Danielle Atkins from USA. Studying a Master of Marine Biology with JCU (James Cook University), Townsville Campus.
Since my sophomore year as an undergraduate studying marine science, I knew that I wanted to pursue my master’s degree in Australia as it is the mecca for coral reef research as well as shark species diversity and abundance. I chose Townsville and James Cook University as a place to continue my higher education due to the rigorous marine biology program, globally recognized researchers and professors, distinctive culture, and eccentric wildlife. I’ve always wanted to travel as much as possible and to even live abroad someday, so once the COVID-19 pandemic altered all of our worlds, I thought why not use the opportunity to make the big move, fully immerse myself for an extended period of time, and create strong bonds across the globe.
Studying in Townsville has pushed me to dream bigger, think wider, and adventure farther. Since moving here, I have really enjoyed learning how to assimilate into another culture, which has been an incredibly humbling and exciting experience. I’m even proud to say that I’ve successfully learned how to drive a car on the opposite side of the road! The highlight of my experience so far has been having multiple opportunities to visit the Orpheus Island Research Station and collect data straight from the Great Barrier Reef for course projects. By far, the best part of Townsville is the people that travel from across the globe bringing new customs, traditions, and perspectives to create this unique community nestled in a slice of paradise. It is such a beautiful thing when so many people from all types of backgrounds can come together and find similar interests.
The study advice I would give to future students is to not limit yourself. It is a dream to be able to pursue your passions, but it is also a reality so long as you put in the effort.