Andrea Hill, Campus Carrier photo editor
Since freshman year, I have always thought about going abroad during my time as a Berry student. This past summer I decided to embark on a two-month internship abroad in Queensland, Australia, as a wildlife keeper. It easily became the highlight of my college career, and I would recommend my fellow students also partake in abroad opportunities, whether that be study abroad or an internship.
Leading up to this experience, I was unsure on what to do for my summer, so I decided to take a step towards going to another country and see what happened. I was pretty nervous leading up to my departure due to being the farthest away from home I’ve ever been, having to live in an unfamiliar city and country, not being able to hang out with my friends from home or Berry and being the only Berry student on this internship.
After just a day of work at my internship site, I had already made friends with the workers and other interns who came from various other countries around the world. Through these friends, I was able to find more friends within the city of Cairns, where I was living. With my newfound friends, I was given the opportunity to explore the tropical Far North Queensland by going on excursions with them on my days off, exploring places like the Crystal Cascades and the Great Barrier Reef, which I wouldn’t have done if I was alone.
At my work site, I was able to work with a variety of wildlife that I would not have had the chance to interact with if I had stayed in the States and taken an internship here.
I was given the opportunity to walk dingoes, feed crocodiles and a cassowary, hold koalas, pythons, and various bird species, and hang up pupae in the nursery so they have a safe environment to emerge from their cocoons. Besides interacting with the wildlife, I was also able to learn more about them and the environmental risks that are affecting their populations in various areas of Australia.
Going to another country may seem daunting at first, but many people who have gone that I’ve talked to, myself included, are always so excited to share the things they’ve learned and seen. There are numerous financial aid opportunities to help finance your trip to your designated country. The International Programs office can also help to determine if the internship will count towards academic credit. If it does, then Berry financial aid can be applied to the costs to help reduce those and get you to your country.
It’s never too late to go abroad during your college career. I waited until my last summer as a student before going abroad with an internship, and it was the best decision I have ever made. I hope many of my fellow students will seek to go abroad just once in their college career. The experience is sure to be a life-changing one, no matter what kind of abroad experience you choose to do.