On day 10, we left Cairns to travel to Sydney. From the airplane we were able to view the Opera House which was amazing. Once we arrived, we settled into our rooms and walked around the city to get a feeling of the culture. My initial impressions included being back in a city with everything that you could possibly want within a short distance which is what I like. There were many tourists and I noticed that people walked on whatever side of the street that they wanted compared to Melbourne where most people walked on the left side of the street. We went to the opening night of the Vivid Festival which had lights projected on the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, buildings, etc as well as themed music. It was an amazing sight and experience to see this light show and the crowds of people who all come to enjoy it.
On day 11, we visited the ANZ Olympic Stadium. This stadium was used during the Olympics for the opening/ closing ceremony, track and field, and soccer, however it is now used for many different sporting events, motorsports and concerts.
One of the cool things about this stadium is that it is the first movable stadium in the world meaning they can move full seating sections around, venues, etc. using movable cranes. They are also able to switch from sports to events to concerts in less than a day.
Our tour guide showed us the platinum seating and club boxes which was so cool to see. We were also able to go down to the field level and experience what it is like to come out from the locker room onto the field with everyone cheering for you. Overall this tour was very informative and great to see.
Day 12 was the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. Once we arrived at the facility, we were sent to a room where they make sure you are good to climb and then you have to sign your life away. We then moved into a room where they give you a jumpsuit that blends in with the bridge to make it less distracting for drivers on the road and you go into a changing room to put on your “cute” new outfit. You also have to leave everything your brought with you and can only take up glasses. In the next room we got to accessorize our outfits with “stylish” belts, hats, hankies, fleece sweaters, radios, and headsets. Then we were off to the training course before we headed up to the bridge.
The bridge climb started off very scary, but as we went higher up, it got a lot better. The views were absolutely glorious on this entire tour. The views were so amazing that it took away all of my nerves and fear. I am so glad I did this tour, it was definitely one not to miss.
Day 13 consisted of the American Chamber of Commerce and the Sydney Opera House tour. At the AmCham, we learned that its main goal is to provide access to opportunity and to facilitate trade. It focuses on US business in Australia and Australian business in the US. During this visit we talked about what would be the next biggest market that would be invested in. We learned that AmCham believes that China will be investing in Africa in the next 5 to 8 years. The reason for this is that when China invests in another country that country becomes a booming middle-class place and Africa is the only option left as China has already invested in all the other options. Also, we learned that the United States in the biggest investment partner followed by the United Kingdom, and then France, while China is the biggest trade partner.
The second business visit of the day was the Sydney Opera House. Our tour guide informed us that the Opera House actually has six different performance areas with more than 2000 shows and events held per year. These events range from operas to concerts to lectures, etc. The Opera House actually consists of architecture and styles from two different architects. The coolest part of the tour was watching and listening to Ice Cube’s sound check as he was performing there later that night.
Day 14, unfortunately, turned into a trip to the hospital around 3:30 am, however as miserable as this was, it gave me a chance to see the differences in the Healthcare system compared to the United States. In Australia, the employees were more laid back and friendly. They don’t typically provide testing for some sicknesses as if they believe you have something, they will just provide you medication for it. In the US they would only give you medicine if you tested positive for a sickness. In the end, I was disappointed to not be able to attend the Employment Innovations and the Cochlear Hearing Implants as I was looking forward to them, however it was important to rest and get better for our long flight home.
All three of the locations that we visited were very different although they were all in Australia. Melbourne was a large city with more business people than tourists and it had a hipster style of dress. During the week, the transportation and streets were crowded with business workers, while on the weekends it was a little bit more quieter. Most of the other Uni students that we met were from other countries and were on a student visa to study in Australia.
Cairns felt like being on a tropical vacation with a large amount of tourists. Restaurants, shops, and tours were all a reasonable distance from our hotel and this environment was very relaxed. The Uni students here were all on a couple months holiday traveling through Australia. This was also the only place on our trip that you were allowed to hold a Koala.
Sydney was another large city, but it was the first time on this trip where I felt that I was in Australia as they have the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. The roads were over packed with people, however unlike Melbourne, most people here were tourists on vacation. They had every type of transportation that you could possibly need. People waited in long lines just to eat at a nicer restaurant. Also, people here were always stylish and dressed up for every occasion. Sydney seemed to be the most high-end location out of the ones we visited. The locals talk about how huge of an area Sydney is for tourists and how they will try to avoid the large tourist areas during big times of year including during the Vivid Lights Festival.
Overall this trip to Australia was an amazing and a once in a lifetime opportunity. The experiences that this trip gave me allowed me to learn more about the culture, business, and tourist activities that Australia has to offer. I was able to try Australian cuisine such as crocodile, prawn, and kangaroo which would be hard to find in the United States. I was able to learn more in depth about how businesses function compared to the US. Also, I enjoyed the laid back culture and finding many other areas where Australia is very different from the States. All the hotels that we stayed at were extremely nice and fancy. I don’t think I can pick my favorite but I enjoyed the location of the one in Melbourne, I loved sitting on the balcony in Cairns, and the amenities in Sydney were great.
I don’t think that I could have picked a better place to come and explore and I am truly grateful for this wonderful experience.