Gabrielle King studied a five week course entitled “Australian Wildlife, Environment, and Conservation” through the University of New South Wales. In Darwin, she learned about wet-dry tropics and the supercontinent Gondwana. Gabrielle went to the Mindil Beach Markets where she watched a live didgeridoo performance. She camped in Kakadu National Park where she saw Aboriginal rock wall paintings and learned about Aboriginal customs and spiritual beliefs. Gabrielle also witnessed the conservation method of prescribed burning which prevents uncontrolled wildfires. In the Blue Mountains, Gabrielle saw the spectacular blue mist that is released by the eucalypt trees. She hiked for hours in the valleys of the Blue Mountains where she tested her physical limits and saw the beauty of the ferns, eucalypts, and sandstone and heard the tricky calls of the lyrebird. She also learned about conservation through sustainable use. In Sydney, Gabrielle saw a show at the Sydney Opera House. She visited an animal sanctuary where the endangered eastern quoll was being bred in captivity. One method of conservation introduced to her here was that of keeping native animals as pets. Gabrielle participated in various wildlife survey techniques like mist netting and sand plotting. At Botany Bay, she went whale watching and saw humpback whales breach the surface of the ocean. At Cairns, Gabrielle hiked through the Daintree Rainforest and saw the rainforest meet the ocean. She fulfilled one of her all-time dreams of scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. Gabrielle learned about threats to the environment including climate change and negative human impact. Gabrielle was immersed in Australian culture and learned about their hospitable customs and their slang like “brekkie” and “mozzie” which are “breakfast” and “mosquito”, respectively. Through her study abroad experience, Gabrielle has developed a greater appreciation for the natural world, other cultures, and an ever-growing passion to help the world through science.
CEE Title: Music: The Universal Language
The CEE my teammates and I developed was entitled “Music: The Universal Language”. This CEE was a cultural workshop that aimed at increasing cultural diversity in the community through music. Music plays an important role in every culture from being a form of entertainment to being used in religious ceremonies. There is not a single person music cannot reach. We invited people from the community to attend and participate in our cultural workshop. The CEE was divided into three main components which all contained the underlying theme of music as a universal language. Rebecca invited students of the Western PA School for the Deaf to demonstrate and teach songs in sign language. Katie led a sing-along in Te Reo which is the native language of the Maori people of New Zealand. I demonstrated different Aboriginal dances and encouraged audience members to try these dances to Australian didgeridoo music. These three parts of the cultural workshop showed the audience that there are many ways music can be expressed. Music can be appreciated on a global and individual level. Likewise, both the differences and similarities of the world’s cultures should be appreciated.