Studying abroad is a huge learning experience of many aspects. There’s the college classroom leaning which combines textbook material with lectures for exams and papers. There’s also the real life learning experience where you learn about a new place and also learn about yourself. Thinking about all of those factors, what did I learn?
Marine Biology: considering I haven’t taken a biology class since freshman year of high school, I learned a lot of basic biology like terms and classifications of organisms. The knowledge became real as I observed the organisms outside of the classroom when snorkeling and walking the reef flat on the Great Barrier Reef.
Sustainibilty Down Under: my final paper will be a synthesis of the observations I’ve made in Australia and New Zealand and the US. I’ll share these later
Brisbane: This was the city I spent the most time in. Inherently I learned how to get around. I fully learned the public transportation system and became well oriented with the city and outer suburbs.
Counties: Spending 2 months in Australia taught me a lot about the nation. I learned about their history, culture, sports, politics, laws, and other factors through observations and conversations. I could recite these facts, or you could research Australia. From these facts, I was able to make comparisons to the United States. This drove many of the conversations I had, “oh that’s different in the US”, “we do/have/say that too”. I think other people involved in the conversations also benefited from learning about the US.
Traveling: So far, I have taken 7 flights and i’m not even home yet. Ive also taken about 10 buses a week to commute, trains for weekend trips, and longer bus rides for field trips. This has taught me a lot about traveling, especially how to pack. I’ve been good that I didn’t overpack, I came with the 50lbs bag limit. I didn’t buy too much and I sent a box home by seamail. However, I have sometimes found myself underprepared. I have learned to find a better balance for what I need – not too much but not too little. It’s safe to be a little over prepared but not to a point that it becomes a struggle.
People: I have learned so much about our group of 32 students, 2 professors, their spouses, and children. While learning about them as individuals, I have learned about our interactions. There are always going to be people in a group that you don’t particularly get along with. However, in this tight group setting, I had to learn how to deal with this tension so as not to throw off the dynamic.
I also met many people along the way. I found the easiest way that I’ve met people is by asking a question – which happens a lot when you are touring a new area.
Myself: skills, weaknesses, likes dislikes. In lamington, I liked how we were inspired to critically think about our future paths after graduation, which is coming soon in May. My path has never been clear cut. I don’t know specifically what career I want, if I want to study more, or where I want to be. I realized to incorporate my likes to shape my path. Talking about these interests developed ideas for a path – which I am not excited to pursue.