Here are some excerpts from various students on their overall take concerning Melbourne and Australia so far:
"Melbourne was such a beautiful city with great food and such friendly people. One of the most prominent things I noticed when first arriving in the city i that everything was left oriented to the states being right oriented, meaning that people walk and drive on the left side compared to the right. This took a while to get used to, but after being here for 5 days I got it down. Another prominent thing I noticed about this city was how modern things were and how up to date the technology is. Being a big car person, this city is great because the cars are so much nicer here.
One of the company visits we took was to a coffee roasting company. This was a very cool visit because I was so unaware of the science behind coffee. Based off this visit there should be a college degree in coffee roasting. Another visit we made was to the US Consulate. This was a great visit learning about what actives they are involved in and how important they are to facilitating the US-Australia relationship.
The most prominent experiences I had here was talking to Australian kids. This is because just by talking to them I could gather information about their perception of us and they relayed a plethora of information I could never gather just by walking about the city.
On Saturday, we went on a tour to Phillip Island. The views, landmarks, and wildlife were breathtaking and such an experience to see. On our last day here, we decided to attend a AFL game, because we heard that this is a big part of their culture. Me and the others had a blast here and loved learning about the game."
"My favorite part of Melbourne was our tour to Phillip Island. We first went to a wildlife sanctuary and got the amazing experience of petting and feeding kangaroos and wallabies. They were as tame as a dog and would hold your hand as you fed them. I didn’t think anything in the world could top this experience.
But then we went to a visitors center overlooking the ocean with amazing cliffs and volcanic rock formations. That was the prettiest scenery I have ever seen in my life. They almost looked like the pictures of Ireland's rolling hills, and even better there were wallabies everywhere.
Finally our last stop was the "Penguin Parade". We sat on the beach and watched eagerly as it got darker and darker for the Little Blue Penguins to swim up onto the beach and march up the hill behind us. Suddenly groups of penguins showed up and would wait for each member of their little pack to get there and then waddled together. It was such a wonderful experience to get to see.
Another experience that was different was the footie game. It was Melbourne vs Carlton which was about the only thing that we knew upon arriving there. We got to our seats overlooking the odd circular field and tried to learn the rules as they played. By the end of the game we knew about ¾ of the rules I think. The thing that was the same though was the atmosphere in the stadium. People went wild for their teams and it was good to see that everyone shares that same passion for sports, and it makes a place like Buffalo look a little less crazy. A couple of us were actually yelled at by a Carlton fan because we were wearing Melbourne hoodies in the “Carlton section”. Overall, I loved the experience of being in Melbourne and I am excited to get to experience Cairns and Sydney as well.
"Melbourne is by far in a way one of the most cultural cities I have ever visited. This includes not just Australian culture but the cultures of everyone that has made this city their home. This includes those from China, India, Italy, and so many other places. A great example is the number of different restaurants that can be found throughout the city. Every where we went there were clusters of little restaurants in alleyways and small streets. Each and every one seemed to specialize in food from different cultures; you could walk into an authentic pizzeria while a friend goes into a curry place next door. Being able to walk down the street and pick out a place to eat was one of the best parts about this city. I think there was only one time where we actually planned out where we were going to eat. The food at each place was genuine too, which made everything all the better.
This isn't to say that Australians don't have their own culture; the footy game today makes that obvious. It is just that Australian customs present themselves in a much more subtle way than all of the cultures mentioned before. Things like local slang and even the way locals are friendlier to strangers make this country unique from the United States."
"If you take a step out into the vast city of Melbourne, you may feel as though you’re still home in the United States. Although when you step onto a tram and someone tells you to “mind your head”, it quickly becomes obvious that although they technically speak English in Australia, it is not the same language. This week I have learned that: a lift is an elevator, a pram is a baby stroller, thongs or maybe thumbs (I’m still not quite sure what she was saying) are flip flops and most importantly, after many conversations with housekeeping face washers are what they call wash cloths! The speech here in Melbourne has kept us all smiling as we’ve been told to “mind your step, or you’ll fall down a penguin hole”, “stop muppeting around”, and of course “wallabies like to have a pedal around in the ocean”. The last one of course shocked us all, who knew wallabies could swim?
Overall, my week in Melbourne has been quite an adventure. Day 3 included a scavenger hunt, also known as “chase Cordell”, where the Ormsbees sent us racing around the city to find historic landmarks and get us acquainted with Melbourne. Although I must say, Angela was the real MVP, she chased Cordell for hours in flip-flops. With so much to see and do, I have eaten at various cafes and restaurants, toured the aquarium, joined a day trip to the Phillip Island Penguin Parade, become an expert at public transportation on the trams and trains, stopped to shop at the Victoria Market, toured the Queen Victoria State Library, and even made it to St.Kilda’s beach. As my week in Melbourne comes to an end, I can’t believe how much we have fit into just a few short days and I am so excited about our next city, Cairns!"