Study Abroad Series: An aspiring teacher goes Down Under
By Stacey Milton
From Boston Harbor to Sydney Harbor: A trip half way around the world for the experience of a life time
Writing & photos by Maggie Tittler (SED’12)
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Going to Sydney, Australia to teach abroad was probably one of my crazier, more impulsive decisions. After only three days of living in the southern hemisphere, I visited my school, and two days later I was in my classroom with 26 nine and ten-year-old boys and girls. I would say 99% of the people you talk to who have gone abroad will rave about their experience ad nauseam. I will tell you immediately that I am one of those people. Instead of boring you with every story, experience, and adventure I have chosen a tasteful collection of my photos with a short description of the adventure associated with each. If you have more questions for me about my abroad experience, you can contact me at MaggieT@bu.edu. Also, to see more of my adventures, feel free to check out my blog from my travels:http://maggietittler.tumblr.com/.
Naturally, the first thing I wanted to do when I got to Australia was kidnap a kangaroo and/or koala. Though I never brought them back to my apartment, I did get to pet them pretty early on in my trip. We went to Featherdale Wildlife Park and saw our fair share of animals native to Australia.
I spent four days in Cairns (pronounces “cans”), which is in the North East of Australia. They were probably the four most consecutively dangerous days of my life and included rainforests, the Great Barrier Reef, snorkeling, scuba diving, bungee jumping, and sky diving. My parents were not thrilled when they found out after the fact, but my students loved learning about my change in potential and kinetic energy and the forces involved as I flew up to 14,000ft and jumped!
My experience in the classroom was nothing short of incredible. My teacher and supervisor were so supportive and gave me some great constructive criticism. The school where I taught has a tight-knit school community, and I met some inspirational people I will bring with me to the teaching adventures that await me post-graduation.
Going abroad to Australia and traveling after to New Zealand and Fiji gave me incredible opportunities to work on my photography, which I hope to one day consider a professional hobby that I can include in both my classroom and my personal life. My last two weeks consisted of a phone-less and relatively direction-less trip to New Zealand followed by Fiji. I knew I was going to get to the south island and travel for about a week, I just did not really know how. Once I made it there, I took the Magic Bus down the south island, stopping at a new destination each day. I met a wonderful group of people from every walk of life, from bee-keepers to environmentalists to musicians to doctors and lawyers, all ranging from 21 to 60 years of age. Finally, I caught a plane from Fiji on the 21st of December (at 11pm) and landed in Los Angeles on the 21st of December (noon).
As my parents helped to move me in to my apartment for my final semester at Boston University, my mom asked me if I thought the experience abroad was worth it and if I would recommend it to future students. Without hesitation, I told her study abroad should be required for all students. Going abroad is not only a great way to spend one of your eight semesters, but it is a temporary (or for some a permanent) life change that every student should take advantage of. The experience provides an alternative perspective, encourages an open mind and a new spin on the world around us. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore, dream, and discover.