REEF TIME: Danish exchange student at the Univeristy of Queensland, Laurits Hoejberg, is excited to be en route to Heron Island and the Great Barrier Reef.
REEF TIME: Danish exchange student at the Univeristy of Queensland, Laurits Hoejberg, is excited to be en route to Heron Island and the Great Barrier Reef. Nicky Moffat

Surf and reef in focus for Danish uni student

DANISH sports science student Laurits Hoejberg was in Gladstone on Saturday to catch the ferry to Heron Island.

Surfing and reef snorkeling will be just some of the activities the 22-year-old student will enjoy as part of his exchange program as he studies how the brain learns new activities and how physical movement helps the brain to learn.

When a course on Australia's Marine Environment came up at the University of Queensland, Laurits jumped at the chance to join and to explore the Great Barrier Reef at Heron Island.

"We heard it was absolutely beautiful," the young man said.

He was unnaturally chirpy for someone who had recently arrived from Brisbane on a 6am bus.

"The Great Barrier Reef is one thing we actually had to go and see," he said.

A group of 45 undergraduate exchange students were lounging like seals at the sunny Gladstone marina on Saturday morning, waiting for their 11am ferry to take them further afield.

Mr Hoejberg said he couldn't wait to explore the wonders of the coral reef with his snorkel.

"I'm also really looking forward to walking on the beach at night, and seeing the flourescent fungi," he said.

The students would each find something fascinating about the environment at Heron Island and study it, course tutor Benedict Yuen explained.

"They will do a mix of research where they'll work in groups," he said.

"But basically, they will go to the reef, find something they are interested in and study it."

Mr Hoejberg said his home city of Copenhagen was very different to Gladstone, but one thing that Australia had in common with Denmark was good surf.

"I've been surfing at some great places, like Burleigh Heads and Mooloolaba," he said.

The undergraduate student intends to continue his work in the sports science area through masters research at his home university in Copenhagen following his graduation next year.



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