Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lauren W. - Spring 2009 - Australia

Playing didgeridoos, learning to throw spears and boomerangs, swimming under waterfalls, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef among the manta rays, sea turtles, and sharks, these are just a few of the highlights of my trip to Australia so far. The trip started out with an orientation in which we were taken all over Northern Queensland. We were able to hold koalas and pet kangaroos at one of the wild life parks. After orientation our classes started, but these are not just any classes.

When we learn about the rainforest, we hike through one and then maybe have a swim in one of the water holes or just underneath some falls. When we learn about marine ecology, we swim the Great Barrier Reef. I've never experienced such a hands on method of learning. It will be hard to go back to a lecture hall setting after this semester. We actually spent a week living in tents with aboriginal elders, learning their ways of life and culture. We were taught how to throw a spear accurately 30 meters (everything here is metric) and we made our own boomerangs.

The group just returned from our stay at Lizard Island. It was the most beautiful place that I've ever been. You could swim straight off of the beach to the reef. We spent about 5 hrs each day for 11 days snorkeling and researching the fish. We are getting ready for our independent study section of the class. During this period all students travel to different parts of Australia and join an expert in their studies. I'll be heading down to the Gold Coast, around Brisbane, where the Australia Zoo, or Steve Irwin Zoo, is located. I'll be looking at the rehabilitation of injured koalas and other native wild life at the animal hospital on site. I should actually have the opportunity to stand in on the veterinary surgeries and hopefully go behind the scenes with the animals at the zoo. The photos are of me swimming at Nandroya Falls, playing with a wallaby (a wild one), and on the beach at Lizard Island. This has definitely been the opportunity of a lifetime so far. I would recommend SIT to anyone and everyone.~Lauren


Blogger Kim said...

Hey Lauren!

I'm glad to see that you're having a blast and I can't wait till I leave for Australia. Do you think you experienced much culture shock?

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

I don't think that I did at all. Australians as a whole aren't as fond of Americans as I thought they would be, but they say that they like backpackers/students because they don't perpetuate the American stereo type.. There culture is super laid back though, the only shock is probably getting used to the cars on the left and not getting hit by one, haha.. Where will you be going in Oz?

10:49 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Hey Lauren,

Hope that you are having a great time. Glad to hear that you haven't been expierencing too much culture shock out there in Austrilia. Have you had much adjustment to the types of food they eat out there?? Sadly I'm going to Spain in the summer but Australia sounds like a blast.

-Michelle Lindmeier
Fellow RA :)

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

The food here is pretty similar to back in the states.. The only major differences are no hot dogs and no velveeta shells and cheese.. Everything else is pretty much the same.. more fruit I guess.. but yeah, Definitely no problem adjusting for me.

1:46 AM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Hey Lauren! Being Australia sure beats being on Duty, which is what I am doing right now :) I had a quick little question, what did you do about picking classes over there? did you register there or did you have them set before you left?

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

Hey Cynthia,
I'm definitely not jealous of you being on duty,lol.. Actually, the program that I'm with didn't allow choices. Mine were already set. It's a field study course. So we moved around a lot as a group. I haven't set foot on a college campus since I've been here.

12:22 AM  

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