Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Student Reflection - Shani Smoak

On day 4 of Australia Globalization class trip, our group embarked on an all-day adventure to the Blue Mountains. I did not know what awaited me on this journey, so I remained optimistic about this excursion in Australia. To give a little background of me, I have not hiked or frolic in the forest since I was in elementary school, and hoped to never revisit, until today. I'm not a fan of the outdoors because I'm a city girl, but this is Australia so I accepted the challenge.

As a group, we started at Featherdale Wildlife Park. I captured more pictures of koalas, cassowaries and kangaroos, which I became fond off since my quick trip to Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Interesting Fact: In Brisbane, I got the opportunity to hold a koala for 10 seconds.  Yet, in other regions in Australia including North South Wales, the government has banned parks from allowing people to hold koalas. The most that individuals can do is interact with the koalas by touch and petting. I am more grateful to have had this opportunity of holding the koala, and will cherish the memory every time I glance at my photo. 

Afterwards, our group headed to Lincoln’s Rock, a lookout point with a break taking view of the mountains. The lookout was very dangerous because of the wind and no metal rails, so I took and used my selfie stick to get the best possible picture.

Any chance that I got, I took multiple selfies to capture the memories of this excursion. Then we headed to see the Three Sisters, whereby I announced to the group, "those are my sisters, we are solid as a rock." I had another chance to take a selfie with my $1 selfie stick. By the way, my selfie stick became a part of me on this journey down under until I left it at the restaurant on our way to the entrance of the Blue Mountains. I hope it is in safe hands and that whomever took it will use it on their next destination.

Next, I thoroughly enjoyed the skyway and cableway service. I captured more beautiful photos of the terrain despite my fear of heights. Second to last adventure of the day, we took a 25-minute hike along a trail in the rainforest. I was not appreciative of the humility or the lack of wood rails on the hike, but once I made it to the end, I was in awe of the cascading waterfall flowing out of the mountains.

Finally, we took a train ride back to the top of the mountain and I freaked out.  But, I was glad to have finished this adventure.

This adventure pushed me to face my fears of heights and the unknown, and I'm proud that I chose to continue to push forward despite the heat and my limitations.

Overall, I'm grateful for the opportunity to experience a culture different from USA. It was fascinating to immerse myself in Australian culture and take in the beautiful landscape, architecture and social scene. I specifically enjoyed the public transportation in Sydney because it reminded me of the easiness of getting around New York City.

I look forward to a future trip to Sydney, Australia.

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