Former Heep Yunn School student Katherine Kwan, 19, recently returned from a three-week trip to Australia, during which she took part in a two-week volunteer programme with Conservation Volunteers Australia, a programme operated by Hong Kong Overseas Studies Centre. 'I wanted to go to Australia and do something good for the environment,' she said. As a conservation volunteer, Ms Kwan spent time in two places in Australia planting trees, weeding and working on the land five days a week. She lived in a home with eight other volunteers. They spent their evenings cooking and getting to know each other. During her free time, she went sightseeing and spent time with her new friends. Ms Kwan said that, while the work was tiring and sometimes tedious, the reward came in knowing she was helping the environment. The work also taught her responsibility and discipline, lessons which she said she would take with her to university. It was the first time she travelled overseas on her own, and she said the experience had given her a new sense of independence. Living with and meeting new people also expanded her social skills. Ms Kwan is awaiting the results of her public examinations and is planning to pursue a degree in German studies at Hong Kong Baptist University.