My exchange is officially over. I have been back for two months now and although I had a moment to write this blog a month ago, I didn’t have a chance to load my photos to my laptop yet. But here it is, finally!!!
First of all, I am ashamed of myself for absolutely failing at keeping my “one post per month” promise. But honestly, time flies when you’re away– the uni, travelling, hobbies and rare moments of rest tend to always dominate and steal all the time. Nevertheless, I will do my best to recap on everything as best as I can now.
So, what did I love most about Tasmania?
The vast wilderness, fuzzy animals, the space and the colours.
I am not fond of big cities and I didn’t even realize how lucky I was with my extremely random decision to go to Tassie and live in Hobart. See, Hobart’s supposed to be a big city, Tassies capital to be exact, but it’s actually teeny tiny and super cozy. I made an exception to my “travel only in Tas” promise and went to visit my 6th form/secondary school classmate in Sydney, and oh boy was that place huge. I almost felt claustrophobic, but in the sense that the herds of people and huge buildings felt suffocating. As I arrived back to Hobart I felt joy and even a sense of getting back home.
But all that is most probably because I am from a tiny country similar to Tas and in a way it was closer to home than the UK, even though the distances prove otherwise.
I managed to skim through most of the island, only the SW and W of Tas remained unexplored since they are, without a car and proper gear, difficult to visit. My favourite places were Bruny island, where my friend had a shack to stay for the weekend, Maria island, full of the most adorable and underrated fuzzy wuzzies aka wombats.
Also, Ben Lomond national park was pretty magnificent.
The drive through the midlands is beautiful since you can see the vast yellow fields dotted by white puffs- sheep. The west side of the country (which I managed to get a small glimpse of) is also superb, mostly because of the unnaturally green fields and luscious wet eucalyptus forests.
The lecturers at UTAS were truly amazing. Almost all of them were active researchers meaning they always had personal examples of the theory being put into practice. I could also sense the enthusiasm for their subject. However, I do think the education system there is a bit more relaxed and expects a reasonable and manageable amount of work from students. It also had a great balance between the theory and lab/field work.
I also volunteered with the Tassie devil researches at the uni. Mostly I could help with data management etc since uni study time and field work times don’t really match well. But I managed to go out to the field for a week just before I left.
The devils are so not the vicious angry carnivores you’d think they are. Instead they are very relaxed, cute and the only thing they do when handled is fart. Which makes them even cuter. The situation with them now is still rather sad, the DFTD aka the tumour that spreads between them and grows on their face has not receded. But the disease has not eradicated all of them yet, even though it’s been more than 10 years, so there is still hope!
It is difficult to reflect on everything after even two months of being back. I believe the memories and the feelings are still yet to fully sink in. Hopefully, (and this time I will really try) I will write another post in a few months to describe post-exchange thoughts more thoroughly.
Thank you to all you wonderful people whom I met! Thank you to the beautiful country! And thank you for UTAS and UoS for making it possible for me to go on the exchange!