I went camping during my study abroad program at University of Sydney in Australia. This camping trip was to the Basin campground in Ku-Ring-Gai National Park arranged by the Myanmar Cultural Society from the university. It was during the mid-semester break, and the camping trip was both affordable and enjoyable. Plus, it was not very far from the city either!
Realizing who I am and how much I can do by going camping
We first went to the Palm Beach Wharf by car and took a ferry to the Basin Wharf where the Basin campground was located. The food and tent were included in the AUD $50 camping ticket sold by the Sydney Uni Myanmar Cultural Society. So, I only needed to bring a sleeping bag, a few personal items and some clothes. Nevertheless, all the participants on the trip distributed all the items we had among ourselves for carrying purpose while travelling around.
Throughout the camp, we had to take care of ourselves a lot more than we are used to during our university life. We have to be aware of our surroundings, wildlife animals, and insects.
I was very nervous before the trip because I thought the place we would be completely alone. However, there turned out to be other people camping in addition to a security guard, which made me feel better.
What I learned
From this trip, I learned that I really enjoy staying in nature as well as being friendly with various wildlife animals. I learned that I was much more capable than I had imagined. Although I had never been camping before, I quickly learned how to build up our campground and survive with what I had rather than I would like to have. Furthermore, I cooperated well and lived together with people I have never seen before.
There were a lot of things I wish I could have prepared before the trip; such as packing more food and bringing board games for all of us to play. But overall, I had really enjoyed that experience of camping in nature.
Why students should go camping
Students in general are always busy with schoolwork. Often, their only break is to go to social events at the university. Thus, I would suggest that they should also take a break into nature when they get time, especially during semester-break periods.
Especially because those between 18-20 are particularly curious, observing, independent and can endure most situations. Camping out in the wilderness challenges all of those aspects and questions a person’s survivability, and so, I believe that camping is very useful for people at this age to develop survivability and self-sufficiency skills. Striving to overcome those natural challenges would allow you to feel better than struggling to finish your assignment! Trust me.
Australia has very rich natural resources, which make it very ideal for camping. Camping together with others help you see how you can survive in nature both on your own and together. Exploring more about yourself and how you can deal with challenges from nature is the most exciting part of camping.
Thus, should you decide to go camping, let me give you some tips and suggestions. In terms of locations, I would say the Basin campground in Ku-Ring-Gai is the ideal place for students to go. It’s very affordable, close to the universities in Sydney and close to the beautiful and quiet Palm Beach.
Make sure to pack a sleeping bag to keep warm at night; a tent to protect yourself from insects and animals; enough long-lasting food not to starve and lots of sunscreen for your skin! If you decide to camp at a place where there will be wallabies, make sure to pack your food well or they will come and snatch it!
Phyo Thuta Aung is a Computer Science major with an Applied Math minor at Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster and studied abroad with IFSA Australia program at University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia in Fall 2019. He served as an International Correspondent with IFSA through the Work-to-Study Program.