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It was a typical fall day in 2008. My Chemistry class had just completed a lab when the next thing Ms. Fuller asked was if any of us would be interested in taking an educational tour to New Zealand and Australia. I thought to myself, did she ask what I think she asked? I could not wait talk to my mom about it.
I wanted to be part of this trip more than you could imagine, but I needed to know why my mother was so insistent. She said that besides an education, there would be no better way to prepare me for life. Not only would I get to see new, different and exciting cities and sites, taste food that I would probably never try, but experience local traditions. For a moment, I would become a part of another culture, and in addition, learn economic importance and social values. I would be prepared to live in a global society. She said that upon my return, I would be more prepared for adulthood.
In New Zealand I studied a glow worm cave. I visited a Maori thermal village and learned about their culture and history. I attended a Hangi dinner and experienced the crafts of local artisans. I attended a working sheep ranch to see one of the major industries in New Zealand. I went zorbing, shweebing and luging and had a blast. I visited Mt. Eden, an extinct volcano. I stopped by the Auckland Sky Tower, the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand with more people than in the entire southern island.
I left New Zealand and flew to Sydney, Australia. I went to Watson’s Bay; a cliff that resembles a horseshoe. I had kangaroo, emu, and crocodile pizzas. I toured the Sydney Opera House. Its architecture was amazing. Inside was the world’s biggest organ with 10,000 feet of pipes in the wall. I toured the National Opal factory. I traveled to the Wildlife Center where I got to pet kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, and Tasmanian devils. I ventured to the Blue Mountains where the eucalyptus trees throw a blue mist into the air. These mountains kept the British settlers from entering the outback. I stopped by an Aborigine village. The Aborigines are like our Native Americans. They owned the Australian land before the British pushed them out. I observed an Aborigine man playing the didgeridoo. A didgeridoo is one of the oldest wind instruments in the world. Needless to say, I bought one to take home.
I departed for Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. I talked to some Aussies who had never seen snow or talked to Americans. They thought their accents were boring and mine was interesting. I sailed the Great Barrier Reef; one of the seven wonders of the world that stretches from Australia to the Pacific Islands. Sadly, a hole in the ozone is allowing UV rays to break through our atmosphere and destroy the reef. The reef and all its beauty is expected to be gone within fifty years. I snorkeled for the first time. I rode the Kuranda Scenic Railway. The train took me over forty three bridges and through fifteen tunnels.
My tour came to a close. I was blessed to have experienced so many new and fascinating things. I learned by doing and now better understand the world. I encourage anyone given the opportunity to study/travel abroad to jump at the chance. I am proud to have been an American ambassador, and I believe New Zealand and Australia were proud to have me.