Back in Hong Kong

Wow… 3.5 months have definitely never gone by so quickly in my entire life! It seems like just yesterday I was flying to Australia, but I’m already in Hong Kong on my way back home.
I definitely could not have picked a better program for academic and personal growth, and I have no doubt that all of my experiences will stay with me for many years to come. For now, I am just focusing on the remainder of my journey home and adjusting back to life in the US without my study abroad group. There will definitely be a few more pictures to come of the last week of the program so stay tuned!

Finished!

After a couple of months of project development, four weeks of data collection, and one week of writing, I have finally completed my Independent Study Project final paper. All I have left in terms of academics is a presentation tomorrow morning. It feels amazing to be finished, but I can’t believe how short my time left in Australia is.

Cane toads are not the most photogenic creatures alive, but I suppose I would want someone holding me and taking pictures against my will either.

The top picture is a female cane toad and the bottom is a male. It’s hard to tell from these pictures, but the skin on their backs is quite different. Males typically have bumpier skin that is all one orange/brown/tan color, whereas females have smoother skin that is darker but contains more coloration patterns.

The arena where we tested our cane toads. After 4 weeks, this was the first time I saw it during the day since we only collect data at night.

Bye Bye Cane Toads

After four weeks, I have finally reached the end of my time with the cane toads. I am collecting my last set of data tonight, and then all of my time will be spent putting everything together in a coherent paper and presentation. 

I can honestly say that I have enjoyed working with cane toads and having the experience of working on a graduate level research project. It’s certainly a lot of work and definitely not something that can easily be squeezed into a four week period. I keep having to remind my advisors that no matter how many interesting questions are brought up during data analysis, I simply do not have time to look at them before my paper is due in a week. There is a part of me that wishes I did have more time to devote to this project, as it has been really interesting and there are more questions that I want to answer. Who knows, maybe some day I will accept my advisors’ offer to have me back as a graduate student. 

This weekend, I hope to be able to explore some more of Townsville. I haven’t been into the city much at all, but there are bound to be some cool places there. On Monday I return to Cairns for the final week of the program. As far as I can tell, almost all of it will be spent working on my paper and presentation. I can only imagine how hard it will be to concentrate and be productive once the group reunites after a month. 

Grace and me at the “top” of our hike

Vanessa with her birthday treat and our many cups of coffee

hanging out at the hostel