‘Till Next Time

*Sniffle sniffle* This is my LAST required Reporting Australia blog – In which I’ll reflect on my study abroad experience while attempting to mask my overly-sentimental side.

I’m not sure a blog post of any length could adequately express how much I learned during this trip.

Before I get all soft, I’d like to acknowledge all the scientific content I attained during Reporting Australia. I genuinely enjoyed getting my fix of environmental science pertaining to sustainability, ecology, climate change, etc., a rarity for many journalists. Due to my enjoyment, understanding the science came fairly easily.

Another note on the scientific content – I felt as if it was extremely concrete & relevant.

Having lived the life of a biology major my freshman year, I found the environmental science material I learned during Reporting Australia more important/pressing than material I learned in any other biology/chemistry class:

I learned higher ocean temperatures cause coral bleaching, and in turn, death – not only to coral, but countless other marine life that seek refuge in coral.

Reef Walk Pollock Cropped

Joe Pollock talking coral while guiding us on a reef walk off Lady Elliot Island on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

I learned (reluctantly) although more conscious than traditional tourism, ecotourism (aka Reporting Australia) is a paradox and isn’t sustainable.


Dr. Rob Nash challenged the idea of our program being environmentally-friendly during a lecture at his workplace, Bond University.

I learned it’s possible to have a wellbeing that outshines your income.

Crouching Simon cropped

…Thanks to Simon Ling, Reporting Australia’s nature guide at Carnarvon Gorge in the Australian Outback

I learned I can download, learn and crank out an info graphic from Adobe Illustrator in 17 hours with only two cups of coffee and no sleep.

GAB Graphic

One of my main contributions to Reporting Australia’s website, explaining water’s movement in the Great Artesian Basin

I learned I should comprehensively consider my dreams before I deem them unrealistic.


This is probably where I first began developing the idea of becoming a dive master/instructor and opening my own dive shop (I’m to the right) – Photo cred: Rachel Robillard

Not only am I thankful for all the above knowledge Reporting Australia has given me, but also my new friends.

Reporting Australia at Brizzy's Museum Scienceentre

Reporting Australia at Brizzy’s Museum Scienceentre

I had a great time exploring Queensland with all of them, especially those in the Carnarvon group who contributed to our webpage.

All I’m left to say is Thank you to this program, thank you Dr. Kris & and thank you Australia. You’ve all taught me things I can use to better shape the future of our environment & lives. I’m pretty sure you’ve taught me how to be a better human. It may be too soon to tell, but I feel like a happier person because of this experience.

‘Till next time!


Best NZ pic edit


Water & the Great Artesian Basin

Below is one of my main contributions to Reporting Australia. Unlike most study abroad programs, we didn’t actually go to class. Rather, we went on different excursions in which local eco/nature guides enriched our stay with environmental knowledge.

Beside blogging, our major project was the Reporting Australia website. Each group, relative to location (Great Barrier Reef, Rainforest & Outback), was required to produce journalistic content and post it to the site. In addition to creating the following info graphic & accompanying audio clip, I was the Carnarvon group’s webmaster – in charge of uploading our content (and making our page pretty).

The best ways to observe the following is to start the audio clip and click on the graphic to enlarge or navigate to the Carnarvon webpage (which I recommend).


GAB Graphic

Money/Wellbeing in the Australian Outback

Welp, my study abroad experience has officially come to an end. DON’T FRET – I still have three required blogs to crank out, all of which pertain to my AUS experience. Also, I must figure out what I’ll do with this blog after I return home in two days (p.s. I’m home now and am just getting around to publish this).

This post highlights an idea brought up by Simon Ling, Reporting Australia’s guide at Carnarvon Gorge, regarding money/wellbeing.

Info Graphic Inspiration

One of the gorge’s many creeks, fed by the Great Artesian Basin

I encourage you to check out my post covering basics of the gorge. Being part of the Carnarvon group – in charge of producing journalistic content on Carnarvon for Reporting Australia, I worked hard getting to know the place before I left the States.

So back to the idea – Our last hike at the gorge, which was a solid nine hours, took us to a handful of geological destinations around Carnarvon – the most significant (imo) being the Art Gallery.


Art Gallery is a slight misnomer. Rather, what you see are symbols, which played vital roles in Aboriginal ceremonies

Within the first hour or so of the hike, Simon stopped us by a tree to explain its species’ relationship with Aboriginals. Turns out, Aboriginals consumed its fruit/seed as a contraceptive method.


Tbh I forgot the name of the tree – Photo cred: Rachel Robillard

Simon, while explaining just how efficiently Aboriginals lived among their environment, then asked us how we would feel if America imposed a limit on the number of children we could have (similar to China’s policy). I forgot how exactly, but a few students found themselves in a somewhat heated debate regarding those of low socioeconomic status, race & politics in America…in the middle of a hike in the outback, in front of the rest of us & Simon.

Art Gallery Hands edit

Without spending too much time addressing it, I didn’t think the debate itself was too significant/important. Here, I’m just referring to the actual debate, not the low socioeconomic status, race & politics aspects.

Soon after everyone calmed down, Simon continued talking – now about socioeconomic status. He cited a study that concluded: After reaching a household income of $74,000 (I think), a four-person American family’s wellbeing is capped – As in, that family’s wellbeing is expected to increase as its income does, until the wellbeing maxes out at a $74,000 income.

On a personal note, Simon mentioned he lives below Australia’s official poverty line and has a fairly high wellbeing – which I can vouch for.

What Simon said (LOL Simon says) about income/wellbeing is one of the most-impacting lessons I’ve taken from Reporting Australia. It’s not something that instantaneously clicked within me either. Rather, Simon’s words complimented something I’ve learned during my entire experience abroad (Reporting Australia & my travels in NZ prior).

What I’m talking about here frankly has to do with money. Money and what it really means.

Growing up in a working-class American family, I always imagined I was supposed to grow up to go to college in order to get a job so that I could work my way up the job ladder to become successful in terms of money & status.


And no, it’s not that my parents explicitly taught me to imagine life like that. I think it has more to do with the cultural/social climate I was exposed to, growing up. Money is highly valued everywhere; but I’d argue America is one of the places it’s valued the most.

For me, I think pop culture was the main influence on why I thought I needed to be successful in a material sense. Media pertaining to music, film, TV lays heavy value on wealth. It’s extremely easy to grow up, thinking that’s what should make you happy.

Due to things I’ve discovered throughout this experience abroad, I’ve realized just how much I don’t want money to own me. I acknowledge, of course, money is essential and unfortunately will dictate decisions I’ll make throughout life.

I guess what I’ve really come to *cents* with is that I’ll make money to live, but not live to make money.

K last thing, I promise

Since processing this revelation – which seems so basic now that I’ve been writing about it for so long, throughout the trip, I’ve developed this new aspirational thought.

My experience with the Great Barrier Reef, while staying on Lady Elliot Island, showed me just how much I love scuba. Especially after my dive, which was on the second-to-last day on the island, I began seriously imagining a future in the scuba industry.


I’m on the right, attempting to have a convo under the sea – Photo cred: Rachel Robillard

I started picturing myself working as a dive master/instructor somewhere in paradise, and being completely happy.

I think everyone has similar thoughts at times – desiring to live a simpler life in paradise; though for me, this scuba thought is still tickling my fancy and making me really consider it. Perhaps since I’ve been super exposed to these ideas regarding income/wellbeing, I’ll start to take dreams like this more seriously.