STANFORD, Calif. Junior Bailey Yuro traveled to Australia for the fall quarter as part of the Bing Overseas Studies Program.
Yuro’s experience was quite different than that of the other five juniors from the Stanford Lightweight Rowing team who were abroad. As opposed to staying in one city and taking classes, Yuro’s program took her to several different places in Australia for 1-2 weeks at a time.
The group started in Sydney, taking an Australian Studies course for two weeks. From there spend time at the Heron Island Research Station, Moreton Bay Research Station on Stradbroke Island and finishing up at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.
A human biology major with a focus in genetics, Yuro chose the program in Australia because it is meant for human biology majors.
“Everyone who was there was human biology majors, but weren’t necessarily focused in the same thing,” said Yuro. “The program is focused more on marine biology. It was very much concentrated on learning to do scientific work. We did a research project to learn research methods and it was pretty much all field work.”
The nature and set up of the program, which is the largest of the Stanford abroad programs, puts a group of 48 individuals together for the entire quarter. They eat, sleep and work together every day. That closeness is unique because in the other locations the students have home stays where they live with local families and may have one or two others from Stanford with them.
“We did everything together,” said Yuro. “He had eight people to a room when we were at the research stations and stayed in hostels. Moving from place to place was a little overwhelming, but our entire group became really close.”
Yuro knew a handful of people in her group from class or the dorms, but after spending night and day with the other 47 individuals in Australia she now has a bigger group of friends than before.
“By the end we were all best friends,” said Yuro. “When you spend every waking moment with people for several months you really get to know them. I loved that part of the trip and it is great to see those people on campus now.”
One of the benefits of all the travel and spending time together was the group was able to see a lot of different areas and experience some different environments. They were able to go snorkeling with sharks, turtles, coral and fish at the reefs or walk through a rain forest.
“My favorite place was Lamington National Park which is a rain forest,” said Yuro. “We hiked through the rain forest every day and stayed in safari tents. At night it got pitch black and you can hear everything because your senses are heightened. It was really cool.”
All of the traveling left little time for Yuro to pursue a rowing facility. However, all of the hiking and snorkeling she did allowed her to keep active.
Even with all the wonders, Australia does have some danger, which Yuro and her class learned right away about the different life forms that make Australia one of the most dangerous countries in the world.
“When we got there one of our first classes at the research station was about deadly animals,” said Yuro. “It was powerpoint slide after slide of different things that can kill you. It wasn’t even like sharks but tiny shells that had creatures in them with poison darts. When in doubt don’t touch it.”
Luckily the group avoided the dangers of Australia, but another danger also existed that caught several members of the group by surprise.
“Everything in Australia is really expensive,” said Yuro. “People told me to be ready for that, but it still catches you by surprise. We were given stipends so we were going out to dinner. Then halfway through the week our stipend was almost gone so we started just going to the grocery store and cooking for ourselves.”
One other thing that made the Australia program different from some of the others was that there wasn’t as much of a language barrier. However, even though Australians speak English, they might speak in the local tongue that can be hard to figure out at first.
“They sometimes make up words by abbreviating words,” said Yuro. “For instance, they call cookies biscuits and then abbreviate that to bikkies. So many times they would say something and you wonder if they just made it up.
Before going to Australia, Yuro had never been outside of the United States. That was one of the reasons she hadn’t originally planned on studying abroad.
“I wasn’t sure it was something I wanted to do,” said Yuro. “One of my former teammates who had gone to Paris told me it was a really great experience and a nice break from rowing.”
The tutors at each location were usually young adults who were working on earning a Ph.D. Through their stories and experiences while traveling a lot, Yuro started to gain an itch for traveling more in her future.
“It really got me to where I want to travel a lot,” said Yuro. “Hearing about the cool places everyone has been to makes me want to see the world.”
Yuro’s recap of her study abroad experience is the fourth of six gostanford.com features that will chronicle the experiences of the six juniors on the lightweight rowing team who spent the fall quarter in the Bing Overseas Studies Program. Stay tuned to gostanford.com over the next week for the remaining two stories.