29 April 2018

Beyond Break

Sunset at Myella


After break (spring according to L&C, but it’s fall here) we attended a farm stay at a place called Myella.  It was fantastic.  There was plenty of good food, we learned to milk cows, bottle fed calves, rode horses, watched the sunset over the pasture, and played with the orphaned animals they were taking care of.  I absolutely fell in love with the baby brushtail possum, Pefer (Pronounced P-fur, as in “P for Possum”).  He was adorable and loved to scramble around on people.  They also had a kangaroo joey, Princess Karen.  Everyone wanted to stay there longer.  It was so much fun.

Pefer
Next we went to Carnarvon Gorge.  The pockets of the gorge shelter rainforest plants that have managed to survive in the small, cool niches while the land around them dried out.  We went on some really lovely hikes (including a kinda crazy one up a slot canyon) and hung out in the campground where the kangaroos and kookaburras were frequent visitors.  We had an unplanned extension to our stay there.  Tropical cyclone Iris (category II) decided to interfere with our plans to head to Mackay and then Brampton Island so we wound up spending an extra two days at Carnarvon and then heading to Great Keppel Island.

One of a family of kookaburras that lived near our site

Keppel was a paradise.  The seas were rough from the hurricane so the ferry ride over there was like a rollercoaster, but the island was covered in white, sandy beaches and palm trees.  Because the ocean was so stirred up we couldn’t do most of the activities we had scheduled so most of our time was spent relaxing or playing in the ocean.


Sunset over Australia (view from Great Keppel Island)

After Keppel, we took an overnight train and then a short flight to Lady Elliot Island.  I cannot give enough praise to Lady Elliot Island, step off the beach and you’re snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.  There are octopuses, all kinds of rays, three species of sea turtle, eels, parrotfish, Christmas tree worms, pufferfish, clownfish and anemones, sharks, cone snails, and tons of other cool reef critters.  The sea turtles there have learned to use humans to clean their shell so occasionally one will swim up to you and start rubbing itself on your legs.  The place is practically magical.  I got to watch baby sea turtles crawl into the ocean at night while dime-sized bioluminescent jellyfish crashed in the waves.  If you ever get the chance to study abroad, take it.  Who knows what you will see?

Lady Elliot Island from the air

Alas, it is study abroad and so we did still have to take finals.  The difference is that instead of studying in the library with tons of other students, we studied in cabins up in the Bunya Mountains surrounded by wallabies, parrots, and the huge Bunya pines.  Our finals were held outside on picnic benches in perfect weather.  It’s definitely the best way to take tests.  Our program ended with a farewell dinner and a packed slideshow in Brisbane.  It feels so weird that it’s over.  Especially since three of our group were seniors and we won’t be seeing them in classes again.  The group has really bonded and we all have plans to meet up some time or another.  This trip has been the best experience I have had at L&C and I fully recommend everyone study abroad if they get the chance. 

The wallabies in the Bunya Mountains
Any questions about L&C or study abroad here? Send me an email at ameliaberle@lclark.edu.

25 April 2018

MELBOURNE

Hey Friends!

I've spent the last week post-program in Melbourne and tomorrow I fly home to the states!

Melbourne is AMAZING!!
View from the rooftop of my hostel (YHA Melbourne Metro)

Think New York City but a bit cleaner and smaller, a TON of diversity, and targeted towards college and post grad student aged people. It's really nice to walk around because I don't hear English as the main language and walking around the main part of downtown seeing different ethnicities of people, languages, and food. It also has an AMAZING China Town - best one I've found in all of Aus, and comparable with San Fransisco's.

Since my academic year is finished I have nothing school - related to tell you guys... so I shall give you a little insiders scoop to Melbourne and the good places to check out :D

1. Melbourne Central. Ok, so this whole inner city is like one giant mall thats about 8 blocks by 2 blocks and 6 stories tall, and anything and everything you could possibly need to buy is in there.
Queen Vic Market

2. Queen Victoria Market. BEST public market I've been to. Think San Fransisco's public market ferry station (? Is that what it's called? I don't actually live in the bay area and don't know it very well). It's a massive indoor public market in the front half and then think Portland Saturday market, but better. Huge produce venues with delicious fruit and veggies.

3. Docklands. Another mall area, there is a ferris wheel over there - it's cheap but I've heard it takes a long time to cycle through and only tourists really go on it - typical. But it's also got a ton of weird quirky indoor arcade type things like glow in the dark mini golf and stuff. Fun to go to with a bunch of friends or something :) Theres also a place called ArtVo that is like an interactive painting place where you can go and pose in paintings that look 3D.

4. St. Kilda. Theres a beach, a boardwalk and a cool food street with a cake shop every other building. Luna Park is also on the water there, it was closed when I went - but I've also already gone to the Luna Park in Sydney.

CHINA TOWN
5. Hozier Lane. So I never actually got myself over there, but it's this amazing graffiti lane with tons of "instagram" options.

