- My step signature project was a study abroad trip to Australia. For three and a half weeks I traveled through the coast and islands of North Queensland with 20 peers and two professors. I earned 6 credit hours studying sustainable development and conservation through field work and classroom-based lectures.
- Traveling around Australia taught me a great deal about how environmental issues impact different cultures and countries as well as how to work with peers. It can be difficult to travel in large groups such as this, but I learned that I respond well to group situations and was able to find my place. I also learned that sustainability is a passion of mine and it is a new career direction I would like to explore. Australia has a very interesting approach to handling environmental problems, as well as a different attitude. It is more common for environmental protection to be enacted into law, and the two main political parties both agreed climate change was an issue that needed to be addressed, they simply disagreed on the best ways to handle it. It gave me new perspectives and insights about environmental policies and how they can be implemented.
- As we traveled, we met many entrepreneurs and professionals who were pursuing their endeavors in the conservation and ecotourism industry. The first destination we stayed at was owned by a man and wife who started their own self-efficient hostel. They supplied all of their own energy with solar power. I found this fascinating and learned that I might like to pursue a career in the sustainability arena.
I also participated in many resume builders, such as planting trees in a wetland restoration area and researching fish species on the Great Barrier Reef. This led me to solidify my passion for conservation and sustainability. Because of this realization, upon my return home, I got a job at Ohio State’s sustainability office.
Within the group of people I traveled with, I made many close connections with my peers. I found a group of friends that continues to enjoy each other’s company in the United States. This has allowed me to grow a network of people all in different areas. I have two friends in business, and several in environmental fields. I have grown both a professional and social network.
- These experiences have allowed me to grow and find direction in my life. I have recently decided to continue my higher education and pursue a graduate degree in sustainability. From this, I plan to open my own sustainability consulting firm with a close friend. Studying abroad allowed to explore my passions and meet a group of people who will continue to impact my life forever. I feel that I have the experience and determination to do this because of what I learned about myself in North Queensland