KEARNEY — Imagine snorkeling in the crystal-clean water above the Great Barrier Reef, snuggling with koalas and kangaroos on the Australia Zoo and taking in the stunning perspectives during a sunset cruise within the Mooloolah River.
This dream excursion has become a reality for 6 University of Nebraska at Kearney students who spent a part of their summer season in “the land down under.”
The organization found out about Australian records and tradition on the University of the Sunshine Coast close to Brisbane and made lots of reminiscences during the 3-week observe abroad application, which changed into offered for the first time this yr.
For UNK junior Leslie Braun, it was an opportunity she’s been looking forward to seeing that excessive college. Both of Braun’s sisters studied abroad in Europe, however, she always had her sights set on Australia.
“Everybody joked that I changed into going as a long way far from domestic as possible, and that’s pretty much what it turned into,” the Henderson native said. “This becomes my first time touring the world over, so the 13-hour aircraft experience became the type of a shock.”
Like Braun, fellow UNK junior Marissa Asche turned into also flying foreign places for the first time.
“Traveling that massive distance turned into kind of incredible in itself because everywhere I’ve been was within the U.S. And is drivable,” stated Asche, who had in no way visible an ocean earlier than.
What awaited them in Australia was even more awe-inspiring.
“I experienced a group of firsts that I could have never executed had I not long past to Australia,” Asche said. “It’s an exquisite possibility that no longer anybody gets to take advantage of, so the reality that UNK offers it is just first-rate.”
The new way of life
The group arrived July five in a rustic that’s both overseas and familiar for U.S. Vacationers.
Most of the humans there communicate English, so it’s clean to communicate, and also you’ll discover many recognizable businesses — McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Target, and H&M to call a few.
“It’s plenty like the U.S. It’s sort of a melting pot and a lot of the matters we’ve got here they’ve there,” said Braun, enterprise management most important with a minor in creative management.
“It’s also totally distinct due to the fact we stay within the center of the U.S. In which we’re loads of miles from an ocean and there we should take day journeys to the seashore,” she brought.
There are some cultural differences, as well.
Of observe to Asche, an early formative years education fundamental from Hebron: college students added their very own lunches to school and lots of human beings don’t wear footwear.
“They’re surely greater laid-again than we’re,” she said.
Australians are also greater environmentally aware than most Americans, in step with Asche, who believes the U.S. Can examine a lesson in sustainability.
“It was sort of eye-beginning seeing the whole lot they do. They don’t have plastic bags whilst you visit the grocery keep. You’re just anticipated to convey your very own bag or purchase a reusable one there. That’s such an easy aspect we may want to do here,” stated Asche, noting that the bathrooms additionally feature 1/2- and full-flush alternatives to preserve water.
Most of Australia’s states and its biggest shops have banned single-use plastic bags, cutting usage by using roughly 80 percentage, in step with the united states of america’s National Retail Association.
Suzanne Maughan Spencer, a companion professor and chair of UNK’s Department of Sociology, grew up in Newcastle, Australia, approximately one hundred miles north of Sydney. She became happy to steer the look at overseas trip and give students an up-near look at her domestic united states of America.
“You get to see a culture that’s somewhat similar, yet in some approaches quite special from America,” she said. “It exposes you to a new way of lifestyles.”
Real-life ‘Finding Nemo’
Of route, the flora and fauna and landscape are quite specific from Central Nebraska.
Instead of campus squirrels, they’ve kangaroos. And there are masses of dangerous snakes, spiders and ocean creatures the students were warned about.
However, that didn’t stop them from exploring at some point of a four-day go to to Fraser Island and Lady Elliot Island.
“We were given to look the Great Barrier Reef whilst we had been at Lady Elliot and we were given to peer some absolutely cool freshwater lakes and streams at Fraser,” Braun stated.
The entire institution went snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef — an enjoy that’s “hard to conquer,” in keeping with Asche — and Braun and Marlana Kent of Cambridge went scuba diving.
“That was the most amusing issue I could say we did while we had been there,” Braun said. “It becomes like real-lifestyles ‘Finding Nemo’ is how somebody defined it, and I couldn’t say it better myself. Any shade of fish you may imagine, we saw it down there.”
The UNK students also visited the Australia Zoo — called the “Home of the Crocodile Hunter” in honor of the late Steve Irwin and his own family — as well as Noosa, the Eumundi Markets and a ginger manufacturing unit.