Volunteer in Australasia
We toured picturesque Port Stephens and exciting, metropolitan Sydney, enjoyed delicious Australian and international cuisine, met a ton of new friends, and got into the rhythm of Australian life. Invigorated by the week-long holiday, my two project-mates and I flew down to Melbourne to start working with wildlife!
All of the staff on the boat was very friendly and helpful. You could tell this is something they all really enjoy and love to share with others. They made sure to let us know where the coolest things to see were and if there were any special things in our dive sites. There was one fish that was a regular visitor. His name is Wally and we saw him most days out on the reef. He swims right up to divers and it is definitely an experience to see how much he likes to hang out with people.
What we did for those two weeks was not so easy but it was truly meaningful. What I liked most about volunteering was getting to work in a unique environment that you wouldn’t have the chance to experience unless you were a volunteer. Most of the places we worked were deep in the mountains; so beautiful. Everyday we worked about five hours and the leaders would show us some beautiful and amazing places to visit on our time off.
The other two weeks I was sent to a small town near the sea, Warrnambool. It was a super lovely town. I was amazed by the natural environment immediately. Diverse kinds of plants along the coast was impressive. We worked in a point danger area in the coast of Portland, where there is a unique ecological system with many different kinds of plants.
This summer I spent six weeks volunteering in Fiji teaching the students of Dawasamu Primary School. My responsibilities included improving literacy and numeracy comprehension as well as providing lessons in P.E., music, and art. I’ve never had any experience teaching, but my time spent in Dawasamu Primary School made me open my eyes to the importance of education-- and how taken for granted it is back in my own country.
I spent five weeks in Punakaiki, at the New Zealand Conservation Experience project both as my first experience outside of the United States and as my internship. It was kind of nerve-racking at first because of being somewhere totally new and not knowing exactly what to expect, but in the end, it was totally worth it!
Each and every day that I walked into the classrooms of the kindergarten or primary school, my heart was touched by the big brown eyes and smiling faces of the local children. At the first sight of our volunteers, the children shout in unison, “Bulaaaa”. Our participants respond to them in an instant, “Bulaaaa”.
I think what touched me the most was how even though I came to them with the specific intention of offering them food that we had prepared, and warm drinks, they were still sometimes shy to ask me for that extra teaspoon of sugar, or another cup of hot coffee...It was an absolute pleasure to help out the often disadvantaged community that exists in Sydney, to learn about their hardships and to see it all with the backdrop of one of Australia’s wealthiest and most beautiful cities.
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