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Experience Abroad Proves Life Changing for Senior

Story by Meredith Ulmer '14

Studying abroad proved to be life changing for senior equine pre-vet and life science major Alison Vossmoore, who traveled to Australia and New Zealand with the School for Field Studies in Summer 2012.

The School for Field Studies offers programs around the world which focus on environmental issues. Alison’s program focused on Rainforest Studies.

Alison and her family have always been travelers. Having this comfort and previous experience, she always knew that she wanted to take a journey on her own during her time at Otterbein.

“I wanted to travel to New Zealand and Australia because of their endemic and diverse wildlife,” she said. “I also wanted to learn and get hands-on experience with their research methods and policies on environmental conservation.”

Highlights of Alison’s study abroad experience include being greeted by an aboriginal family in Australia, seeing a wild platypus and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. As many students do, Alison lived with host families and was fully immersed into the Australian and New Zealand cultures.

She explained that this immersion truly made her experience: “I was able to learn about their traditions, culture and history while hiking around their land. During many of our hikes, I learned about and tried wild, endemic plants. I also learned which plants had medicinal benefits, and I can attest to the fact that their koa koa plant is an awesome heal-all type plant,” she said.

Alison said her life has changed for the better having had the opportunity to form lifelong friendships and networks around the world, and encourages other students to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad.

“I would love to go back at some point, but I want to get a good job and see some more places before I do,” she said.