SPC Study Abroad Student, Jeanette Burdette, Shares her Exciting Experience in Australia Vet Tech Program over the summer 2018:
“After the hustle and bustle of plane flights, airports and shuttles; we finally made it to our hostel on Sunday morning. Although I didn’t arrive with my luggage in hand like I had hoped for, it was a generally short commute after hours (actually days) of traveling. This was the first of many moments where I was reminded that “flexibility” was an important trait to possess on this trip. Later in the day, after we were able to settle in to our rooms, we were briefed on what to expect on our trip and what experiences we were going to encounter. We were placed into two groups of five and the next morning we began on our adventure! Team B, which included myself and four others, caught a taxi to 30-34 Tingira Street. This location was referred to as the Centre at Portsmith which is comparable to an “intensive care unit” in a hospital. There we met with the head volunteer for the Centre, Traci. You could instantly tell that Traci was dedicated to the Centre and the turtles that occupied it. Traci introduced us to the four resident turtles in her care which included Shazza, Jacquelline Sparrow (AKA Jackie), Midge, and Angel. We heard each turtle’s story on how they got to the Centre. We then learned first-hand the normal routine at the Centre which included cleaning the tank filter bags, de-boning squid, weighing and preparing food, and cleaning the tanks. We finished around noon which gave us time to find a nice place to have lunch and then stop by a local grocery store to gather groceries for the week. Overall, it was a great first day!
The next day, we visited the Fitzroy Island Centre where the turtles are transported when they no longer require intensive treatment, are eating, diving and sitting on the bottom of the tank. We walked just a couple blocks down to the pier and boarded the ferry, which was about a 45 minute commute to the island. After arriving, we walked just past the resort to the centre. There, one of the volunteers (Barb) showed us around the centre and introduced us to the resident turtles. Thankfully, with all of our training the day before, we were able to jump right in and work. We all split up, each doing something different. There were a lot of volunteers so we finished a little before noon and we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on the island. Although we had the option to leave on the 12:15 ferry, we took full advantage of the amenities on the island. The island was beautiful and demanded to be explored! We took a hike through the “Secret Garden” rainforest admiring the cathedral trees along the way. We also trailed through to Nudey beach which contained miles of broken down corals. There we enjoyed some sun and cooled down with a dip in the ocean. Another day for the books I’d say!
When we weren’t busy helping at one of the Cairns Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre’s, we were fortunate enough to be able to explore Australia a little more. Our first trip was to the Great Barrier Reef and wow, was that an amazing experience! The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on Earth, as well as the largest reef system and can even be seen from outer space! The amount of sea life was abundant including fish, sea turtles, coral, and
much more. Our second outing included a bus ride to a local village called Kuranda. There we trekked through some more rainforest trails but most importantly visited Kuranda Koala Gardens. We were introduced to many of Australia’s native species including the freshwater crocodile, koalas, kangaroos, wombats, wallabies and many reptile and bird species. We also participated in a tour of the Atherton Tablelands which included multiple waterfalls, the famous Cathedral Fig Tree and Lake Eacham (a volcano crater filled lake). Overall, I am extremely thankful for the opportunity I had to Study Abroad through St. Petersburg College. I will forever cherish the memories that were made along the way and I look forward to using my experiences to help me grow in my career as a veterinary technician.”- Jeanette Burdette, SPC Student, Australia Vet Summer 2018
Thank you for sharing Jeanette!
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