Melbourne as a city reminds me of a significantly nicer and more friendly New York City. Was beautiful, modern and well organized. The city also had the vibe of being younger and more adventurous than any city in the United States, probably because it was more carefree. My favorite thing to do in Melbourne was just to wander around and see what I could find, though the business trip and organized excursions were good too.
The first thing that we did when we got to Melbourne was the Great Ocean Road tour. It was a bus tour that took us to some of the best spots along the Great Ocean Road as well as seeing some other less known little beach towns.
The first stop was of course the 12 Apostles, though there are really only 8 left. They were absolutely breathtaking. They looked just like a postcards, it was spectacular to see a geological wonder like that. In addition to the Apostles, we also went to a cove where a shipwreck happened back in the 1800s, it was a beautiful beachy cove with lots of caves to explore. Along the rest of the tour, we also did a rainforest walk in which all of the girls took pictures in the enormous Monash trees. Finally, we continued down the very curvy end of the Great Ocean road, stopped in Apollo Cove to get gas and for me to buy a pair of shoes in 15 minutes, that’s skill. We ended the night eating pizza on the beach watching the sunset.
While in Melbourne, we went to four business visits, not including the time at Monash University. We toured IBM, Toyota, the US Consulate Office and KPMG. IBM and KPMG were very similar in how they both had agile workspaces and were constantly looking forward to see where the market was going to be going next. IBM was looking to artificial intelligence and KPMG was looking to more efficient business solutions based on data analytics in the future. Toyota was a contrast to both IBM and KPMG because Toyota is actually closing the plant that we toured because it has gotten to expensive to manufacture in Australia. In addition, we visited the US Consulate Office. This was also different from the previous business visits because it is not a traditional business, it's top priority is not for profit, but to help American Citizens in foreign countries. The presentation was very interesting because students are often not exposed to careers as foreign diplomats and therefore do not know a lot about them so the tour was very informative. Finally, we visited Monash University and participated in a Foreign Exchange exercise with some of the MBA students, this was interesting because we got a different perspective on how university classes are run differently in a different country.
In addition to the business visits, we also had the opportunity to do a couple touristy things. One of these was the Old Melbourne Gaol ghost tour. This was extremely interesting because we were allowed to enter the jail at night and have a tour guide lead us around the jail in the dark to tell us ghost stories that have happened there. I only with the tour had a bit more of a historical background to it. In addition to the Gaol tour, we also went to the Carlton Brewery for a tour of the beer making and bottling processes. This was very interesting for me because although I have been on brewery tours before, I had not gotten to see the bottling process, the dinner at the end of the tour was also very good. Finally, in my free time in the city I wandered around finding absolutely enormous malls to get lost in and little arcades (small indoor shopping malls) to explore and find cool souvenirs to bring home.
Overall, Melbourne was a wonderful Australian city to learn about and explore. The people were all very friendly, though there is a massive Asian culture influence here, and the city had so many different things that you could explore and experience.