Why did you choose this program?
Going to Australia was on my bucket list of things to do, I feel very passionately about animal welfare and I wanted the opportunity to make a difference and help out where I could. I did some research into volunteer programmes and I chose this one as it’s something I wouldn’t usually go for, it’s different to normal life and I don’t think I would have the opportunity to do this anywhere else. It’s a real once in a lifetime thing.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
The program provider assisted me with completing my booking application, provided me with all the information I’d need to be aware of during my stay and they organised my airport transfer by getting in touch with the people running the animal conservation and forwarded all the details onto me. They also answered all of my concerns via email in a short amount of time and were helpful when answering my questions.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Make sure you take some form of entertainment like a book or a deck of cards, as the program is based in the middle of nowhere and during free time there isn’t a great deal to do. Take your walking shoes as there are many paths you can go down and explore during the day. Go with an open mind, it’s a new experience and make the most of your stay as time flies.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Waking up at 5/6am every day, starting off by feeding the wallabies and kangaroos their bottle milk, then feeding the older kangaroos their oats. Next up is preparing the food for Mario the emu, chopping up lots of fruits and vegetables to feed him and changing is water every day. Shortly after, we clean the sugar glider enclosures and change all their water bowls. At around 7.30 we count the koala poo and make sure they have enough leaves to eat, then also clean their enclosures. Finally we clean the wombat sheds and make sure they have fresh water. Some days we water the plants and do the laundry and always ask if there is anything else that needs doing before starting afternoon work at 3.30pm.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear was travelling alone at a long distance. I overcame this by going into the program with an open mind and not having any expectations of what it would be like. I gave everything my best shot and took advantage of the time I had there. The travel was long but I knew that it would be worth it when I got there and I was met at the airport by the person running the program which made me feel more secure.
What is your favorite moment from your experience?
The loveliest moment of the trip and probably the most heartwarming for me was feeding the bottle milk to the wallabies. It’s a moment when they are calm and loving, some of them will hold your hand and they close their eyes as if they’re about to fall asleep. They are comfortable with you and you are able to share that moment with them as they all don’t have mothers so they look for comfort in us.