Monthly Archives: June 2015

Goodbye Australia

June 21, 2015

Chris Banks

Chris Banks; Management; Senior; Washington, NC

Unfortunately the time has come to leave Australia and head home to the states.  That day started off extremely early with the sound of my phone alarm chiming at 2:45 am.  I opted to pack in the morning because I was exhausted that night and knew I had time to rest on the many plane rides we were scheduled to take that day.  Heading over to Australia was not that bad because everybody was fueled with excitement.  On the way back to the states however, the plane rides were not as exciting as I came to the realization that it was time to head back home.

The trip home required a total of 4 flights, going to Australia we lost a day, but coming home we all gained a day.  We arrived at Cairns Airport at 4:30 am and departed at approximately 6:00 am en-route to Brisbane Airport.  After the 2.5 hour flight we arrived in Brisbane and gathered our bags and headed through customs.  After everyone made it through customs we boarded the plane and began the 12 hour flight over the Pacific Ocean to Los Angeles, CA.

After watching way too many movies and being way too stiff and sore we finally arrived in LAX at 6:25am.  I was kind of nervous as to whether everyone would make it through Customs and Border Protection in time to board our next flight.  This nervousness was amplified by the lack of sleep too.  Luckily, the staff at the airport greeted us with passes to by-pass the long lines because we had about 2 hours until our flight left for Dallas, Texas.  After successfully getting through Customs and Border Protection, I decided to get some Bugles and a Coke to prepare for the next flight. Two down and 2 to go, we finally departed from LAX at 8:35 am and arrived in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas at 1:45pm.  Of all the flights that we took over the 2 week period this, for me, was the worst one; I was exhausted but could not get comfortable enough to fall asleep.


We are so close to being home, well sort of.  In Dallas Fort Worth, Texas we had about 5 hours until our next flight.  I was excited about finally getting some rest.  I was able to find a TV to plug my headphones and nodded in and out for about 30 minutes.  Realizing that I wasn’t able to sleep I got an energy drink and drank as I wandered around the airport.  That is what I needed, as we were waiting for our next flight. I’m not sure if everyone was delusional due to the lack of sleep but time flew by because we all were laughing at everything and having a good time.  Finally, we boarded our final flight at 5:50 pm en-route to our 2.5 hour flight to Raleigh Durham, NC.  Fortunately, I was able to have the whole row to myself and was finally able to get some rest.  I awoke to the sounds of the flight attendants preparing the cabin for landing.  Then I realized we had finally made it back home safely.

Great Barrier Reef

Sam Dugdale

Sam Dugdale

Today we visited the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, Australia. We sailed out to the reef in a huge catamaran that had a big deck in the front so we could lie out and get the best experience as possible. The ride out was about an hour and a half and by the time we got there I was already sunburnt, so I needed to keep the lotion on. Australia is known for bad cases of skin cancer, so I didn’t want to risk that! As we sailed closer to the island, the crew fed the fish on the left side of the boat and we got to see the most colorful and fluorescent fishes. The water was crystal clear and I was eager to jump in right away. A beach buggy pulled up next to the boat and we all got on and were ready for snorkeling.

Swimming in the Great Barrier Reef was one of the coolest things that I have ever done. An experience I will never forget. With my GoPro in hand, I was kicking my fins and snapping pictures of the most beautiful marine life in the world.

Sam Dugdale -Great Barrier Reef

Fish, sea turtles, and giant clams filled up my view of what was truly amazing. The reefs were bigger than I had expected them to be, and the floor of the ocean sometimes reached more than twenty-five feet. We snorkeled for about 2 hours but time stood still and it felt like a lifetime that we were out there. When we got back on the catamaran we were served a nice buffet style lunch which consisted of rice, chicken, beans, salad and beverages. The sunset on the ride back to shore was breathtaking and pictures did it absolutely no justice. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most amazing places in the world and I advise everyone to visit if they can!

Great Barrier Reef

This trip to Australia was life changing and I encourage everyone to take this opportunity if it is given to them. Australia is a beautiful country that is filled with some of the nicest people that I have ever met. I will never forget the experiences in Australia for the two weeks I studied.

The Australian Rainforest

Hunter Chapman

Hunter Chapmon: Management; Senior; Durham, NC

When we left the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, we took the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway over the adjacent Barron Gorge National Park. The cable cars hold up to six people and provide exquisite views of Australia’s tropical rainforest. We rode through the mountains for about an hour and a half, stopping at a couple lookout points within the forest. Eventually, we reached Kuranda, a unique village in the middle of the rainforest.

At Kuranda, there are a few restaurants as well as many shops to get Aboriginal/rainforest souvenirs. A few of us decided to instead take a riverboat cruise down the Barron River. The river runs through the rainforest and allowed us to get much closer to some of the wildlife. We fed fish and ducks, and we also saw many other animals such as turtles and crocodiles.

