Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

Week two in Sydney was full of new adventures with many
more wonderful memories made. 

I am taking a course here called People, Place and Culture which considers the relationship between humans and their environment, how humans shape nature and how the environment impacts humans. During my first class we had a field experience and I got to tour the Botanical Gardens of Sydney. What a marvelous time I had learning about the history of the Wollemi Pine tree, amongst other native Australian plants. We also had a tour of the herbarium which houses 1.4 million specimens from around the globe for research and preservation. Plants are truly extraordinary and I love learning about their history and uses. 

To start off my most memorable weekend thus far in Sydney I ventured to the Sea Life Aquarium on Friday where I enjoyed admiring all the beautiful sea life native to Sydney. Shark selfies were a must!

I also met a very sweet creature called a Dugong. What an interesting and lovable little herbivore. The particular Dogong I met was named Pig, and he was rescued after being separated from his mother. He eats over 170 pounds of lettuce a day!

Image result for dugong pig sydney

Bright and early on Saturday the other students on my program and I boarded a tour bus headed to the mountains! Our first stop was at the Featherdale Wildlife Park where I had the opportunity to interact with wallaby’s and kangaroos. This was SO. MUCH. FUN! My heart was happy as I got to feed these beautiful creatures. I even saw a little joey in his mother’s pouch.

I enjoyed watching the animals interact and bounce around. Did you know Kangaroos cannot walk backwards and they use their tail for balance? Some other highlights included watching the cozy koalas sleep, which they do for 22 hours a day and then they munch on over 11 pounds of eucalyptus leaves the other two hours they spend awake!

Next, our exciting tour guide Billy drove us to the top of the Blue Mountains where we had some time to explore and take in the breathtaking views of the infamous Three Sisters rock formation, and enjoy the overall beauty of the mountain range. The mountains span over 8700 miles in circumference, and they are called the Blue Mountains because in the warmer months the eucalyptus trees shed a glistening oil that gives the mountains a blue tint.

Our guide pointed out the common places the Australian venomous Redback spider lives and warned us of the signs that one of them may be lurking around. I was a bit nervous being so close to these deadly creatures, but it was comforting to know they mostly make an appearance in the summer months. Their webs are sticky like cotton candy and they can adapt to colder temperatures to survive the winters. Creepy!

Hiking through the mountains for over two hours, I learned a lot of history and information on Indigenous Australians, their lives and even some survival tips to live in the mountains. When it came time to hike out of the mountains, you could pay to take a cable car up or else hike. I chose to hike, which was quite a workout- the equivalent of hiking up 60 flights of stairs!

On Sunday I took a trip over the Sydney Harbor with two of my housemates via ferry to explore Manly, a small beach town. On the way there we saw a beautiful rainbow pictured below. Fish and chips on the beach with a view of the many surfers catching some waves was my favorite part of the day. 

On the next episode: conquering the harbor bridge!