Thursday, August 1, 2002

First impressions

So this is Australia--a huge, mostly empty island continent, drier than British humor, covered with vast forests of Eucalyptus, the “living matchstick,” and surrounded by currents of warm, clear water which bathe reefs of coral in the north and rock in the south. A country that still celebrates the Queen’s birthday as a public holiday but derides Brits as Poms. The vast majority of Aussies live within an hour’s drive of the coast and consider themselves to be an amiable distance from the rest of the world, which they regard with general detachment for the most part, except when riled up by the fact that they are distinctly ignored by it. They tread delicately around the raging issues relating to aboriginals and native islanders. In some cases the politics are so bad that a scientist was refused permission to study in a particular area because she was a woman, and it was disrespectful to the traditions of the local aboriginal tribe for a woman to be there.

It’s a good thing none of our marine biology program involves research in that region, as the participating population is over three quarters female. This exceeds even the girl-biased ratio in UCSB’s aquatic biology program, and can only be explained by a fact already known by the EAP office--more females than males always study abroad.

So get out there, guys!

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