Australian Rainforest

The tropical rainforests of Australia are the oldest surviving tropical rainforests on the planet, dating back over 120 million years. They have shrunk significantly in size over the years, but are still extremely diverse and home to many interesting species. Hundreds of rare plant species can be found in these tropical rainforests, as well as thousands of others. They are also home to various types of kangaroos, including two types of tree kangaroos and the most primitive – the Musky Rat Kangaroo. Another unique creature found in the forest is the Southern Cassowary, Australia’s largest flightless bird.


The rainforest was definitely one of the best parts of the trip, right next to the Great Barrier Reef. In 1998, the tropical rainforests of Australia were added to the World Heritage list, ensuring their protection and preservation. Neither words nor pictures can do justice to the beauty of Barron Gorge National Park, but it was definitely an experience I will not soon forget.

Australian Zoo

June 16, 2015

Brisbane, Australia

Cara Leeney

Cara Leeney; Marketing; Senior; Munster, IN

On our first free day in Brisbane a group of classmates and I visited the

Australia Zoo, BrisbaneAustralian Zoo, home of Steve Irwin! I was excited for the visit because it had been awhile since I’ve been to a zoo and I love animals. Once arriving, I was surprised and pleased to see how much the zoo kept Steve Irwin’s life and memory alive.

We spent the day observing different animals from around the world and attending informational shows. Each of us even got an individual experience with an animal of our choice. Three of the girls and I fed a baby giraffe and got a picture with her. She was so sweet and her markings were beautiful. I’ve never been that close to a giraffe before, so it was a cool experience to see how beautiful of an animal they really are. For being such a young giraffe she was already 11 feet tall!

Afterwards, we attended the Wild Warriors show. It showcased different exotic birds and of course, Steve Irwin’s favorite the crocodile! Birds from around the world soared through the audience while the trainers spoke about each one. It was cool to see how smart and well trained the birds were. The crocodile portion of the show was actually a little scary! The crocodile was huge and the trainers got so close to it feeding it.

Crocodile Feeding

All in all, it was a really fun day and I was happy with my decision of the free day.

Group photo at zoo

Free Day in Brisbane


Brandon Jenkins

Brandon Jenkins; Finance; Senior; Culpeper, VA

One of our last free days in Brisbane, Australia unfortunately started out as a rainy day but we still managed to get out and explore around the area some. Since we were on the go all the time, on the free days, we wanted to just take it easy and relax but with so many different things to do, we powered through it. Most of the group went to the zoo, but a small group of us stayed in the city to do some things around there.

To start out, we walked down to the Botanical Gardens, where we saw amazing landscaping while walking on a pathway down by the river. I was very surprised to see that a lot of people walking there were in business attire.  It seemed as if they were all taking walks while on their lunch breaks or on some sort of break.Botanical Gardens, Brisbane It was around noon when we were walking through it and there was a big group of people playing a pick up game of rugby. Along with seeing people all around being active and enjoying the gardens and fresh air, they had public bike stations set up all up and down the path for rent.  It was free once you bought the one time 2-dollar membership pass. While walking down the side of the river, we could see some cliffs on the other side. So with it being a free day and nothing planned, we decided to figure out a way to get to the other side and look around there some. Once we finally made it over to the cliffs, we found out that it was called Kangaroo Point.  It was a set of cliffs that was open to the public to go rock climbing on or repelling down. They made it so you could start at the top or bottom of the cliffs, which made for some great spots to take pictures of the city. It was mainly back on the other side of the river.

Kangaroo PointWe walked around the cliffs for a while and then talked to some locals.  We made our way to the City Hopper, which was a free ferry that dropped us off at different locations along the river. Although we didn’t have any activities planned to start the day, we were easily able to find plenty of interesting things to go out and do. Finally getting back to the room around five o’clock, I relaxed some before most of the group met back up for dinner, where we talked about the different things each other did. Overall the day turned out great, even though it started out a little rainy.  It was great to be able to just explore around the city on our own.

Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise

June 14, 2015

Brisbane, Australia-Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise

Jessica Holland

Jessica Holland; Management and Sociology (Double Major); Junior; Eden, NC

Today was our first full day in Brisbane, Australia and it was a free day. We were free to do whatever we wanted so being the adventurous teens that we are we decided to go to the beach. Almost everyone in the group wanted to visit the Gold Coast so our amazing bus driver, Cam, made it happen. When we started to leave the apartments, it was so rainy and awful outside but we stuck to our guns. We were going to the beach!

