Volunteer in Australasia
I really enjoyed my time at the park as I was able to interact with so many different animals, and also felt like I was contributing to the many initiatives that they have going on. I also liked being a bit further away from Sydney, exploring different parts of the country, that were a little less touristy.
I enjoyed ranger days the most. On these days you were paired with a ranger and got to do everything they did. This included feeding, cleaning, and in some cases even treating the animals. There were so many animals at the park that it was so much to see every day. My favorite part was getting to know each animal and their story. Every animal at the park has a name and is looked after carefully. It was great because you weren’t just standing behind a fence looking at the animal you were in the enclosure handling and helping.
The first three days of the program took place in Sydney, as our coordinator showed the volunteers around Sydney and filled us in on the history and customs in Australia. Along our tour we visited the Sydney Opera House, Botanical Gardens, a couple different museums and took a ferry ride to Darling Harbour.
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!
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