From Kyler Johnson on our first night in Sydney:
"Sydney provided yet another unique experience in addition to our days spent in Melbourne and Cairns. The city had more “neighborhoods” than either Cairns or Melbourne. Also, I think that Sydney had the best transportation system overall. Although it can be a little more time consuming to make your way across the harbor. The nightlife here also proved to be far stricter on things like dress code, especially right on Darling Harbor. All in all, there were plenty of options for food and entertainment in Sydney."
From Angela Johnson on The Vivid Light Festival:
"We crossed the harbor via ferry to get to the Sydney Opera House and I was taken aback at the beauty of all of the buildings surrounding it. You could tell the excitement of the people in the city to see the lights, and that got me also very eager to see what it is all about.
When the lights came on we were standing in front of the Opera House and watched in awe as it came to life with colorful pictures and scenes. Then we looked across the harbor and saw the lights of the Harbor Bridge and on all of the buildings. There was so much to look at I decided to move on and see as much as possible in the areas surrounding like the Botanic Gardens. A couple of people and I spent at least 2 or 3 hours walking around here and wherever the path took us, just soaking up the beauty of the lights. It was an awesome experience."
From Quintana Hart on Vivid:
"We arrived in Sydney Friday afternoon once we got settled we headed straight to the Sydney Opera House for the first day of Vivid Sydney. Now let me tell you... it was amazing! We’ve all seen pictures of Vivid online but it’s spectacular in person - the whole city gets involved and everything is just lit up!"
From Cheyne Voss on the company visits in Sydney:
"Day twelve we had two company visits. The first one was for the American Chamber of Commerce. Our speaker was very experienced in business and gave us a lot of advice. Everything he said had meaning beyond just dealing with the American Chamber of Commerce and really struck me. I could have listened to him for another hour or two, he had so much to tell and so many wise sayings and anecdotes as he called them. AmCham is meant to help businesses from America and other places in Australia. They have a very close relationship both the US Government and the Australian Government but they are not run by the government. They only deal with corporate companies and they offer events like networking, talks and parties all in the spirit of connecting businesses.
Our next tour was one I was so excited for; a tour of the Sydney Opera House. When we first walked it above us was the exposed concrete of the buildings unique structure. There were no support beams, the building is completely self supported which really surprised me. Our guide took us into the concert hall where there was an artist doing sound check..the artist was.. Ice Cube. I was astonished. It was absolutely incredible, we got to watch him do sound check for about 10 ish minutes. We then learned about the different types of events they can hold in the opera house. Events like weddings, concerts, children’s concerts, karaoke, movies, operas, orchestras , and even sumo wrestling. We watched a short video on the history of the opera house. Not a single person died during the making of the opera house which really surprised me. Then we were taking to another on of the theaters that was completely made out of wood for the best acoustics. The guide told us this is where they had their karaoke night of the Sound of Music and every one had to come dressed as something that represented the Sound of Music (lots of brown paper bags tied up with string). We then all met for a group dinner, which was delicious of course. I don’t think I’ve had a single bad meal in Australia yet, which I am very thankful for.
Day thirteen was our last day of business visits. Our first visit was to Employment Innovations where we got to meet with Ben Thompson. Employment Innovations mission is to make humans as employable as possible. We learned about Mr. Thompson’s journey to where he is today and he also gave us a break down on how Australia’s pay system/laws are unique compared to any other countries in the world. The fines for breaching any of the laws are strict and hefty. Employment Innovations main goal is to help companies recognize and reward their employees. They help with HR, payroll, employee recognition, etc. As we were leaving a guide took us through the office. I noticed on four of the doors they had their company values innovation, teamwork, ambition and service. There was also encouraging posters on the walls. I thought this was important as the company practices what they preach.
Next after a quick lunch we went to the Cochlear Hearing Implants building. When we first go there I noticed there was writing on the pillar. I looked at it to see that they were all awards that Cochlear has won dating back to 1986 all the way to 2016. It was amazing to see what this company has achieved. We were guided by an engineer through the process of making the implants. He was very informative. The implants take about 4 and half weeks to make and they go through a constant process of inspection to ensure the pieces are in tip top shape. The implants stay inside of the patient for their whole lives the only parts that are replaced are the external pieces. There is only a 1% fault rate for the end product and the Cochlear biggest market is in America with 40%. These implants help people to hear for the first time, or again if they lost their hearing through their live. It was absolutely amazing tour and our guide answered every question he legally could. We learned a lot in a short hour. To end the day I am going to have dinner with a few of my classmates in the Sydney Eye Tower."
From Josh Krog on the tours in Sydney:
"Lastly, the tours that we have done here so far have been a great taste of Australian culture. The tours in Melbourne and Cairns were fantastic, but I would consider them the tourist activities that anyone visiting Australia would have to try.
The Vivid Lights Festival is something that I am sure that I will never get to experience again and I am incredibly thankful that we got to see it. Not only was it amazing to see the city all light up at the same moment but we had the chance to explore and see the sights in two different ways; once at night and once during the day. Each exhibit, whether big or small, had an explanation about what that set of lights means to Australia’s history and culture. With the festival there were all sorts of fair type activities to do such as food trucks that offered food made locally, and unavailable anywhere else.
Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge came with a history lesson that was actually interesting for once, even if it was a bit predictable (seriously, when does a major public works project ever finish on time and on budget?).
Then came the Opera House. I cannot think of any one thing that is more Australian than the Sydney Opera House. It is the ultimate symbol of this country, and from what locals I talked to, they agree. Getting to tour this felt like a high school field trip on steroids. From learning the complicated history of the building, seeing the harbor at sunset, to watching Ice Cube prepare for a concert I really think that we got to see all that the Opera House had to offer."
From Ryan Cass on the Harbour Bridge Climb:
"While it was a little sad to leave the beautiful weather in Cairns, I was very excited to see what experiences Sydney had to offer... The following day, we climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The views from the top of the bridge are unparalleled and the history of the bridge was also extremely interesting."