Tuesday, January 28, 2014

SNRAS student broadens horizons in Australia

Natural resources student Paul Lambert can't think of one single thing that shines in his memories of his six-month exchange to Australia. "It all stands out," Lambert said.

"I would like to tell other students that international travel is not such a big deal; it's not intimidating as I had thought. It's very refreshing to find different perspectives and ways of thinking."

Paul Lambert at King David's Peak in Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania. (Photo courtesy of Paul Lambert)
He loved the unique Aussie expressions and intends to keep using some of them. "Throwing another shrimp on the barbie," is not one of those. In fact, Lambert said he never heard the Australians say it, just other exchange students.

"We had a lot of barbecues. It was warm enough to be outside." Often at lunchtime, the students would barbecue snags (hot dogs), lamb chops or roo (kangaroo).

Lambert particularly enjoyed watching footy, a cross between rugby and football.

When deciding on foreign study, Lambert chose Australia because of the common language. "But I thought it would be different from other places," he said. "It was excellent. It was not only fun but a broadening experience.

"It was similar enough I was comfortable but also very different." Classes were comparable to UAF, but Lambert noticed a lot more student involvement. "Yet students were very laid back. They didn't talk about upcoming assignments. It seemed less scheduled."

In the end, he learned that even with all that easygoing style, the professors graded tougher than he was used to. He studied at La Trobe University in Melbourne and lived on campus in a dormitory. The food had a definite Indian influence, with curry on the menu almost daily.

When he concluded his studies in November, his father, Steve Lambert, flew to meet him and they backpacked in Tasmania for a month. They saw wombats, a huge variety of birds and wallabies. Hiking trails often featured boardwalks or stone steps and sometimes there were huts to camp in. Since Lambert had worked on a trails crew in Chugach State Park, he paid attention to the trail system and appreciated the hard work that had gone into it.

Father and son quickly discovered that the ultraviolet rays are more intense in Tasmania. After getting badly burned they bought special sunscreen.

Happily back at his studies at UAF, Lambert said he recommends a semester exchange for everyone. "If your class schedule allows it, do it," he said. "I highly recommend it. I'd do it again if I could."

Paul Lambert and his father Steve Lambert on Mt. Jerusalem, Tasmania.

Wallabies (Photos courtesy of Paul Lambert)

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