Posted by Chris McGrath on Jun 20, 2018
I am Dáphine Carvalho Santos, I am 24 years old, I am Biologist, graduated in Biological Science and post graduated in Project Management and I live in Minas Gerais, Brazil.I participated in Rotary's NGSE program and I travelled to Australia to have a complete experience about Australian culture and value, also, regarding the practice of work in Biology abroad.
The exchange lasted 3 months and it was an amazing personal and professional knowledge that I acquired for my life. I worked for National Parks and Wildlife Service, in Hunter Wetlands Centre, in Shortland - NSW, it is very important and extremely recognized organization in which I was able to improve my techniques and significantly increase my knowledge about Biology besides working with a very competent team and live with my project supervisor, Kathleen Straw, who patiently clarified my doubts and shared her knowledge with me. I worked in a project about Pambalong Nature Reserve, investigating the feasibility of habitat restoration of Latham's Snipe, it is threatened and migratory bird species that used to use this Reserve as a place to rest and feed, I studied documents of vegetation identifying the casual factors of changes in that area over the years, principally analyzing the natural hydrological process in and out the Reserve, and thus, examined and planned the recommended strategy of habitat restoration, also as a part of the work, I assisted in the management of other parks belonging to National Parks.
Throughout the exchange I lived with three host families, the first family was Keith and Glenda Briggs, second one Barbara and Alan McLean, and the last one with Geoff and Judy Hicks. They were essential people during my exchange. The most important thing for having lived with them was to have known the country in a perspective of a citizen and not just as a tourist, therefore I went to the mainly touristic places but I was able to understand important historical facts that really represent the Australians as well as to understand in depth the Australian customs.
Having spent these three months getting to know about Australia and all significant aspects existent in this country it was a huge cultural learning for me, I appreciated the way that Australian people live and first of all, as a Biologist, having worked for National Parks helped to realize their incredible work that they do to protect and teach to people about the importance of the environmental preservation besides to keep the interaction with people that uses parks, reserves and all kinds of areas of environmental coexistence.
I need to say thank you for Rotary Club of Açailândia (District 4490) and to Rotary Club of East Maitland (District 9670) for this opportunity, also, to National Parks which gave me the chance to get all this learning. I appreciate all people that supported me and made this exchange viable and I thank the hospitality of my host families and friends that I had the pleasure to meet.