Leaving Sydney

By Lana P. Sorell

Fantastic opportunity, trip of a lifetime, unbelievable, graduate in December…those are some of the things that came to mind when I first found out about this study abroad.  I applied, I got accepted, I qualified for a scholarship and BAM, just like that, I was planning to spend three weeks in Australia.  What I didn’t know was that that was the easy part.  The hard part was cramming what would have been 16 weeks into a summer semester that should be 5 weeks but was actually three weeks…times two classes!  But that was my only way to graduate in December because these two classes aren’t taught online.  So, I laced up my boot straps, got very little sleep and three weeks later boarded a plane for Australia.

Leaving Sunday June 4th meant studying until midnight, getting up at 3:30 am, arriving at RDU at 5:30 am, touring Los Angeles for 7 hours, leaving LA at 11:00 pm (west coast time), flying for 15 hours, skipping Monday altogether like it never existed, and arriving in Sydney at 6:30 am on Tuesday.  We met our wonderful tour guide, Desirée, who took us on a bus tour all over Sydney, a delightful lunch cruise of Sydney Harbor, then gave us lots of suggestions of things to do in Sydney before dropping us at our hotel later that afternoon.

Bondi Beach

For 3 weeks every June, Sydney has this eclectic experience called Vivid.  It’s a celebration of light, music, and ideas.  Street performers of every type are out, music is playing in every direction, any type of food you could ever want is available and lights are projected on various buildings around Circular Quay (pronounced key).  The atmosphere is electric.  Fortunately, I was able to experience Vivid before it began raining for 3 days straight.  Not just a little rain, pouring thunderstorm rain.  The whole of Sydney sits in sandstone so buildings and sidewalks are either sandstone or granite.  What happens to sandstone and granite when it gets wet?  Its slick, like fall on your backside slick.  A few interesting facts about Australia, many things are opposite from the US…they drive on the left, they pass on the right, they walk on the left, door locks turn left, water runs left (counter clockwise), and refrigerators open from the right.

Sydney Opera House during Vivid


Museum for Contemporary Art during Vivid

Rain put the kabash on my plans to see Manley across the harbor during our free day on Wednesday so I toured the Opera House instead. What an incredible structure. Thursday’s visit to The Reserve Bank of Australia was interesting learning how they print their money in an attempt to curtail counterfeiters. Australia’s currency is made from 100% plastic polymer unlike most other countries who still use paper. Australia also prints money for several other countries including Singapore, Brunei, and Mexico. Friday’s trip to Parliament in Canberra was fascinating followed by an emotional visit to Australia’s War Memorial. Whew! That’s a lot crammed into four days. Leaving Sydney is bittersweet; it’s been a whirlwind full of new experiences.

The Rocks of Sydney

By Morgan Swofford

When I was assigned to write about the Rocks of Sydney, I had the idea that I would be writing about a huge collection of placed rocks, but luckily that was not the case. The Rocks is actually a historic area within the city and is also the site of Australia’s first European settlement. The area is full of restaurants, hotels, and apartment buildings. Though we did not get to take a walking tour of the Rocks, we were able to see a lot of crazy sites. You could start down a road surrounded by huge walls covered in ivy, then take a quick left turn and be facing some of the largest buildings in Sydney. Or you can be coasting along the edge of the harbour and end up under the Harbour Bridge right near the opera house.

Coming from a small town in North Carolina, I have been constantly amazed by this trip and everything I’ve been able to see and we’ve only been here for 3 days. The weather here has not been favorable but it does not take any credit away from the sights. I got really close and personal with some actual rocks while we all were exploring the coast of the harbour. Luckily my ridiculous reflexes kept me from falling all the way into the water but unfortunately, my left leg did not make it out unscathed. Definitely worth it.

My short time in the Rocks area was awesome, though part of me took a beating, I’d do it all over again. Being able to see the bridge and all the ships sailing in the harbour couldn’t be beat. Even the water was interesting to look at because the harbour itself has some really rough waters, and even more impressive was the mate waterskiing, I watched him for a good 30 seconds and he/she stood strong. If you plan to visit Australia, you absolutely HAVE to tour the Rocks. Unfortunately, I was not able to get any good pictures of the Rocks because of the rain but I was able to provide pictures of actual rocks that were across Circular Quay, a bay that is adjacent to the Rocks area in Sydney.

