Abby Daniel - CFANS Study Abroad Program
My study abroad experience in Thailand was the first time I’ve ever been out of the US, I haven’t even been to Canada, so I was excited and a little nervous at the same time, but I’m so glad that Thailand is the first foreign country I’ve ever been to. Just traveling to a foreign country in general can change a person, help them grow, but being able to study in one with some amazing people can increase that growth tenfold.
Academically I feel like I learned a lot about tigers and their dwindling populations and what researchers are doing now to combat that. I learned how to track tigers and measure their paw prints and identify if it’s male or female. We also learned how to mist net birds and take their measurements for population tracking, and that was the first time I’ve ever handled wild birds. Along with learning about the classroom subjects, I also learned a lot about the Thai culture, like how they’re conservative in some areas like PDA, and very liberal in others, like the transgender community. Along with some of their Buddhist beliefs what everyday life is like for the Thais.
While I learned a lot about tigers and Thailand on this trip, I also learned a lot about myself. After this trip I ended up changing my major from Animal Science to Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology (FWCB), with an emphasis on wildlife biology. I still plan to go to vet school as I did before with the Animal Science major, but the trip really helped me decide that I want to work with wild exotic animals around the world and not production or small companion animals.
From being in Thailand I realized how much I really loved working outdoors and how exciting it was to work in the jungle. I know now I wouldn’t be happy if I worked on a farm or in an animal hospital. I love to travel, and I want my future career to involve a lot of traveling around the world, and there are amazing animals around the globe. Receiving this grant allowed me to go to an amazing country and do amazing things that helped me learn about myself and what I want my future to look like, and for that I will always be greatful.