Amanda Freeman is a director with The School for Field Studies (SFS). She works in the Centre for Rainforest Studies, which covers 153 acres in the northern part of Queensland, Australia. Every day, she is surrounded by wildlife, nature and amazing students!
What brought you to be a Resident Director?
I had been an SFS faculty at this centre for several years when the Resident Director position became vacant. I was keen to take on a different role in the organization; one with more opportunity to facilitate SFS involvement in the local community and to play a greater part in research planning.
What are some unique aspects of your city and country?
Well, it’s certainly not the city. We live and work in a beautiful rural area surrounded by tropical rainforest. We’re also lucky to live in a very vibrant and friendly community. Of course our wildlife is unique – where else can you see platypus and tree-kangaroos for instance?
What is one thing most of your students may not know about you?
I once got lost on my own study site – so when I am drilling home those safety messages I am talking from experience!
What are some of your favorite aspects of being a Resident Director?
Every programme I get to meet another group of enthusiastic young people who are experiencing our environment through fresh eyes. It makes it seem fresh, new and exciting for me too. I also love working to find more ways that our staff and students and the local community can work together and help to make more opportunities for our students to be actively involved. On a day to day basis the work of a RD is also very varied; I’m certainly never bored!
What are some of the challenges of your job?
It is sometimes challenging to work with different nationalities and different generations. On the other hand, that is also one of the most satisfying and interesting parts of the job. Of course, being on the other side of the world in a different time zone I can’t just pop down to a HQ colleague’s office for a quick chat so communication is sometimes a challenge. Weather is sometimes challenging but we work around it.
What have you seen as the biggest challenge for incoming students?
A few students struggle to let go of home for a while. It is challenging for students to be fully involved in their time here while still trying to keep up with all their friends and family back home.
What is your advice for students planning to attend your program, or to study abroad in your country?
Like most things in life, you reap what you sow. Get involved, make the most of every moment – you may not come this way again.
What is one thing you think students shouldn’t forget to pack for life in your country?
Their sense of humour.
What do you think is the most important take-away for education abroad students?
Be open to new experiences and different points of view. Everyone has their story.
To find out more about Amanda’s program, follow this link!