Trip to Canberra

By Morgan Smith

Today we visited Canberra, the capital of Australia. It touched a lot of emotions with me because of the ties and similarities to the United States of America’s capital and government structure. It was also very interesting that the city of Canberra’s architecture was designed by an American. It was even more amazing that also an America designed the capital building. It seemed to me that there was a connection between Americans and Australians architect style because they choose two American designs for their capital city and building out of many. I really feel a connection between Americans and Australians that I have never felt before in any other foreign country. Our tour guide was so personal, it added an easy feel to the tour and made it enjoyable. The Australian War Memorial brought everything full circle for me. Our soldiers have fought on the same side many times before in the World Wars. Australia was also one of the first countries to respond with aid after the 9/11 attacks on America. My main focus on this short trip kept coming back to the camaraderie between America and Australia. I went into one room with more than 1,700 faces of Australian men who died fighting in World War I. I never really considered all of the death and loss that occurred in other countries during the World Wars like I have with American loss. While standing in a room full of lost soldiers faces and names it really made me better grasp that these are real people with families that cared about them the way I care for my family. I only can imagine how it would feel to lose a loved one in a war.  I can honestly say I am leaving Canberra with a completely new outlook, respect and love for Australia and their connection to America.



Second Day in Australia

By Valentina Ramirez

Coming on this trip I honestly had no idea what to expect or who I was going to be with. All I knew was that I was about to have the time of my life while in Australia. I want to say the first free day is one of the most important ones. This is the day everyone really gets the chance to talk to each other, get close, and just be able to hang out. I woke up at 6:30 am, jet-lagged, but ready to start my day.

I am very extroverted and don’t usually have a problem making new friends but either way I was still nervous for who I was about to be with for the next two weeks. Morgan was one of the first people I met and really clicked with, so I started my free day with her. We eventually got together with everyone else and it ended up being way better than I could have expected. Originally, I wanted to go to the mountains and cliff dive or even climb up the bridge. I just didn’t want to be in the hotel on my only day off while in Sydney! Unfortunately, it was pouring so that kind of ruined all those plans. At this point, I didn’t know what I was going to do the rest of the day. We basically all just winged it. It was six of us and we all got lunch, shopped around, and just explored the city around us.  As the day went on we met up with more people from the group and we all acted as if we have been friends forever.

When the day was coming to an end I just felt so happy.  I sent my mom and dad pictures from the day and even they could tell how happy I looked. I got the opportunity to really get to know new people.  I don’t even want to say new people, but people I normally wouldn’t hang out with. After the free day, I can tell that the next few days are going to be great. I am forming bonds with such great, genuine, and sweet people. I know that after this trip I will be going home with new memories made and even greater friendships.



First Day in Sydney

By Blakely Tucker

Arriving in Sydney, I was dumbfounded by all of the diverse people, culture, and fluent moving city life. This being my first trip out of the country, I felt like a small child in a candy store. I found myself constantly looking around never fully being able to take in everything all at once.

The fifteen-hour flight was exhausting and at first, I was honestly ready to go to the hotel and rest but we had to go on a Sydney harbor tour while waiting on the hotel rooms to be ready.  I was eventually happy that we ultimately did this dinner cruise because it was amazing.  The food was delicious and was very diverse, I ended up going up for seconds and even thirds. Once everyone had their food we all sat at a large table while eating and chatting.  This was a good way for me to get to know everyone better that I didn’t get to during all our travels from the United States.

The cruise took us out in the water for some breathtaking views of the Sydney skyline and the Opera House. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t ideal it was cold and it ended up raining about half the time we were out on the cruise.  However, that didn’t discourage me because there was still good food and great conversation being made.  The cruise made a stop at Darling Harbor where it picked up more passengers. Then we headed back to the Sydney harbor where we all got off and headed to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

I am looking forward to all the new experiences and life-lasting memories still to be made on this exciting trip.

Arriving in Australia

By Kayla McKeel

On the way to the airport, I knew no one I was going on this trip with. Only a few short hours later, I met my roommate and made so many friends. After a long and dreadful 15 hour flight we finally arrived in Australia! I was beyond exhausted but so excited to be here.

At first, I was more than annoyed that we immediately began touring and going on a lunch cruise. This feeling passed the minute we began to tour Bondi Beach, which was absolutely breathtaking. The pictures I took were amazing and still don’t do the scenery justice. Our first stop we got to walk on the beach, which was like nothing I have ever seen before.



Surprisingly, this was not even the best part! After this we were taken to a spot that looked over Darling Harbor. I was no longer tired the minute I saw it and it just kept getting better! It felt like we were on top of the city. As I traveled down the rocks I realized we were so high up that I could overlook the entire harbor and beach! My first impression of Australia was impeccable and I don’t see how it could get any better then the views from the first day. I can’t wait to experience more.


