Joe navigates life goals and wine tanks while studying abroad in Australia.

Discoveries Down Under

During the fall semester of my sophomore year I hit a cliché, yet all too real, point in my college career… I realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. In my last post, I discussed how I was asked to create a personal mission statement that would describe the direction that my life would take in my Honors Pathways to Leadership class. This simple yet very important assignment triggered a series of internal conversations about my future. What field did I want to look into? How would I reach my goals? But most importantly… where was I heading? The short and unexpected answer was Mudgee, NSW, Australia.

After finally deciding to look into working on a vineyard and using Arcadia’s awesome College of Global Studies program finder, I secured an internship at Lowe Wines for the summer. At the vineyard, my major tasks included cleaning and sanitizing tanks, completing research on organic wine, and working in the tasting room during off times. I spent the majority of my time climbing tanks, drenched in wine, and avoiding the terrifyingly high number of poisonous creatures in Australia. Throughout this time I was able to think about my place in the world and where to go next.

A cluster of wine tanks.

A cluster of wine tanks.

I climbed a wine tank: here's a view from the top.

I climbed a wine tank: here’s a view from the top.

Gaining the practical experience of work on a vineyard while being immersed into a new culture seemed to be the perfect situation for reflection. While physically cleaning fermenter tanks I was able to transform my unknown passions into a goal to move toward. After learning that I enjoyed the industrial side of science I was able to make the most of my time on the vineyard, getting exposure to as many of the sides of the business as possible. My experiences in Australia helped me discover my passion for Food Science while providing practical experience into a trade that is often romanticized. After Australia I was able to secure an internship in the quality assurance lab of Yards Brewing Company, which ultimately led to my current research on fusel alcohols and esters in beers and now my spot for the fall in a Master of Science program in Food Science. Deciding to take the leap and spend the summer abroad in Australia was one of the best decisions that I have made at Arcadia.