Last summer, Evergreen Student Parisa Ardekani traveled to Bela-Bela, South Africa for ten days to learn how to raise, breed, and rehabilitate wildlife. Throughout her trip, Ardekani logged 80 volunteer hours, attending lectures on wildlife conservation, visiting Kruger National Park, and helping to treat a wide variety of animals, including cheetahs, wild dogs, horses and giraffes.
“It was one of the most fun trips I’ve taken in my entire life,” Ardekani says. “It also gave me more confidence starting the school year.”
Loop Abroad, a program dedicated to creating opportunities for college students to learn about veterinary services throughout the world, exposed Ardekani to the day-to-day challenges of caring for wild animals. Along with a cohort of students from the U.S. and Canada, she cared for the animals, cleaned their habitats, and helped ensure the animals’ overall wellbeing.
The experience inspired Ardekani to study abroad again and pursue a career in wildlife rehabilitation and biology. Once her education at Evergreen is complete, Ardekani hopes become to travel the world educating the public about conservation and endangered species.
“We should all be open to who we share the world with,” Ardekani advises. “The program really opened all of our eyes to what is going on around the world. Just the smallest of actions can impact not just wildlife, but the Earth as well.”
Ardekani hopes her fellow Greeners will also take advantage of Loop Abroad. She says it is a great opportunity to work with animals and be immersed into a new culture. “You learn to get out of your comfort zone.”
Learn more about study abroad opportunities at www.evergreen.edu/studyabroad.