The end of day thirteen I mentioned I went to the Sydney Tower Eye with a few classmates for dinner. The dinner was a buffet style dinner on a rotating circle, 80 something stories about the city. It was a delicious dinner and the view was stunning. Sydney looked like it went on forever. Similar to the endlessness of the ocean when we went to the Great Barrier Reef, as far as you could see was city lights. It was absolutely incredible.
Day fourteen. The last day in Australia. I woke up to be at Paddy’s market right when it opened. I wanted to finish up my souvenir shopping for my family and friends. As soon as we walked through the outskirts of China Town we reached the market. When we entered the market the first thing we saw was colors. There was so much stuff!! So many shirts and suitcases and boomerangs and towels and literally anything you could think of. We spent about an hour or so in the market and I’m positive we didn’t even make it through half of the market. I don’t even know if we made it through a quarter of it. It was definitely an experience. I bought so many boomerangs, I might have actual bought Australia's entire supply. After the market we just kind of walked around the city a bit, got a bite to eat and headed back to the hotel to pack up before group dinner. It was nice to have a relaxed last day in Sydney and just take the city in.
After group dinner we all went on a mission to find a final gelato place. We ended up walking towards a gelato place that apparently didn’t exist. But Professor Ormsbee had us detour into China Town to try fresh cream puffs. Of course to keep with the theme of Australia never giving me a bad meal, they were amazing. I could’ve eaten 20 if I wasn’t so full from dinner. Then it was off to last minute pack and head to bed.
I believe the combination of the three cities we visited were perfect. They were all alike enough to give us the main cultural differences between Australia and The States. And they were all different enough that we could draw conclusions and hold each city in a different part of our hearts. Sydney was more bustling and formal. It held more “city-like” sounds and feel than Melbourne did. I never heard sirens in Melbourne and I heard sirens every day in Sydney. I barely saw construction in Melbourne, and Sydney was full of it. Sydney offered more to do but Melbourne offered more hipster, aesthetically pleasing ventures. Cairns was a paradise and built for the adventure of Australia. Getting around each city was easy. I was very nervous to use public transportation but to my surprise it wasn’t the nightmare I imagined. Sydney had more options for transportation than both cities but that being said, everything in Cairns was in very short walking distance and transportation in Melbourne was still readily available and easy to use.
Day fifteen, the travel day. I had no idea that flying back cuts 2 hours off the flight because of the direction. So the 13 hour flight back to Vancouver was a breeze. I had a window seat which I was more than thankful for when we got about 30 minutes away from Vancouver. Once we started to drop to a lower altitude “little” white mountain tops began to peep through the clouds. Soon they over took the entire view of my tiny plane window. They were breathtaking. When we flew out of Vancouver it was night time. I remember thinking the city lights of Vancouver looked gorgeous and I was mesmerized. The mountains topped that view, ten fold. We had to do a quick go through customs and get to our next plane though. I don’t know if I was thankful to just keep going through or if I would’ve wanted a little more down time off the plane. We’ll just go with I was happy we were getting home faster. The 4 ish hour flight to Montreal was a breeze compared to the last one. I admit, the last hour felt like it took forever. But I guess that can happen when you’re on your 7th plane ride in 2 weeks. After claiming our luggage we boarded the bus to go back to good old Potsdam. I was so happy to be reunited with my family. I’m not going to lie though, I think I already miss Australia.
I believe this experience is one of the most beneficial things a student can do. To be able to experience a different culture, and have an inside eye on several different international businesses is something not many college students can put on their resumes. The lessons I learned from the company visits and the advice I’ve received will help me not only in the remainder of my college career, but in my work force career. The cultural knowledge I have of Australia will help me in all aspects of my life. I think we can all take a lesson from Australia. Be kind and don’t take yourself too seriously.
The common theme through my entire experience in Australia was that we are all people. We are all the same. We are all on this planet to do one thing. To live. So why not make the most of it? Talk to people, listen to them, learn all you can and always lend a helping hand. Thank you Australia. You were everything I dreamed and more.