I do not know what exactly I expected when I accepted the offer to travel for two weeks through South Africa and study environmental management, but I was more than pleasantly surprised. Everywhere I looked there was constantly new environmental stimulation. This was through various tree, bush, succulent, and floral species, in addition to various large game, birds, and rodent life seemingly all over the place. I remember the first moment we drove through the Kruger National Park and we saw our first big game mammal, an elephant. It was breathtaking because these are the normal wildlife that has to be dealt with in their climate; it was absolutely incredible.
Throughout the course of our two weeks in the country, I learned so much from the professors that went along with us from SPEA, and we were all incredibly grateful to the three professionals that assisted us in our time there. Our guide, former game ranger and environmentalist, and a second (PHD) environmentalist provided a local perspective with the scientific context that we never could have gotten elsewhere. Upon completion of our course, I can now say that I understand the local needs of the area a lot more than what generalities (and often incorrect misconceptions carried out through poor policies) are portrayed in the global news. South Africa and the entire continent needs the re-evaluation and new creation of wildlife policies that are actually sustainable and realistic for the continent and wildlife.