Ten after Ten, we finally arrived. The sun was beginning to come out and everyone was jumping to get out of his or her seat. First stop: surf shop of course! All of the guys and some of the girls wanted to try surfing, however, that’s not the best idea for a clumsy person like myself. So a couple girls and I went to the dollar store just down the strip and bought towels and tank tops that screamed ‘tourist’. Is there any other way to act in another country?

After finishing up with shopping and renting surfboards, it was a beeline to the beach for us. The surfers in the group quickly got the boards and headed out into the water. Keep in mind it was not the best weather for a beach day, let alone surfing for beginners but they went anyway. The sunbathers or attempted sunbathers (me) put out towels and basked in the beauty that is Australia. If you are anything like me, I get bored easily. The clear blue water and probably dangerous Australian wildlife was calling my name. A few of us headed for the water’s edge, which was awfully cold unfortunately. Some turned back but did I? Absolutely not. I’m in Australia; I’m getting in the water. Thankfully for me, the further out the warmer it became. It was only the surface that was cold and uninviting.

Gold Coast

One other girl and I probably floated around for a good thirty minutes. I would have stayed longer but as mentioned earlier; that weather created a nasty riptide that was quite a workout. I have experienced a pretty bad riptide before and they are not fun and not exactly safe. Of course being the rebellious teens that we all are, we were swimming outside of the flags, which means outside of the area patrolled by the local life savers (Australian version of life guards). After an exhausting swim we packed up and headed to another beach!

Our second stop: Surfer’s Paradise. Trust me, the name says it all. Everyone was drooling because it was that wonderful. I am 98% sure we are all going in on a house and moving there in the near future actually (just kidding, Mom). In all seriousness, Surfer’s Paradise was nothing short of perfect. Our time there was short but our memories will last a lifetime. Who knows though, reunion in five years guys? I’m in!

Surfer's Paradise Coastline


Surfer's Paradise

Arriving in Cairns

June 18, 2015

Cairns, Australia

Sarah Glave

Sarah Glave; Accounting; Junior; Charlotte, NC

 As we exited the plane from Brisbane I could instantly tell we were in a city that would be completely different from Sydney and Brisbane. A large sign hung in the entry of the airport saying “Welcome to Cairns” and the excitement of a new city hit me. The smell of saltier air and the humidity was a relieving shock as we left the rain in Brisbane and Sydney and entered a warmer city in Australia.

We quickly retrieved our luggage and headed to the hotel. Once we arrived, we had a little hiccup there (Mantra Trilogy), and our rooms for the night were not booked. After some angst we were able to find enough rooms for the night at the hotel and were also compensated with pizza and pasta at a local restaurant. To say the least, the group was happy for a delicious, paid-for meal together. Overall, the little ordeal made for a good story and everything worked out in the end. I also want to mention the food here, because it has been so delicious! The prices on the menus aren’t as low as in the United States, but the quality of the food is so high. I have not eaten a meal that I haven’t enjoyed yet.

Cairns, AU

After dinner we headed to the local Night Markets, which were similar to a flea market you would see in the USA. There were rows among rows of small open stores; it had everything from trinkets and souvenirs to food and massages. The massages were very interesting to see … they were very inexpensive ($15) for a 40 minute massage and dozens of people were laying on tables and sitting in chairs waiting for their massages to begin. I personally didn’t get one, but other members of our group enjoyed the mass massaging that was going on. After the excitement of the Night Markets, we walked along the man-made beach and then headed back to our rooms. It was a great change from the fast-paced big-city life we had been living in the past 10 days. As I headed to bed, exhaustion sunk in and I quickly fell asleep to a good night’s rest for the next big day at the Great Barrier Reef.

Night Markets

Leaving Brisbane

June 18, 2015

Brisbane, Australia


Andre Harness

Andre Harness, Online MBA Student, California

Good Day Mates! Brisbane is one of the coolest cites that I have ever been to in my life. It is a city that has a river that surrounds the downtown on three sides of it. Our apartment building was surrounded by cafés, which made it feel like we were in Europe. Plus the food in the city was amazing. The sights and sounds of the city felt very similar to being back home in California. The people in the city were extremely friendly and welcoming to our group. Using public transportation was very accessible and reasonable. We were able to rent bikes and bike through the city and really get a feel for our surroundings and the city all for just two Australian dollars. It has been a slight adjustment to the weather, because even though it is June, it is winter here. It has been colder weather than I expected but I still can’t be mad with temperatures in the low 70s.

I can’t tell you where petting a Kangaroo or holding a Koala are on my bucket list, but we can go ahead and cross them both off the list. Being face to face with Kangaroos in their natural habitat at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was truly a breath taking experience. I can’t even explain the feeling of being embraced by nature like that. We were literally in the middle of their cage just hanging out amongst them and feeding them while they were just hanging out as well living their life. It was a priceless experience.

