My name is Charlie Barchett, and I will be a sophomore at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. I am a Sports Communication major, and I am very excited to meet everyone from East Carolina. I ended up getting the opportunity to tag along on this trip because one of my professors, Dr. Pratt, is good friends with Dr. Warner. My professor forwarded an email from Dr. Warner that said there were a few openings left in the study abroad program, but I had only two days to respond with a definitive answer. I was still in limbo about my summer plans at the time, and when I looked up information about the flights, I noticed that some had a layover in Auckland, New Zealand. My cousin just finished getting his doctorate in Auckland, so after emailing back and forth with him and talking it over with my parents, I said yes to the program. Now that time has passed and details are set in stone, I am leaving the United States on July 1 to spend a week in New Zealand. I will tour the north island with my cousin before our study abroad trip begins, and then I will meet up with the group when everyone arrives in Melbourne on July 11.
As I stated in my first discussion board post, my knowledge of Australian culture is rather limited. When I think of Australia, I think of kangaroos and people with thick Aussie accents. I envision beautiful beaches and surfers everywhere, but I know that this will not always be the case. I came to these conclusion from television shows and movies, as they have spoon-fed me Australian stereotypes. In reference to sports, I know that some of the major sports will be different than those in the United States. For instance, my cousin who lives in New Zealand has told me what a huge deal that rugby is in that part of the world, and he even explained the intense rivalry that New Zealand and Australia have with one another in the sport. Although I am not certain, I would think that rugby is essentially the replacement for American football, just the same as one could consider football America’s replacement for rugby. Furthermore, I am very interested to observe the popularity of basketball. I would have thought that it was not all that popular of a sport, but from some of the information that I read on the itinerary for our trip, I am beginning to think otherwise. I reached my original conclusion simply because I have never heard of any Australian professional basketball leagues or players before researching our trip.
In order to make the most my observations at and about sporting events, I am very curious to see how the crowds will act at the different games. Watching the fans around me is simply something that fascinates me. I am curious to see if a rugby game will have the same intensity as an American football game, or if the intensity is something that I cannot draw an easy comparison to. In addition, I want to converse with several locals both at the sporting events and simply at the different locations that we visit. Getting to know the locals on a firsthand basis will be one of the best ways to experience the Australian culture, and it is certainly something that I intend to do.