day in the life at the Center for Rainforest Studies in Australia is beyond anything I could have predicted; as I learn more about the intricate ties between this country’s various cultures and the remarkable, biodiverse nature forms it supports, I am finding that the only aspect of this place that I can acclimate to is the assured sense of wonder I feel each day I am here.
While my time here has been filled with all that one might expect a guest in a new country to experience—new languages, accents and customs to learn, new settings and wildlife to meet, and new urban and wild sights to see—I’ve also been graced with an overwhelming feeling of home from my colleagues and staff I am on this journey with. Each of us with our own backgrounds not only in our academic interests, but also our upbringings and perspectives makes us a mosaic of identities. Nonetheless, getting to know these people each day has given me a sense of familiarity that I never would have expected to feel. I am amazed by my peers and our management team by how compassionate they are and how driven they are in their passions. Each day I spend with these people is filled with new inside jokes, riveting (and ridiculous) discussions, and building genuine relationships. Without a doubt, these people have made adapting to this whirlwind of an experience much easier than I anticipated.
In reality, a day in the life at the Center for Rainforest Studies can’t be encompassed within a page of writing; words simply won’t do this place justice. The most guaranteed aspect of a day in the life with the School for Field Studies is the sense of gratefulness I feel to be surrounded by people and an environment that both seem to be continually teaching me new lessons, and it has been changing my life since the first day I came here.