Sunday, September 27, 2020

Australia's wildfires and study abroad: 'We're hoping we have a country to go visit'

January 9, 2020

With many education abroad trips headed to Australia in the summer of 2020, the fires currently plaguing the country are responsible for global levels of destruction. 

“We’re hoping we have a country to go visit,” said professor of practice in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations and academic specialist Greg Taucher. 

Taucher is leading a study abroad to Australia and New Zealand, where students will visit different agencies to see how advertising works in different areas and cultures.

The fires now spreading to different countries has been estimated to kill more than 11 billion animals, according to CBS. 

But current plans for Taucher’s study abroad trip to the area remain the same.

“It’s not like we’re going to a war zone or anything,” he said. “It’s unfortunate what’s happening down there, but you will find that human beings, we persevere and life goes on.”


Another trip to Australia is to study the business of the Olympics, where students get to see Olympic venues and their legacies in their locations. They plan to visit the sites of the 1956 Summer Olympics held in Melbourne and the 2000 Summer Olympics held in Sydney. 

Sherri Henry, the Director of the Residential Business Community, intends to use the opportunity for educational purposes and a real life example of how things can change suddenly. 

“I think it’s going to be a real-life example of how things can change in a second and how in business, we have to plan for risk,” she said. “We’re going to have to plan for things that might threaten the business.” 

While the fires are able to provide a unique educational opportunity, she said the main concern is the people currently living in Australia and making sure they’re safe. 

When visiting the country, she intends to find different community service events for her and students to engage in to help give back to the community hosting them. 

“Business leaders help the community, that’s just what we’re about,” Henry said. “We try to make sure our business students know that it’s not only doing business in a community, but because we are part of the community we’re responsible to take care of the people in the community.” 

Vast amounts of smoke have resulted in the skies turning shades of orange, red and gray throughout the region. 

“Last time I spoke with one of (the contacts in Australia), she said she had to wear a mask when she walked her dog because the smoke was so bad in Sydney,” Henry said. “It’s more of we care about the people right now, and we’ll figure out the program and how this natural disaster has affected business when we’re there.” 


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