ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Eckerd College junior David Milia can count a million reasons why he's choosing to spend his spring semester studying abroad in Queensland, Australia.

"Australia has always been a big bucket list country for me to travel to at some portion in my life," Milia said.

"One of my biggest inspirations as to going to Australia, especially up in Townsville, is to dive the Great Barrier Reef while it's still alive."

But there's one reason right now that could drive a tourist to stay home.

"I knew that there were pretty frequent forest fires on an annual basis, but nothing to the extent it's at right now. I was at a loss for words, honestly," said Milia.

An estimated 18 million acres of land have been destroyed by the brush fires, and a billion animals feared dead.

Not to mention the air quality is 11 times the hazardous level.

But for Milia, those are the reasons he's still going.

"It makes me want to be in Australia and actually be able to help to a certain degree by receiving some sort of training in what to do and what not to do, what kind of key behaviors we can implement as humans to reduce our impacts," said Milia.

Milia says he plans to team up with various organizations once he gets there next month to try and aid in the conservation efforts.

He says he wants to use this as an opportunity to learn about environmental impact, and educate the people around him.​