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Junior Victoria Turbyfill working with animals in two different continents

Junior Victoria Turbyfill working with animals in two different continents

By Alli Bates ‘16

Victoria Turbyfill, a Zoo and Conservation Science junior from Otterbein University, is down under studying abroad at the University of Western Australia. Turbyfill was inspired to enter the exchange program by a friend and fellow Cardinal Mara Eisenbarth ‘17.

“She loved her experience and told us all about it. I knew for a long time that I wanted to study abroad and Australia was my first choice,” said Turbyfill. “Two other girls, Brenna McNally and Rachel Williams in the junior zoo class, are in the same exchange program as I am.”

Turbyfill explained how the application process is simple. It’s all online through the University of Western Australia's website. Students have to apply to live in one of the residence colleges separately from the university, which is different than American universities, but offers a way to be a part of the local community.

“I’ll be here for about four and a half month but it could be longer. I don’t actually know when I’m coming back yet. Australia is the perfect place to go as a zoo major since they have the coolest, cuddliest and scariest animals all on the same continent. I’ll also be interning at the Perth Zoo which will be a great experience by itself,” said Turbyfill.

Turbyfill said she hasn’t really run into any challenges yet while in Australia. She says everyone is super friendly.

“They have a ton of fun activities and formal dinners where we dress up for different themes. So far, everything has been a blast and I’ve already made great friends. Most people here are also exchange students from the United States or United Kingdom, but the Australian students will arrive very soon,” said Turbyfill.

Turbyfill’s favorite part of being in Australia is the people and the atmosphere. She loves being so close to a major city with lots of opportunities to have fun and enjoy the beautiful Australian coast weather.

Turbyfill was also a new volunteer at The Primate Rescue Center located in Nicholasville, KY earlier this semester. She was there in the mornings for meal prep, which consisted of chopping fruits and veggies for the chimps and monkeys, cleaned the indoor enclosures and helped with basic chores.

“The Primate Rescue Center gets donations from Kroger, so we had to sort and put all the food away. Everyone was super nice, answered all my questions, taught me a lot about the chimps and what running a nonprofit primate rescue is like,” said Turbyfill.

Turbyfill said she originally wasn’t interested in working with primates but she is now glad she joined their team. She loves the rescue and rehab side of her major. This opportunity allowed her to explore that aspect of her education a little deeper and learn more about where her career could take her in the future.


Learn more about Otterbein’s Zoo and Conservation Science program.

Visit The Primate Rescue Center website for more information on their facility and work.