A Masters in Aquaculture, to preserve resources for future generations

Aloka Benaragama Vidanalage from Sri Lanka. Studying a Master of Science (Professional) in Aquaculture and Technology with JCU, Townsville Campus

I feel so lucky to be born in a beautiful tropical country like Sri Lanka, which is surrounded by the ocean. Since I was a child, my parents inspired me to love and live with nature. With that influence, I felt in love with the sea breeze, the sound of the waves, the marine creatures and their habitat. I was curious to learn more about these aquatic ecosystems and always wondered what I could do to preserve these resources for our next generations. With that strong passion, I knew that I could do something positive to the world, but before that, I should have a sound knowledge in my field of interest. Therefore, I chose Aquaculture as my further study area and after my Bachelor’s degree, I decided to pursue my Master’s degree in Aquaculture Science.

When selecting my study destination, I found James Cook University (JCU), Townsville as the best option to achieve my dreams. I preferred JCU among other universities because it is the World’s number 1 in university ranking for Marine Biology and also it is within the most reputed universities for Aquaculture.

I know that, it is really challenging to an international student to come to a foreign country and adapting to the new culture and environment. However, I was fortunate to arrive in Townsville together with my husband Yashith. Within a few weeks, Townsville felt like home for us. Although it is a bit hot here, the climate was much more similar to my home country. The people here are always welcoming and friendly. Another amazing thing in Townsville is that, even though it is a small town, you will find everything you need within 15- 20 minutes’ drive. There are lot of fun activities to do and plenty of beautiful places to visit around Townsville.

Just like the Townsville community, the people I met at JCU were really helpful and friendly.  The University organises different activities throughout the study period for the international students to bond with each other and be a part of the Aussie culture. To be honest, JCU is a wonderful place to study as well as to develop your hidden skills and talents.

As an Aquaculture Master’s student, I get the chance to learn from many lecturers who are experts in their fields. Not just the theoretical knowledge, I get the hands on practical experience on culturing, growing and handling of different aquatic species. JCU is well equipped with laboratories with great research facilities and all the resources which the students need. Since North Queensland is one of the main places for aquaculture production in Australia, I got the opportunity to go on field visits to many industrial companies and aquaculture farms. As future graduates who are looking forward to work with the industries, I believe it is really helpful and important to have these experiences and the industrial exposure during our study.

With my experience in this beautiful Townsville and studying at JCU, I would definitely recommend this wonderful place for anyone around the world who are still deciding on their future. Come to Townsville! It would be the best place to start chasing your dreams!

December 2022