Name: Brianna Mabie
Hometown: Green Bay, Wis.
Graduation year: 2018
1. What is your favorite place in your host city/country?
One of my favorite places is the ocean, particularly when I visit Magnetic Island. I had never been to the ocean before coming here, so being able to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef has truly set my expectations high for all bodies of water I visit in the future. I love being able to go to the beach with relative ease and am grateful for the extremely warm weather I get to experience here while it's fall back home.
2. What is the most unexpected thing you have encountered so far during your off-campus study experience?
The cheese! During one of my first trips to the grocery store, I spent about 15 minutes looking for cheddar cheese. I couldn't find the orange thing with which I was familiar. I almost gave up but I could not believe they didn't have the most basic cheese. When I actually stopped and read the packaging, I learned that Townsville's cheddar cheese, and all other flavors, are white. Being from Wisconsin, I knew the cheese would be different but I never expected it to be a different color.
Caption: Magnetic Island
3. What has been your proudest/most exciting moment abroad?
My proudest moment was being able to successfully navigate the airports. This was my first time in an airplane (excluding skydiving) and my family didn't come into the airport with me. I was extremely worried I would lose my bags, set off the metal detectors, or miss my flights. But the staff and other passengers were extremely helpful. I even met another woman from Wisconsin who is also studying abroad. We have the same exact flights both to and from Australia.
My most exciting moment was holding a koala. Before coming to Australia, I knew that this was something I could do and it ended up being a major deciding factor. Australians kept trying to freak me out, saying koalas smell bad and have chlamydia, but I was not deterred. When I went to Billabong Sanctuary, one of the staff members saw how I excited I was and suggested I take a selfie with Banjo. It is now by far my favorite picture from Australia.
Caption: Crocodile feeding, Billabong