Helen McCarthy Duke in Australia

Helen McCarthy

Class of 2018, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Public Policy Studies
Duke in Australia

  • Helen going for a swim in Darwin, Northern Territory.
Helen going for a swim in Darwin, Northern Territory.

 

Helen McCarthy is a senior graduating in May 2018, receiving a double major in Earth and Ocean Sciences and Public Policy Studies. The summer between her sophomore and junior year, she studied abroad with Duke in Australia. Here, she recounts the experience.

Helen going for a swim in Darwin, Northern Territory.
Helen going for a swim in Darwin, Northern Territory.

On how some of her ideas and perceptions changed as a result of doing this program...
“After Duke in Australia, I decided to major in Earth and Ocean Sciences. Before the trip, I was just a minor. I felt that I gained an appreciation for the environment by traveling around Australia.”

A nature hike in Kakadu.
A nature hike in Kakadu.

On why she did the program...
"I wanted a chance to go to Australia and when I heard about this program, it was the perfect fit! I would get the opportunity to explore the incredible country while doing what I love– environmental sciences."

On how her skills and knowledge have changed thanks to the program...
"I got a lot more comfortable in the field and became more skilled in field notes and field work. Spending a month in the field is excellent practice. Through Duke in Australia, I got to experience the outdoors and environmental sciences in a way that isn’t possible in a traditional classroom. The skills I gained doing fieldwork have translated into all other sorts of experiments and research on campus.”

Helen with a kangaroo in Darwin, Northern Territory.
Helen with a kangaroo in Darwin, Northern Territory.

On what surprised her about the program...
“I was surprised that I didn't get homesick. We kept so busy, and I fell absolutely in love with the Australian country. We spent as much time learning about the plants, animals and biosphere as we spent learning about the culture and the history of Australia.”

Helen’s view at the majestic Sydney Heads in New South Wales.
Helen’s view at the majestic Sydney Heads in New South Wales.

On how the program will play into the rest of her undergraduate experience...
“I was inspired after this trip. I ended up declaring as a double major in Earth and Ocean Sciences and spent the rest of my undergraduate experience studying what I was passionate about – geology. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I had to study in Australia with Professor Glass and my incredible classmates.”

Helen and a fellow student in Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales.
Helen and a fellow student in Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales.

On how the program affected her career interests...
“I think travel needs to be a part of whatever job I have after graduation. Additionally, I am interested in pursuing a job in environmental policy.”

Helen with a koala at Featherdale wildlife park.
Helen with a koala at Featherdale wildlife park.

On advice she has for students considering the program...
“Take the leap and do it! I would highly recommend the program. It was one of the best decisions I made during my Duke career. Not only did I find what I was passionate about, but I got to spend a month in a foreign country learning about its history and its people. Exposure to different cultures and ideas was crucial in my development as a Duke student. I came back from the trip with a newfound excitement about my education.”

 

Programs Featured:

Duke in Australia

 

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