Posted: September 30, 2011
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First Impressions of SFS Rainforest Studies, Australia



Name: Adam Miller
School: Colorado State University
Major: Wildlife Management

Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
I chose SFS because of its intensive look and work in the rainforest. All my life I have dreamt of becoming an avian tropical biologist. One day I would like to be a professor at a University and teach courses in tropical ecology. I felt that because of The School for Field Studies’ good reputation and focus on research it would be a great program to help me reach my goal. Additionally, I wanted to learn more skills in field ecology and felt that I could best achieve this by not attending a normal university. SFS in all aspects offered a great opportunity for my future dreams.

What were your first impressions of Australia?
Upon first arriving in Australia I felt it was somewhat similar to America. But just after one week I can already see the great difference between Australia and the United States. Through my classes I have seen they have a great deal that is different in their history. In general, Australians are much more laid back and friendly. They have welcomed myself and the other students into their communities with open arms.

However what I noticed almost immediately upon arriving in Australia was the sheer beauty and peacefulness of the country side. Naturally, for someone like myself so interested in tropical ecosystems this is heaven on earth.

What were your first impressions of The SFS Center for Rainforest Studies?
The field station is everything I pictured plus more. For me, it is the perfect amount of technology with nature as I was originally worried that it would be too “decked out.” There is a sense of rural Australia that all the staff and faculty wish to keep.

The station has nice facilities but is definitely not so built up that it takes away from the natural beauty of the area.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester both academically and culturally?
In such a beautiful area my biggest challenge is going to be to sit down and simply study! I already found myself taking bird and plant walks with my fellow students. It is quite easy to lose track of time in such a beautiful and rich forest.

I have already found that I identify quite well with Australian culture. Some of their values and views on the world are similar to mine. Additionally, I share a love for sarcastic somewhat “invasive” humor that seems to run fluent in Australia. This same humor seems turn off some Americans. I think my biggest challenge culturally will be going home! I love it here and can see myself living here for the rest of my life.

What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
Research! I am a research junky so to speak and try to involve myself in it at every turn. I love discovering the natural world through intensive and ecologically sound research. I cannot wait for the Directed Research portion of the semester.

Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Passionate, energetic, and excited.




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