Studying Marine in Townsville – this place is ideal!

Hello, my name is Matilde, and I am an Italian student living in Townsville. I’m currently in my second year of pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Marine Biology, and I can confidently say I’m loving every single moment of it!

One of the main reasons I chose Townsville for my studies is because, not only it’s home to THE best university for my degree, but for its location. Nestled in tropical Queensland, Townsville offers the warm weather I’ve always loved which other cities I was thinking of moving to, do not have. Growing up in the Middle East, I became used to the sun but always wanted more greenery, which Townsville is not short of. From long beaches to stunning islands and waterfalls, Townsville is a nature lover’s paradise.

For someone like me whose dream is to work with marine animals, this place is ideal. It provides multiple opportunities for hands-on experience through practicals and volunteer work, which is necessary for my degree. Because we are so close to the Great Barrier Reefs, it gives us the opportunity to see numerous marine organisms in person and not just through a screen. I’ve gotten to see and handle turtles, sea urchins, starfish, crabs, sharks and more. The list never ends!

Experiencing what we are studying in class first-hand is not only incredible but also an effective way of learning. There’s truly no better feeling then going snorkelling or scuba-diving and coming face to face with the very animals you’ve been studying. It’s an incredible opportunity to see the knowledge you’ve gained come to life in their natural habitat. Since I started at 12 years old I have always had a fascination with diving, and since beginning my degree its grown deeper and everyday it becomes more interesting thanks to my understanding of the ocean. When I see a stingray feed, or an octopus change colour I understand their behaviours and can confidently explain them and nerd out.

In Townsville, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to immerse myself in volunteer work. For the past year, I’ve been helping a friend of mine and PhD student, who is conducting research on stingrays. I’ve been extremely lucky to have accompanied her on numerous field trips, where I’ve gained invaluable experience and learned skills such as drone flying to track their behaviour, taking tissue samples and tagging them. Most of these trips take place on weekends, and I’ve been fortunate to have professors who are very understanding when it comes to missing classes for these valued volunteer opportunities. It’s a chance to gain experiences and insights that are truly unmatched and unavailable elsewhere.

I vividly remember the first time I held a stingray; it was surreal. I remember thinking they were surprisingly smooth yet slightly slipper, and they flap in the cutest way. They are the pancakes of the sea and in that moment of connection I remembered exactly why I chose to study marine biology and why I chose Townsville.

It has not just been a place of study but a haven where my love for marine biology has truly grown. It’s a tropical city that has offered me with unforgettable experiences, helpful counsellors, and an energetic community of fellow enthusiasts who I get to share my passions with every day. Townsville has become more than just a study destination; it’s a place where my dreams and passions are encouraged.

September 2023