So how did I end up in Australia?
Well as soon as I returned from Senegal I started thinking about where I would go next and how I would get there. Before leaving to Senegal I was looking for both study abroad programs in both French speaking African countries and Australian ones and I knew the next place I wanted to go would be wherever I didn’t go over the winter.
So I had the place, then I started thinking about where I’d stay, what I’d do, etc. I knew I wanted it to be a lengthy trip and I might’ve gone crazy just vacationing so I thought why not volunteer. I came across various websites and Oceans 2 Earth seemed to catch my interest the most. Unfortunately, the website wasn’t as accurate as I would’ve hope it to be even after having spoken to someone and asking many of my questions.
First off, the website paints the picture as if it is their volunteering programs, however, they actually serve as a middleman between those searching for opportunities and the things available. Also, the website stated many great things to do in the area of the Gold Coast. However, they didn’t mention that the clinic site was about 20-30 minutes away from these attractions not in Advancetown, Queensland, not specifically in the center of the Gold Coast. It is also located on a mountain which makes it difficult to travel outside unless you take a taxi for some distance. The website also stated the work was 5 days a week when in reality help is needed everyday, luckily the head at the clinic is very understanding and so says that I can make the program what I want it to be.
When it comes to the animals, it was stated that it was a wildlife trauma center and so I believed I’d be working most with a large variety of animals which is what I was most excited about. Although this is true and there are many other animals, the site is primarily a bar clinic and therefore most of the time the work to do is with bats. This is something interesting and very different for me but not exactly what it was painted out to be.
I’m not necessarily trying to write a review on the website or bash it in any way but I do now know (and hope this serves as a lesson to others) to ask a lot more specific questions. To know exactly what I’m getting into and have as much information as I possibly can. Even if it’s stated on the website I recommend to make to ask and verify the information provided.
Although in some senses I am disappointed by the misinformation (to be 100% honest) I do still plan to make the most of every part of this experience. Trish (the head of the clinic) is absolutely amazing and everyone here is making sure I’m settling alright. Its only been 2 days and I’ve already loved the animals I’ve encountered. I made it Australia, a dream I had for oh so long and so I have very little to complain about.
Stay tuned, in the next post I’ll speak more about the actual site I’m in with pictures!