McAuley senior takes trip to Australia with Ambassador program | People
COLLEGE HILL, OH (FOX19) - McAuley high school senior Maridia Minor, of White Oak, writes about her 17-day trip to Australia with the People to People Ambassador Program.
My 17-day trip to Sydney, Canberra, Darwin, Kakadu, and Cairns, Australia was absolutely amazing and a learning experience. Preparation for the journey started in January, with several meetings with members of the People to People Ambassador Programs, which is headquartered in Spokane, Washington. The meetings and assignments were centered around learning about the history, government, geography, and culture of the Australian and Aboriginal people.
Our delegation started our journey on June 30. We met Californian delegates in Los Angeles, and then boarded the flight to Sydney, Australia, where we spent three days. We experienced the history of Hyde Park Barracks, where convicts were sent over 190 years ago. Later that day, we dined at Darling Harbor, where I had the opportunity to try kangaroo for dinner! Next, we headed to the capital of Australia, Canberra, where we toured Australia's Parliament House and learned about Australian government and political history. From Canberra, we headed to the capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin, where we visited Crocodylus Park and watched crocodile feeding, and then on to Kakadu National Park, where we participated in an environmental service project by building a habitat for the abundance of bird life in the area known as the Top End. We hiked to Nourlangie Rock, home of Lightning Man (Narmargon).
Then we were off to Katherine and we were greeted by Jawoyn people of the region as we followed in the footsteps of their ancestors by learning the importance of bush tucker and bush medicines.
Cairns was our next destination, nestled between the Wet Tropic Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Riding through the rainforest in an amphibious vehicle known as the Army Duck (DUKW) used in WWII by the U.S Military, was a true ride back in history while talking to a marine biologist about the preservation of the Barrier Reef. We also cuddled with koalas and watched kangaroo and wombats after we participated in an 'Aussie' bush dance.
My 17-day stay built my cultural awareness as well as it helped me achieve new levels of self-awareness and personal development.