6. CHINA TOWN. So I mentioned this earlier, but ahh the China Town is so authentic and ahh the food!!!! Shanghai Street (restaurant name) has amazing food and dimsum.

Anyways, I was only here for a week and definitely didn't explore as much as I could have, but if you ever find your way to Melbourne be sure to check some of these places out.


That's all for now folks,
I'll write to you STATE SIDE.

Australia has been an incredible time and the semester went by SO QUICKLY! But I am very ready to go home :)

if you want to shoot me any questions you can always reach me at: ksaylor@lclark.edu

**These blogs are meant to be for the admissions office and to tell you all about school, and I'll stil do a long photo album post when I get all the pictures downloaded and organized, but if you're looking for a bit more academic and maybe less touristy stuff check out Amelia's blogs. She just started uploading again, but she was on the Aus trip too and writes much more about the science.**

Cheers,
Kate

22 April 2018

Before Break



Note: I’m catching up on my posting because between a busy life and a busy program, I haven’t been keeping up this blog very well.  If you get the chance to study abroad, do it, whichever school you wind up attending.  I have made some fantastic memories and seen amazing things. Plus, it breaks up the routine of school and lets you get to know new people.



After our time in Tasmania, we went straight to camping in the rain forests of Lamington Plateau.  It definitely was a rain forest, our group had the worst storms the program leader had seen in the 20 years of bringing L&C students there.  Despite the fact that there were 30 people camping with everything needed for school and travel (laptops, cameras, phones, etc.) the only casualty was a pop-up shelter which flew into a tree and a few damp notebooks.



Our time there was a lot of fun, we went spotlighting for nocturnal animals, hiking through different kinds of forest, watched many different kinds of birds, and went bug hunting among other things.  We found a bowerbird nest in the woods and found a bright blue crawfish in the stream.  Towards the end of the trip we hiked down to see a wall of glow worms.  Getting a picture was impossible, but it looked like a starry sky surrounding us.



After Lamington, we spent a few weeks in Brisbane working on our venom biology projects.  We got to use the facilities at University of Queensland and had lectures from venom experts there.  Every day we went to UQ we needed to take public transportation and I am thrilled to say I took a boat to school.  Brisbane has a ferry system called the CityCats (they’re catamarans) which run up and down the river crossing back and forth.  I really enjoyed it.



During one of our Brisbane weekends we took a trip to North Stradbroke Island.  We got to stay at a marine science center and spend our days learning about the various ecosystems that survive on a sand island.  We waded through stingray infested waters, followed a stream through a mangrove forest, watched thousands of crabs scuttle across a mudflat, and saw wild koalas for the first time.




Have questions about anything?  Feel free to email me at ameliaberle@lclark.edu

16 April 2018

FINALS and Final Days

FRIENDS!

AHHHH the program is over!!! Not officially, but tomorrow is our final dinner and we took our final exams the past two days. I'm now back in Brisbane and we're done with scheduled activities.

So let me just catch yall up...

Lady Elliot Island
SO after the near death experience on the ferry to Great Keppel we spent a few days there finally studying some awesome marine bio because we finally were on THE GREAT BARRIER REEF!!!
Unfortuntly for us though, the weather was still not cooperating and we didn't actually end up seeing anything because the sediment made the water so murky. We couldn't snorkel, but we were able to swim a little bit! It was a really relaxing time and we learned a lot about the reef, the reef structures and also all the threats the reef is facing / already faces. Since our schedule had been pushed around a bit, we ended up having a bit more of a chill time. We had a couple of lectures each day and then did a walk around the island too. It was beautiful and there were so many shells that had washed up from the cyclone. We also saw some ferrel goats!!! They're a really big problem that the national parks have been trying to eradicate since they eat all the vegetation that stabilizes the small islands from erosion.

SNORKELING WITH A GREEN TURTLE
After Great Keppel we did a bit of a ping pong travel day to get to Lady Elliot Island. Within 24 hours we took a bus, an overnight train, another bus, and a small private plane! Lady Elliot is a GORGEOUS corral cay island about 80km off the mainland. It's smack on the reef, and actually, made entirely of dead corals. It was everything I could ever imagine about Australia and the Great Barrier Reef. It's CRYSTAL blue waters and fish everywhere. LEI is especially known for manta rays too! - unfortunately we were at the wrong season, but we did see loads of SEA TURTLES and WE SAW BABY SEA TURTLES BEING RELEASED!!!!!
BABY TURTLES




From Lady Elliot we went straight to the Bunya Mountains where we took our final exams. It was similar to Maria in the sense there was wildlife EVERYWHERE! There were so many pretty face wallabies! Finals weren't bad, but there was a lot to study and we had about 4 hours to cram after getting off the bus and before the next days exams. .... It was a bit rough, but all in all not bad....And now I'm FINISHED WITH MY JUNIOR YEAR!!!
In the lagoon (the shallows) of the reef!









If you have any questions you can now reach me reliably at: ksaylor@lclark.edu 

Cheers! 
Kate