International Studies & Programs

Finding Nemo comes to life for Sara

This experience has inspired me to do my part in global warming and make small changes that can have a colossal impact on our planet.

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Published: Friday, 28 Feb 2020 Author: Sara Kostecka

Sara holding Koala in AustraliaTraveling to Australia enabled me to complete a long-term personal dream of mine. Ever since Finding Nemo came out in 2003, I have always wanted to see the Great Barrier Reef with my own eyes. This introduced biological concepts to me at an early age and propelled me to pursue a scientifically oriented field in my undergraduate studies. The study abroad program I went on allowed me to achieve this dream by planning a day out to the reef to snorkel and scuba dive. I have never seen such beauty before in my life. The biodiversity really was vast as there were many different kinds of fish, coral, turtles, clams and sharks. This experience has inspired me to do my part in global warming and make small changes that can have a colossal impact on our planet. 

I have also had the long term desire to travel aboard and experience a perspective outside the typical American viewpoint. Being able to step outside of the country I was raised in allowed me to view the world on a wider spectrum. I became much more aware of international relations and news abroad, such as the protests in Hong Kong. I was able to make connections with people from Australia, South Africa, Sweden, Italy and Germany. It was interesting to learn about Australian history and MSU students scuba diving in Great Barrier Reefpolitics, specifically how they have addressed the issue of Aboriginal rights. I was shocked to find out how much later their rights were established in comparison to America. I always envisioned Australia as being more progressive than America, however I can see how those lines are blurred now. 

Additionally, I was able to participate in so many activities that I wanted to do for a very long time. I was able to hike through three different rainforests, pet kangaroos, hold a koala, visit different conservations and zoo’s, surf, go canyoning, and skydiving. I was able to walk along different beaches along the pacific and soak in so much natural beauty. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who loves doing outdoor activities and finds the importance of protecting natural environments. 

Name: Sara Kostecka
Status: Senior
Majors: Neuroscience and Psychology
Hometown: Oak Park, Illinois
Program: The Natural and Human Environments of Queensland, Australia