Kangaroo Sanctuary

Kangaroo Feeding   Koala Sanctuary








As we leave Brisbane it is a very bitter sweet feeling. We are now headed to a tropical paradise up the coast of Australia, but it also means that our time down under is getting closer to coming to an end. Australia is a beautiful Island country full of beautiful people that speak English but with accents that are to die for. The bond that we, as a group of students from all walks of life, have been able to build is just the icing on the cake for the trip. Studying abroad is a unique and priceless experience that if given the opportunity I would highly recommend doing it. Learning about Australia from being there first hand is a priceless experience, one day when clouds are grey, I’ll look back on these moments and be able to do nothing but smile.

University of Queensland, AU

June 17, 2015

University of Queensland Brisbane, Australia, Queensland

Keira Harris

Keira Harris, Finance, Senior, Bowie, MD

It was a rainy start to the day and the earliest we’ve had to be ready (7:45am!), but we headed to our lecture day at the University of Queensland. What I didn’t know was that students were still in classes; so, campus was very lively despite the rain.

The University of Queensland has amazing infrastructures with beautiful orange and cream sand stone on major buildings including the library where we spent most of our day.

We had 4 lectures today each about an hour to an hour and a half long. The first two were given by Bill Richmond, an international economics professor at the university. He spoke about Australia’s economic history past, present, and future. Both lectures were very interesting, mostly because Sarah and I previously wrote a paper for our International Management class about the factors leading to Australia’s rising unemployment which he touched on a lot, so that made everything easier to understand. Richmond gave a great insight on how Australia’s economy is now at a standstill.

Food is always a favorite of mine, and the lunch provided was perfect. We gathered on the terrace level floor of one of their academic buildings which overlooked the campus, Brisbane, and the Brisbane River. By this time, the rain had subsided, and the sunshine was shining brightly, making lunch that much more enjoyable. We had chicken, beef, potato cake, vegetable medley, and different pasta salads (and let me not forget the delicious bread!). For dessert, they served a tasty chocolate cake with icing, whipped cream and a cherry on top. Needless to say, it hit the spot!

University of Queensland

Following lunch, we had two more lectures. The first was a lecture about the aboriginal history of Australia and Brisbane. The second was by advertising professional Tim Bond. He recently closed down his self-owned advertising agency and spoke on his experiences with that and making it through the Great Financial Crisis in 2008. He showed many great advertisements, both videos and pictorials, that inspired him into the business and also those that he spearheaded with is company. Everyone seemed to have a great time finding different innuendos and messages within the ads and the intricacies of creating the art. He now has a new company that is doing very well.

Of course, lecture day would be no one’s favorite when studying abroad in a new country, but I found a lot of the economics and experiences from each lecture interesting and helpful for future business endeavors, plus we took an amazing group picture if I do say so myself. Sherell and Klous gave us a great farewell after organizing our entire trip and even gave us a shout out on the university-wide television announcements! Shout out to them! Even though it wasn’t our official goodbye to Australia, it was a great way to end our time at the University of Queensland.


XXXX Brewery

Brisbane, Australia

June 16, 2015

Margot Medlin

Margot Medlin, Finance, Senior, Apex, NC

Walking through the doors of the XXXX Brewery we had no idea of the magnitude of what we were about to experience.  When we got to the top of the stairs our group was given safety glasses and jackets and then we were brought into a room to listen to an important safety message which included rules such as “Don’t smuggle beer out of the building because that just makes you look desperate,” and “if you want to touch something touch the handrail.”

 Next, we met our tour guide who was a young, skinny, blonde haired Australian guy named Nick. He said he knew he had a great group for a tour when we were impressed by the door to the room.  We then moved into another room which had a big screen on the wall and yellow rows of seats that resembled church pews.  In this room we learned about the history of beer itself and fun facts like how Egypt used to pay the pyramid workers in beer! We then began our tour and walked outside to explore the massive brewery.  We learned about the process of making beer and what all is involved. 
The factory has been doing a lot of things to reduce their negative impact on the environment.  One way they have done this is that they have converted from using coal to now using the sludge excess from the process of making beer to create natural gas.  We learned the 5 ingredients used to make the XXXX beers and we got a chance to smell every ingredient they use. Their factory here in Brisbane produces 1 million Liters of beer a day, which included 6,000 kegs a day. After going to the keg area we learned about the labeling process and how the labeling machines average labeling 90 bottles a minute. This was really neat because they are a very technologically savvy company. In this process they take a picture of every bottle as it is labeled, and if it doesn’t match their standards it is thrown out. The glass is recycled to make future bottles but the beer is poured out and wasted.
After we finished the tour we got to have some down time to eat and relax before we had to leave to head back to the hotel.  Of course what would complete the tour any better than a group selfie with the tour guide and Mr. FOUREX?  
1 2