Now that we have moved on from Melbourne to Sydney it is time to look back and reflect on everything we saw, did, and learned there. We had two business visits, lunch with a Clarkson grad, a trip to the US Consulate, a coffeehouse, a brewery tour, a free day, and a trip to the Old Melbourne Gaol. Not too much right?
Not for us, we enjoyed every moment of every day, or at least I did. Melbourne is a beautiful city with many sights to see and no way to ever experience it all in as short a period of time as we had there. I believe we did get a decent introduction to the city and what it is like there, exploring a few of the factions of activities to do there.
Our business visits could not have been more interesting. Seeing the progressive technology at KGMB was fascinating, and completing the interactive activity they had planned for us really helped me to understand some of the process of the kinds of things they do there. I was very interested in hearing about the project they completed to revamp the NBA scheduling program, I would not have thought they would be involved in a project like that so it was cool to get to see just how far the scope of their projects are.
IBM was also a great learning experience. Touring their building you could really see the emphasis they put on collaboration, as it was at KGBM there were extremely few cubicle style desks, instead they favored more open floor plans that seem conducive for collaborating on projects. The gentleman we were able to talk to and pick his brain was genuinely potentially one of the most intelligent people we would ever get to speak with in such a candid question and answer forum. That was just one of the amazing experiences we are incredibly privileged to be able to have while on this trip.
I found the Consulate trip particularly interesting, I have always found foreign interactions to be a fascinating topic. The intricacies in diplomatic interactions is something I do not think many people appreciate and I found the people we met there were very good at explaining it on a level that was fairly easy to grasp and understand. Learning some of how the Australian public view and regard the United States was something I think more people should be aware and conscious of. I do not think as a country we always put our best foot forward which is a shame, considering then residents of foreign countries tend to agree with the stereotype that Americans are obnoxious excessive people.
The coffeehouse and brewery tour were cool ways to see some of the commerce that happens in Australia. I appreciated the ability to compare and contrast the business operations on two side of the coin, a very small make to order coffeehouse and a massive scale brewery providing beer and alcoholic products for much of the city and surrounding parts of the country. The brewery was especially interesting, seeing how their production cycle progresses from start to finish was really cool and helped for me to wrap my mind around the sheer volume of product they produce and distribute in a day.
Our free day was great too, now that we were comfortable with using the public transportation a group of us headed off to a smaller golf course for the afternoon. As someone who had never been golfing before I had an extra fun time trying to do my best to make it though, but all in all it was a very fun experience that was especially cool in that we travelled our way around a foreign country very easily and comfortably. I think if I was to highlight my favorite part of the city of Melbourne it would be the comfort level I felt from the first moments we were there. As time went on we only got more and more familiarized and comfortable making our way around however we pleased with little to no confusion, something I would not think was common for a large city.
The Gaol tour was an experience I found interesting if not slightly unsettling. The amount of history in that building is crazy, history you can feel as soon as you walk through the door. The experience of inmates there and the mistreatment and neglect was astounding, yes they all committed their crimes to their own degree but there are still certain rights human beings should be afforded, and the conditions and degradement that happened there are just unacceptable. It was a different time though, in what I would say was a different world, a world where people that were believed as lesser than others were deemed unimportant or useless to society to the point where they were no longer treated like human beings. I would like to think we as a society have learned and grown from that point to now where we understand the importance to civilized societies to treat even our prisoners with certain rights.