Every time someone asks me about Australia all I can say is “amazing”. They always look at me for more details like “okay…and?”, so I retell the same stories over and over. You know how sometime stat can get really annoying…”what are you doing these days” at your family get togethers, “ya know, the usual, studying…”. But this time it is different. I don’t get tired of telling people what I did. I want to tell the world how amazing it was and let everyone experience it through my stories. I like to tell everyone the day that we spent on Phillip Island, the necropsy on the marsupials, how I literally see kangaroos everyday and “hung” out with them, how terrible the flies were, how hot the weather was, how the “no worries” really applied, how much fun I had and most importantly the amazing experience I got out of it. I have talked about some of my impressions, thoughts, and experiences in my blogs but I would like to reiterate them again.
Australia was not just a place to study abroad. It wasn’t just a vacation either. I think a lot of people had the impression that my abroad time was mostly spent hanging out with kangaroos. As much as I would love that, and yes that did happen a few times, most of my time was spent in class and learning. In the 5 weeks that I spent there, I honestly think that I learned more than in a whole semesters worth of time. We still had a semesters worth of material but just put into a shorter time, but it was easier to learn. It was fun, interesting material put into a different environment. In my opinion, everyone should have to study abroad in college. It gave me better understanding of different cultures and opened my eyes to the world and endless opportunities that we have. It made me realize that the bubble I live in is a lot bigger and there are more important things out there than just “Gabby’s world”.
I said in my previous blog that it helped me figure out what I want to do with my career and that is my most significant learning experience overall (academically and personally). If you would like to read that just go the the blog labeled “New Blog Coming!” and you can the whole picture but in a nutshell I really enjoyed the animal welfare lectures that we had in Australia and I hope to make a difference in my community by teaching people how to properly take care of their pets. I am going to school to be a veterinarian, like some people know it is extremely hard to get in so I am not going to say I am going to be a vet because I may not get accepted buttttt I hope to be one someday. I realized while I was in Australia that I want to be a small animal vet but I want to travel as well and try to expand my knowledge and help others in need. For example, travel to a third world country for a week and take care of peoples animals in which they rely on for their food and life. That is just an overview but I will be making a new blog about all of this and some posts on pet care and other interesting pet articles.
Another thing I wanted to point out that took my trip to the next level was the people. The friends that I made on this trip were some of the best people I could have ever imagined going on a trip with. I really made some long lasting friendships and I am happy that we can keep them going because we all go to Penn State. The group that we traveled with made everything such a better experience. Not only did I make some amazing friends, but the professors that came along made the abroad experience so much better as well ( I promise I am not sucking up!). They all made us feel so comfortable and I felt like I could really communicate whatever I wanted with them. I know Dr. St. Pierre also felt the same way because he was upset he had to leave us half way through! Australia would not have been the same without any of the people that came along.
So some of my impressions and thoughts. Well lets just say Australia is a lot “cooler” than we are. I have said this before, but they seriously do live by the “no worries” motto. It is expressed in every single sentence they say: “No worries mate” is what I have been trying to live by back here in the states but it really isn’t that easy. America is so hustle and bustle and rise to the top but in Australia as long as they have some money, a house, family, food, etc. they are content. I am sure there are many Australians that do want the fancy things and more but overall they “work to live” but we “live to work”. They make sure that they have time for their family. Personally experiencing family time in my home stay: They always made dinner together and sat down and ate it together and would talk for hours sometimes. Most dinners lasted 2 hours or so! And at the end, they all would help clean up and then hangout in the living room together or play with their dog. Now, it was the summer their so I know they had a little bit more time on their hands because the daughter was on her summer break from college and the parents were both teachers, but they mentioned that they do this every single day. My family at home tries to do the same but I noticed that other families here in America do not.
A few things that everyone on the trip could agree that they didn’t like were:
- The annoying flies that stuck to your face in the over 100 degree weather by a farm
- the small cups
- the expensive prices ( McDonalds didn’t have a dollar menu!)
- getting burnt after being in the sun for 5 seconds
- the endless lectures with “answerless” answers
- the breakfast after a while. For the first week we all loved it but after a while eating the same yogurt and granola or plain cereal got boring
- some things were very plain and they never had any sauces. Most people complained about the ketchup but I don’t like ketchup anyway so I didn’t care
- the bugs (especially spiders)
- the Cockatoos waking us up with their annoying screeches at 5 am
- the heat at night
A few things that everyone on the trip could agree that they loved:
- each other (for the most part)
- the animals…especially the kangaroos and koalas
- the marsupial dissection
- the sun going down at 9 pm every night
- the heat
- the beaches
- the atmosphere
- animal welfare in the classroom…we all loved those lectures
- our big separate dorm rooms
- our professors
- Melbourne in general
- the boys at the University of Melbourne
- the night life (some more than others :p)
- Sydney Opera House
- surf shops, stores in general, especially Cotton On
- rock climbing
And sooooo much more!
So overall, my experience was amazing. I could probably talk about it forever! It inspired my to travel the world and do new things. I want to expand my horizons and explore everyday. In my free time all I want to do is go on a hike, bike ride, and just be adventurous. Australia was not just a trip, vacation, or study abroad program but it was everything combined into one AMAZING EXPERIENCE that I will never forget. I will go back to Australia one day, and hopefully at that time we can travel in an instant rather than over a day of flying time.