The wilds of South Africa is the most amazing backdrop for my month long environmental science work placement in the Skukuza Indigenous Plant Nursery, Kruger National Park, South Africa. The placement consists of many different projects including an art exhibition within the nursery and conservation management.
The main project I have been involved with for the first portion of my placement is the collection of biomass loading data pertaining to the South African grasslands and savannas for management purposes. The objective of this study is to evaluate the biomass loading on land plots prior to burning which occurs every two or five years depending on the location and loading. The equipment used during this project includes a disc pasture meter and a cyber-tracking system. Coordinates are taken and 95 datum points recorded per burn plot. The first day in the field we were unable to collect all data owing to a cheetah a kill at one of the data collection starting points. The next plot we recorded also had its wildlife adventure as we encountered a large, fortunately placid, bull elephant. For obvious reasons the rangers above accompanied us in the field.
My experience has been further heightened through helping veterinary researchers test rhinos for relocation to other national parks and the opportunity to travel solo through the park to collect the head veterinarian for South African National Parks who had accompanied Charlie Boorman, the English adventurer, along the South African and Mozambique boards. Apparently Charlie is making a documentary about South Africa. This entire experience is difficult to put in words, I have travelled the world and this is truly the most amazing and exhilarating trip I have experienced so far.
This once in a life time opportunity was made possible through Dr Sheila Peake of USC International. The opportunity for students to travel to South Africa was made possible through funding from the University’s Global Opportunities (GO) Program.
Field work is an essential component for all Environmental Science students. USC International has given me the opportunity to gain this experience on the wild side, working in Kruger National Park – South Africa.
I am currently half way through my placement at Kruger Park and have gained experience in many different types of field work including, vegetation surveying, hydrological data collection, fire regime management, veterinarian research projects, and maintenance within the indigenous plant nursery.
Working within Kruger has been a surreal experience, being able to interact with the amazing wildlife and people that South Africa has to offer, while also participating in field work and gaining international experience.
This placement has provided me with essential skills that help compliment my degree, and also the opportunity to experience international travel.
USC student Leela, is currently on her GO Program semester in Rio De Janeiro – read all about her adventures at:
The views in the above blog are entirely the author's and do not necessarily represent those of any other induvidual or organisation.
It has been exactly a month since I arrived in Norway. I am on exchange here at in Sogndal at the Sogn og Fjordane University College. They have this really hands on practical course which I am doing called From Mountains to Fjord, the course is run every Fall Semester (August-December). So far we have more time out in the field doing studies than actual time in a classroom.
It is GREAT! It is the 10th year that this course has been run here at the university college and upon our arrival they put on a weekend of celebration, the YouTube Video that I have put together can be watch here:
The town where I live has ~6000 people and~2500 Students, so it is mainly a town full of university students! So asyou can imagine it is a very social town that doesn’t sleep very often. The surroundings here are just stunning, the fjords drop down to 260m depth while the mountians shoot straight up to 900m right out of the deep fjord.
Most of the international students (~45) are very active so we spend most of the spare time out climbing the mountains for riding our bikes around the edges of the fjords. Check out the things that we have been up to so far!!
Ride to Fjord
One of the most memorable moments so far is having the opportunity to spend two days hiking on the Smørstabbreen Glacier
It was in our first week of class! I am loving the opportunity to spend so much time out of the ordinary classroom and getting in the field learning the practical things along with
the theory this technique will be so beneficial later on!
My time over here so far has been so great… when you GO you may not want to come back.
Other videos of my time in Norway:
I’m doing my semester abroad at Louisiana State University in southern USA and I’m having the time of my life! Louisiana is known for their ‘southern hospitality’ because the people here are so friendly and go out of their way to make your visit a memorable one.
LSU is situated in a college town where everything is designed for students. There is always something to do every day of the week! LSU fits every American college stereotype – traditions, keg parties, beer pong, red cups, American football, frat boys and sorority houses.. It feels like I’m in an American movie every day, it is all so much fun!!!!
I’m only an hour away from New Orleans and I’ve also been able to travel easily and affordably all over the states during my time here. Next week I’m going to Cancun, Mexico for Spring Break!! I’ve met so many new people, learnt so much and made enough memories to last a lifetime. I recommend the USC GO program to everyone.
GEAUX LSU TIGERS!!!!
USC student Melissa, is currently studying on an exchange semester at one of USC parnter universities in Mexico – Tec De Monterrey- Queretaro.
This blog and her amazing photos, show the beauty of the people, landscape and architecture in Mexico and are a record of her travels through the region… take a look
Excuse me if I write this with a touch of nostalgia, as back home it is currently Australia Day and today I am celebrating by having a German language exam. But the last six months really have been a whirlwind of new experiences, adventures, challenges and new friends.
