Studying with Round River in Namibia changed my life. As an impressionable sophomore I was looking for a different experience to balance out hours in seminars and libraries. While I knew little of where I was going, or what to expect, I had a keen interest in challenging myself and learning about the world around me: the two most important qualities a Round River student can possess.
Three months living and studying in Namibia introduced me to a life of long days, hot sun, striking landscapes and wildlife I had only read about it. That semester was to be, far-and-away, the most important time of my undergraduate education.
After college, I returned to Namibia to assist Round River on two semesters, helping guide student researchers through their own transformative experiences, living and studying in tents and outdoor classrooms – the most valuable kind.
My experience working in Namibia helped me secure a position with the US Fish and Wildlife Service at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska on a brown bear population survey project. The lessons I learned and implemented with Round River have continued to serve me well, on conservation and outdoor adventure pursuits in Colorado, Utah and Maine.
I have since returned to school, this time in pursuit of an MSc in Conservation Biology at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. It was precisely because of the people with whom I had worked in Namibia that I chose this school.
I recognize that, had I not responded to a flier that March morning of my freshman year, my life would have been very different indeed (I might still be working in politics, yikes). I took a chance on the unexpected and Round River helped me realize a life I would never have imagined. I couldn’t be happier.