In honor of World Oceans Day, we are re-posting Fulbright Alumni Ambassador and alumnus Marvin Alfaro’s article describing his Fulbright research studying the Antarctic Polar Front and Global Climate Change: Impacts and Implications. Are you a current Fulbrighter studying oceanography and/or related fields and want to share your story? We’d love to hear from you! Contact us here.
Australia is perfectly situated on the planet for me to pursue my atmosphere-ocean interaction studies. As an undergraduate meteorology major with a special interest in the Southern Ocean, I worked with oceanographers on projects analyzing the strength and location of ocean currents using remote sensing capabilities from satellites. After graduating, I became interested in combining the remote sensing data from satellites with high-resolution data retrieved on board a nautical research trip into the Southern Ocean. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provided just the type of opportunity I needed to pursue this unique cultural and research experience.
Initially, I expected life in Australia to be very similar to the culture and lifestyle I knew in the United States. But as a Latino and native New Yorker, I was in for a big surprise.
As a Fulbright Student, I lived with and learned from locals, allowing me to see the world through an Australian’s southern-Pacific lens. My Fulbright lasted a year, but the learning will last forever. In Australia, I realized how important Latin American cultures and cuisine are in my everyday life in the United States. Sydney is largely influenced by Asian cultures—Latin American influence is minimal. Before I arrived, I thought of surfers, beautiful beaches, and Sydney’s famous Harbor Bridge and Opera House. They were wonderful parts of my experience, but the Fulbright Program allowed me to experience everyday Australian life, not just see Australian landmarks.