My name is Tracey Page-Jones, I am from Brittany, in France and I will soon be graduating from a Masters of Protected Areas Management.
I have been studying at James Cook University in Far North Queensland for the past year and a half and have experienced the most amazing adventures. Three years ago, I finished my Bachelor in Information-Communication back in France and had absolutely no idea of what I wanted to do. As many young people, my partner and I took a gap year and decided to experience the Aussie way of life. We came up to Cairns, in Far North Queensland for a week, and fell in love with the area. I remember driving pass James Cook University and thinking « This is the perfect place to study! ». This university seemed so small, hidden between the rain forest and the mountains, there was a big blue sky that day, people were leaving the Uni with a pile of books in their arms, colorful birds were flying all over the place, it looked so peaceful and inspiring! I checked James Cook University’s courses online and I came across this Masters of Protected Areas Management. Ever since I was a child, I have been so passionate about nature, but I had never thought that one day I would be able to study in such a beautiful little university right in the middle of two World Heritage sites: The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and the Great Barrier Reef.
Francaustralia has been a big help and support for us, they have followed us in each step of my enrolment at James Cook University, and it was always a big relief to know that there was someone from your country, here in Brisbane, to help you and just be there for you.
As I told many people, it is an investment to study in Australia, but I like to see it also as a personal enriching investment. I have learnt so much, went on incredible field trips on the Great Barrier Reef, in the bush, went camping next to stunning waterfalls, went bird watching, wildlife night spotting, I’ve had all different sorts of adventures, adventures that I used to read about in books before. And one day, all of this came true! But most importantly, I had the precious opportunity to meet extremely knowledgeable lecturers, students from all around the world, from countries I hardly knew anything about. I built so many wonderful friendships, my friends here became a family, a family to spend Christmas with, a family that would support me, that would broaden my horizons, and teach me so many things about their cultures. And thanks to all those incredible adventures and people, I became a better person. It is a very big decision to make to study on the other side of the world, but at the same time it is an experience I would have never wanted to miss, and I would recommend it to anyone unsure of what they want to do – take a deep breath and just do it!