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WORLD EXPLORERS: Sophomore discovers Australian Outback

Sophomore+Katie+Knowlson+spent+three+weeks+in+Australia+and+went+to+many+places%2C+including+the+Sydney+Opera+House.+%28Courtesy+Photo%29+
Sophomore Katie Knowlson spent three weeks in Australia and went to many places, including the Sydney Opera House. (Courtesy Photo)

Sophomore Katie Knowlson spent three weeks in Australia and went to many places, including the Sydney Opera House. (Courtesy Photo)

Sophomore Katie Knowlson spent three weeks in Australia and went to many places, including the Sydney Opera House. (Courtesy Photo)

Sydney Fetters, Staff Writer

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From Australia’s sun-bleached plains, breathtaking coast and unique wildlife, it’s no wonder sophomore Katie Knowlson chose the world’s largest island as her summer getaway.

The idea of going to Australia was first introduced to Knowlson once she saw the trip advertised in a National Geographic Expedition Magazine during the last few weeks of her freshman year. The trip’s advertisement included how it would be thrilling and also help advance the understanding of the planet and its inhabitants.

Shortly after reading the article, Knowlson said she knew she had to experience it herself. From there, she sent in her request form, which marked step one in the process of her future trip that would begin in late June.

Her adventure continued like anything of that sorts would, with endless packing and planning. But once aboard the plane in late June, the only thing she was focused on were the next three weeks that were planned ahead of her.

When Knowlson finally landed in Australia along with the group of other teens, her time there wasn’t just spent laying by the poolside. She visited cities like Sydney, Alice Springs, Cairns, and the Daintree Rainforest.

A special addition to the expedition were the “on assignment projects.”

Each person chose either photography or wildlife conservation as her area of focus. Each city Knowlson traveled to, she delved further into her understandings of these areas.

This was the underlying basis of her trip.

One example of those experiences were new people.

Knowlson described the locals and other tourists as “some are rude, but others are extremely nice.” She went on to say, “They are also all really careful drivers.”

Not only did she get a feel for what Australians were like, she got to meet people from other parts of the world who were in her group. Some were from the UK and even a few from China.

In the city of Cairns, Knowlson went swimming in the clear blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef, which was the highlight of her trip.

If she could relive any moment from Australia, she said that this would hands down be the one.

“I loved learning about the coral bleaching that happens here,” Knowlson said. “It really interested me, and I also enjoyed seeing so many fish and sea turtles.”

Knowlson also said she loved swimming with all of the aquatic creatures in Australia’s salty waters but also enjoyed the notorious outback, where she was guided through the ancestral lands and slept under the stars.

“I liked staying in the outback because you didn’t have to worry about what you looked like and what you were wearing,” Knowlson said. “You were just focused on having fun.”

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