College '23 Elisa Kruse

SA: James Cook University, Australia


  • SA: James Cook University, Australia

Ask me about...

  • Being the only student from Penn attending my program

  • Knowing no one in Australia before moving there

  • Doing hands-on research through my classes

  • Getting a sense of what fieldwork looks like in my area of interest

My Experience Abroad:

Ever since I was ten years old I wanted to be a marine biologist. Studying biology and being involved in research at Penn got me interested in coral reef biology, along with my environmental studies minor which emphasized the importance of marine conservation. In my semester abroad, I was able to study marine biology at James Cook University, directly next to the Great Barrier Reef. During my time abroad, I took classes taught by leaders in the field, performed fieldwork on real-life coral reefs, and got my next level of SCUBA certification. This experience greatly influenced my career goals and reaffirmed my interest in marine biology.

Other Highlights:

  • Going on a field trip to Orpheus Island, a research station surrounded by coral reefs, to collect data for my Coral Reef Ecology class

  • Joining the JCU Dive Club and going on amazing scuba diving trips on the Great Barrier Reef

  • Living on campus with other international students and becoming great friends and travel buddies with my roommates

  • Having time on the weekends and during breaks to explore the east coast of Australia including Cairns, the Whitsunday Islands, Arlie Beach, and more

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