I never thought that I would say this, but I think I found a country that I could live in outside of

I never thought that I would say this, but I think I found a country that I could live in outside of the US. Australia, it seems, combines the best of European cities (cleanliness, great public transport) with the rugged individualism of the US. Friendly, outgoing, and fun-loving, the people here speak honestly and bluntly while taking a genuine interest in who you are and what you have to say. They have no ( or very little) respect for the position that an individual holds. Rather, each individual is equal: simply because he is the CEO does not make his idea inherently better or worse. This has always been an American ideal, but the reality is much more rigid than I often choose to believe. I would like to think that once upon a time the US valued the individual as highly as Australians do, but perhaps I am simply yearning for a time past that never actually was.

One thing that I have picked up on is that they will argue to make sure that their voice is heard, but very little actually ever gets done. As one person said it, Australia is a very reactive country. Perhaps their individualism is to such an extent that they struggle to develop a cohesive plan of action. This is starkly different than Asia where the individual is virtually meaningless.

On Monday we toured the ANZ Olympic Center and the Sydney Opera House. I find it fascinating that Sydney is the only city that figured out how to make its center profitable, and much of the reason that they were able to is because they made it versatile for changes in attendance numbers, and because they went to the private sector. The Opera House was just as fascinating as I envisioned it. The architecture and structural engineering is truly a testament to the human ability.

On Tuesday we went to the AmCham breakfast, Employment Hero/Innovations, and Cochlear. If Clarkson students ever have another opportunity to attend another AmCham event I would highly recommend doing so. The presentation was engaging, stimulating, and forced me to think about things in a different way, even though leadership is a subject that seems to have been beaten to death by seminar after seminar.

At Employment Hero it was extremely interesting to hear about the employment laws in Australia. It boggles my mind how employers could operate in such a complex environment and how they manage to stay out of court. The complexities of the pay scale alone would be enough to scare me away. While it has certainly benefited the workers, I can’t help but imagine that the complex labor laws would be a significant hindrance to entrepreneurs if they were unable to outsource the HR processes to a company like Employment Hero.

Cochlear was my least favorite visit. Though it was very interesting to see the manufacturing processes of the hearing implants, the tour itself seemed to lack depth and did not really provide me with a better understanding of the environment within which they operate. Perhaps simply the right questions weren’t asked.

On Wednesday we visited AmCham, IBM, and KPMG. The visits this day I think were the best visits of the trip, but you’re gonna have to wait until the next blog to hear about these awesome visits.

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