The opportunity to study in Germany through the GO program has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only am I benefiting my studies but I am doing something that is completely outside my comfort zone! The highlight of my journey would have to be all the amazing travelling opportunities around Europe. Since this is my first trip to Europe I did a couple of months travel before the semester started. I was lucky enough to be able to visit: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Paris, London, Prague, Amsterdam, The Greek Islands and Budapest.
Studying at RheinAhrCampus hasn’t been all easy though, as the German language is very hard to master. I still classify myself as a beginner as I am only taking one class a week. But I am proud to say that although I can’t speak very fast or formulate quick responses, I can understand most conversations by picking out key words.
When applying for the GO Program I never thought the decision would completely change my life – but it has. Not only did I move halfway across the world, but my life moved with me. Living here in Germany now has become my new life… I have new classes, new friends, a new language and a new way of living. And because I’m just loving Germany so much… I had to enrol for a second semester!
I am already half way through my six month stay in Japan and I don’t want to leave! I originally applied to go to Tokyo and was a little disappointed when I found out there were no places available in a Tokyo university but now I could not be happier that I’m living Kyoto. Kyoto is a really beautiful city there is so much to see. I was lucky enough to be here throughout November when the autumn leaves were out and it was so amazing, something I had never seen before in Australia.
I have also learnt so much Japanese since coming here; it is so different studying a language in-country than studying at home, so much better! Uni in Japan is quite a lot of work but fun, we have language classes from 9 to 12 Monday to Friday then each afternoon off. We also have a different teacher everyday and they are all lovely. And the classes are completely in Japanese which is really good.
Also there are so many exciting places to visit, public transport is really convenient and easy in Japan so you can go to a different city every weekend or do road trips with Japanese friends, which I have been lucky enough to do, Japanese people are so friendly!
After yesterday the 4th of November, the International day at Ajou University, I cannot recommend strongly enough that Ajou is the place to study over the Fall Semester.
Yesterday was such an excellent day that makes me thankful and privileged to be on the GO Program. Over 500 or so students representing 30-40 countries yesterday had the chance to display food, wear traditional costumes, showcasing traditional dances and just being able to enjoy a day full of diversity.
It is a day where you get to taste, see and enjoy the company of wonderful friends and just have world experience. It was a beautiful autumn day here in Suwon in South Korea and I tell you, you just have to be here to experience the love, fun; excitement and being amongst diverse people and cultures.
I had the opportunity to represent Australia and Vanuatu. Since I was the only one from the Oceania region, I was allocated two student volunteers from Ajou and we managed to rig up some sausage sizzle and burgers as Aussie food and cooked prawns in Coconut milk as Vanuatu food. Before I came here, I also gathered a lot of souvenirs, books, photos and practically anything from the two countries that I thought would be of help in telling everyone about these two beautiful countries. There were so many many people interested to know about the two countries and I was a proud to be an Ambassador for both!!
It was wonderful experience as all your new friends are interested to know more about where you come from. Visiting each others booths, tasting the country’s food, heated wines, vodka shots and dancing to different countries music J. The day ended with performances from different countries and partying. It has been such a wonderful day that contributes to making this GO experience an unforgettable one. This is a reason why the GO program is an experience of a lifetime and I cannot stress enough that Ajou University International day is a day you would never want to miss so apply and come and study in Ajou next Fall!
I have been in Brno, in the Czech Republic, for almost two months now. And I love it! The town is beautiful and the culture is so thick, you can just get lost in the streets and people. I recommend choosing the Autumn semester as the golden leaves make the town look even more beautiful and if you are like me and have never seen snow, then it is all the more exciting.
The university, Masaryk, offers excellent courses for Arts students that focus on Literature. There are also courses for Economic, Law and Business students too. Masaryk runs an excellent International Student Club that offers great support, loads of fun activities and the best part, a tutor to help you settle into your new town. They also offer excursions and trips to the neighbouring countries for half of what it would cost if you went on your own.
When you apply for this exchange I recommend applying to live in the Vinašká residence. Block A1 is full of international students and you are bound to make lots of new friends as there is always a party going on. The accommodation is very cheap, as is just about everything here! Beer is actually cheaper than water. And, if you love meat, then you must try all the local dishes. They are big, meaty and go great with Brnos own beer, Starobrno. The people in this little town are very kind and most of the students are bilingual and always happy to help if you get lost. I do strongly suggest that you learn a little Czech before you come, just to make life easier for yourself.
And, if there is one thing you must do while in Brno, go and see an Ice Hockey game. I have never seen anything like it! I am looking forward to the upcoming snow and the rest of the trips that the ISC has organised. I try to remember to study, but there is just so much to do and see!
I hope you too, decide to come and Czech it out!