Some of my best memories that I made in my time abroad involve animals. I have always loved learning about and seeing new animals in wild life sanctuaries, or better yet, in their natural habitats.
In Australia, we had the pleasure of feeding a grey kangaroo and red-legged pademelon, as well as seeing the wild Sulphur-crested cockatoos. These white birds, with yellow feathers on their heads, were so cute as they wandered around an open field near Australia’s Blue Mountains. My favorite animal in Australia, the koala, was seen in the Kuranda Koala Gardens, munching on leaves.
We also had the amazing chance to explore the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns. Here, we saw many different species of fish and coral, ranging from clownfish and parrot fish to giant clams and fluorescing coral.
In New Zealand, I had the pleasure of meeting a wild Kea bird in Milford Sound, who came up to my leg and was interested in the buttons on my pants. Sheep were also a common occurrence in New Zealand, with more sheep than people between New Zealand’s two islands. However, my favorite animals were by far the penguins. In Akaroa we stopped at Pohatu Penguins, where we got to meet the little blue penguins who stay there for rehabilitation. We also spotted a wild yellowed-eye penguin which was molting.
I think that sometimes students are so excited to see the scenic mountains and lakes in New Zealand, or whichever country they study in, that it is easy to forget about the animals that live in these ecosystems. That is why I decided to dedicate my last blog post to these adorable friends, because encountering these animals have been some of my favorite moments.
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<p class="MsoBodyText" style="margin-top:2.35pt; margin-right:12.3pt; margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin-left:5.0pt"><span style="line-height:115%">One fun fact about myself is that I am not sure the exact date of my birthday! Before I was adopted, I was a baby in China and my parents could not keep me because of the one child policy. Therefore, as was the way of many families in China in the 90s, I was left on the steps of the police station. When the police found me, they estimated my age. This estimate is the age on my birth certificate and on every official document. It is interesting to think about my birthday being one day before it is written, or maybe a few days after!</span></p>