Wow! What a trip. 3 weeks of adventure, business culture, learning, new experiences, forever friends, and Tim Tams. This trip was a trip of a lifetime, teaching me so much about independence, the “real world,” and checking off items on my bucket list at age 19!!! I LOVE AUSTRALIA. Australia is one of those places that has it all; ocean, rainforest, animals, cities, etc. I don’t think you could ever be bored there. My overall impression of Australia can be summed up in 5 words: friendly, bustling, lively, beautiful, and iconic.
Something I admire most about the people is how friendly they were! People were willing to chat with us and loved to talk about their country. For example, one day in Cairns a few of us took an Uber to a local waterfall (which was amazing!). Our driver, Mickey, told us the best places to eat, drink, and even see the sunset in his city. He was so passionate about Cairns and you could tell he was truly living a life he enjoyed. He offered to pick us up later for a discounted price so he could show us some cool spots. He took us to a field with around 200 wallabies in it! He also pointed out where he lived in the mountains and told stories about their culture. Cairns’ economy is based off tourism. They wouldn’t survive as a city if it wasn’t for the tourist business; local and international.
Melbourne, Cairns, and Sydney were all so different, yet equally as amazing! I don’t even think I could pick a favorite. In Melbourne I went to a variety of thriving companies such as the Carlton Brewery, KPMG, and IBM, saw the Great Ocean Road, the Melbourne aquarium, ate amazing food, and much more! In Cairns, I learned about the aboriginal people of Australia at Tjapukai, went snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, held a Koala, went to a local waterfall, and ate a ridiculous amount of gelato! In Sydney, I watched the start of VIVID, one of the world’s biggest light festivals, toured an Olympic stadium, went to the Sydney Opera House, visited extremely inspiring and successful business such as Employment Innovations and Cochlear, climbed the Sydney harbor bridge, and went SKYDIVING! One thing that’s similar between all three cities is how many Tim Tams we ate. There’s no way to even describe them, they are addicting! I bought 7 family size packs to bring home.
For the past 3 weeks I didn’t have cell phone service. My phone was on airplane mode and I would connect to wifi for a little bit each night to talk to family and friends. This is something I learned to enjoy. It was so nice not texting, receiving texts, checking social media, and not being distracted throughout the trip. I only used my phone for photos and it was so nice to simply enjoy every moment. Although sometimes data and service would have been nice, I recommend taking a break from it all and just living in the moment.
We were able to visit ten companies in these Australian cities; Carlton United Breweries, KPMG, IBM, Victoria Coffee Roasters, US Consulate Office, American Chamber of Commerce, Cochlear Hearing Implants, Employment Innovations/Employment Hero, Sydney Opera House, and ANZ Olympic Stadium. Each company was professional, inspiring, and passionate about what they do. Employees took time out of their day to talk to us and answer questions about their company. One of my favorites was Employment Innovations/Employment Hero in Sydney. We talked to Ben Thompson, CEO of multiple companies and startups. He chatted to us about his business journey, challenges, and rewarding successes. I was impressed at how passionate he was about his job and he even stated it was more of a hobby. In our modern world, you don’t find too many people that love their job. In Ben’s case, he worked hard and eventually found himself in a career path he loves.
Another one of my favorite tours was the Sydney Opera House. This is a landmark everyone knows of and is an iconic building for Australia. I was amazed at the architecture and it is just as stunning inside the theaters! Our tour guide, Nick was wonderful and explained the events they hold, costs of construction, and the history of this historical sight. The budget was originally $7 million, but ended up costing $102 million! That is crazy!
Getting around each city was different. Melbourne has a tram system, Sydney had a train and ferry system, while Cairns didn’t have public transportation besides a few bus systems. Everywhere in Cairns was within walking distance, however we did take the bus to the Aboriginal village! Our hotel was centrally located (and had ocean views!). It was lots of fun navigating the public transportation in Melbourne and Sydney. The stops were convenient, quick, and surprisingly clean! I noticed that the streets didn’t have many trash cans, however they were almost spotless. These two cities were bustling and seemed to be based on “take away cafes” in the morning, so I am still wondering where everyone’s trash went!
This was a trip of new experiences and adventure! The Great Ocean Road, Sydney harbor bridge climb, throwing boomerangs at Tjapukai, trying new foods, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, holding a Koala, and even SKYDIVING! The past three weeks have taught me so much about going out of my comfort zone, living in the moment, and experiencing these amazing activities while I am young! I am so thankful to be given these opportunities and memories.
Going into the trip I knew two students. Ending the trip, I knew 15! This was a group of individuals from all different backgrounds and social groups. However, we all have one thing in common: Australia. I have made amazing friends that I didn’t even know existed and could not have imagined growing so close to strangers in 3 weeks.
Overall, Australia has so much to offer and there are endless things to do and see!
This was an amazing experience and great business opportunity.
Thank you to the Ormsbee’s for coordinating and leading the best global business trip ever! Cheers!