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A Dream Come True


Posted on October 4, 2015 by Thomas Rossman '17, a conservation and wildlife management major.

Courtesy: Thomas Rossman ’17 Thomas Rossman ’17 is studying abroad in Australia. Rossman is shown above with a cutout of his hero, Steve Irwin.

Hi! My name is Tom Rossman and this fall I’m studying at Griffith University on the Gold Coast of Australia. I’ll be here for one semester, and during that time, I plan to learn more about myself by accepting change, interacting with people from all over the world and trying new things. Check out my blog posts to follow along on my journey.

The biggest reason for coming to Australia was because it’s the land of my hero. Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, was the man behind my motivation to conserve wildlife. He inspired me at the age of 5 to want to work with animals.  

For me, the peak of my adventures here in Australia came just this past week when I entered the kingdom of my hero. I visited the Australia Zoo, “Home of the Crocodile Hunter,” and I couldn’t have been any more ecstatic.  

I was up bright and early to begin my journey. It was a three-and-a-half-hour public transit ride to get there. When we stepped off the bus and into the parking lot of the Australia Zoo, I began to relive my childhood, now with context behind it. 

“This is the main entrance! I’ve seen this on TV!” I exclaimed to my friends, who were definitely not as eager to be there as I was. 

As you go into the zoo, memorials of Steve are everywhere, whether it’s big pictures of him and his family or him out on an adventure. There’s even a statue of the Irwin family at the beginning of the zoo. As we walked around, I took pictures of all of the animals, as I’m still an animal lover at heart. 

After walking around, we finally reached the crocodiles. Their names were noted on plaques outside the fence. I started to recall some familiar names such as Agro, the big saltwater crocodile that Steve would feed in his demonstrations. 

The nostalgia hit me hard as I remembered waking up on Saturday at 8 a.m. to watch The Crocodile Hunter. It really hit me hard as I watched a croc feeding show, where they did the iconic routine of hanging meat over the pool and having the crocodile jump out of the water for it. I got to see the Crocoseum, where Steve would do his performances and where Bindi gave her eulogy to her father. 

I unfortunately didn’t get to see the entire zoo. I missed out on the African Adventure due to a heavy storm that rolled in during the last hour the zoo was open. But it was still the best experience of my life. 

In all honesty, this will be the highlight of my journey. Steve Irwin was my hero, and to have finally been able to visit the zoo that I grew up watching was huge! This experience has furthered my motivation to continue to work with animals, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to walk where my hero once walked. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Delaware Valley University’s abroad programs, you can find out more during one of our campus visits