As the Spring 2019 SFS students begin to settle into their new homes around the world, we asked them to share their impressions of the experience so far. Annie Carlile had this to say about SFS Australia:
Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
I’ve previously done a little bit of research in the Galapagos Islands, and grew to love tropical environments there. Australia is similar in that it has unique environments and endemic species, that make it biologically valuable. Along with being biologically interesting, SFS makes conscious choices to be culturally aware and sensitive of the surrounding community. For me, this program was a way to learn about something I care about, while getting to make a real difference.
What are your first impressions of the country?
It. Never. Stops. Raining. Rain is really not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Australia, but here in the Tablelands, it’s lusher and greener than anywhere I’ve ever seen. I knew I was coming to the rainforest, but I don’t think I fully understood just how much it would be raining. But it keeps the bugs away, so I can’t really complain.
What are your first impressions of the field station?
It’s definitely more spread out than I imagined. But I think it’s a great combination of indoor and outdoor living. It’s really well integrated into the forest, and it seems like there’s never an adventure (or leech) too far away.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester, both academically and culturally?
The biggest challenge to overcome is the mindset that I’m just at a really cool summer camp. I feel like a kid in a candy store, I’m trying really hard to reign myself in! So far, we’ve been doing so many interesting and new things, all while being in an entirely new country. It’s hard to balance the craving to explore unknown terrain with doing classroom lecture and homework.
What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
All of the field excursions! I didn’t have a firm concept of how often we get to go out and learn hands-on. Which I think is really important, because I think generally scientists don’t communicate well with the general public. So here at SFS we get to acquire those skills and see our impact in real time.
Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Exhausted, Moist (!), Curious