Intern to Executive: What You Can Do Today to Stand Out Tomorrow

Written by: Christian Hill – @slbecu

On April 12th in the Mendenhall Student Center, the 3rd annual College of Business Leadership Conference hosted their first ever student panel, led by Christian Hill, Sebastian Kressley, Colleen Todd, and Terrington Myles.

Pictured from left to right: Christian Hill, Sebastian Kressley, Colleen Todd, Terrington Myles

The students of the panel stressed the importance of internships and organizational activity, and how the lessons learned from both can be translated into vital skills necessary for being a successful, young professional.

4 Takeaways from “Intern to Executive”:

Students filled the room to hear from fellow College of Business leaders.

#1 – Internships Are a One of a Kind Experience!

There will be no other opportunity in your career to get risk-free experience; and on top of it, they pay you! As an intern, you get exposure to everything you need to know about that sector of the professional world, without the stress and pressure to perform. Hiring managers understand you are learning, which means expectations are set low, making it that much easier for you to excel.

Panelists answering questions from attendees.

#2 – Student Organizations Teach You Skills You Won’t Learn in the Classroom!

The technical skills learned in the classroom are only half of your education! Getting involved in student organizations allows you to exercise the vital qualities that make up the other half of your education, such as leadership, passion, and hard work. Both halves are equally important and both are demanded in the competitive work force.

#3 – Don’t Underestimate the Value of the Skills You Are Developing Today!

The fundamental skills you are developing as an intern or student organization member are vital to your long-term success as a professional. Skills such as multi-tasking, team leadership, and communicating with a wide variety of people, are all in demand skill sets. Don’t sweep your collegiate accomplishments under the rug; they provide the foundation for your professional skill set!

Students eagerly approaching the front of the room to ask questions after a successful panel discussion.

#4 – Network, Network, and Network Some More!

The relationships you begin to build now will be the professional relationships you start your career with. However, don’t fall into the trap of networking with somebody in the hopes of “getting something” from them. Create genuine relationships, ask people about themselves, and help others first; the benefits will come down the road when you really need them.

Now what?

If there is only one thing you take away from this, it ought to be to get started now! There is no better opportunity to prepare yourself for the rigors of the professional world than to begin taking on responsibility today. There is a direct translation between students entering the workforce with internships and organizational leadership and their early success; it’s undeniable. You must learn to swim in the shallows before you can dive into the deep end, so start paddling now!

From a Student’s Perspective: ECU Chapter of American Marketing Association Goes to New Orleans and Wins Two Awards

This blog was written by ECU ‘19 American Marketing Association, Vice President of Social Media and Promotions, Ashley Konarski.

Recently some of my colleagues from the American Marketing Association, as well as myself, had the privilege of travelling to New Orleans, Louisiana to attend the American Marketing Association International Collegiate Conference. This was a five-day experience where we toured the city of New Orleans, experienced the culture, and learned more about the city’s history. We explored the French Quarter on our first day in New Orleans as well as enjoyed some of New Orleans’ famous po-boys. During our trip, we continued to explore the historical French Quarter, as well as experience the New Orleans Market.

As a chapter, we competed in different competitions prior to and during the conference and attended informational sessions and focus groups. The students competed in the Ebay case competition, Marketing Strategy competition, and website competition. As a chapter, we completed a chapter plan and annual report to be submitted and judged. The suspense was at an all-time high throughout the entire conference. As we went through each session, we learned new interview tips and tricks, ways to further build our resumes, and acquired new perspectives on networking.

Last but not Least

As the last day of the conference approached, we attended our final sessions. We were amazed by the accomplishments of our fellow colleagues in their presentations of case competitions and how they carried out their chapters in order to become a top chapter in the Nation. As the end of the day approached, we attended the final banquet. Our nerves were running high and we were worried about how we did. As they began calling chapter awards, they called our chapter name and we were shocked. We not only received an excellence award in one area of our chapter plan but two areas! As a chapter, our hard work paid off and we received excellence in Chapter Planning as well as Communications!

As an organization, participating in this event is very important to us. By attending, we were able to see the winning cases and competitions, as well as learn about new networking events that are offered. With the experiences and knowledge we gained, we can now offer extended knowledge and advice to fellow East Carolina University American Marketing Association Members. As a chapter, we cannot wait until our 2017-2018 trip! We hope to gain further knowledge and come back with even more awards and honors in the future!


From A Student’s Perspective: A Class About Digital Marketing

This blog was written by ECU ‘17 marketing major, Candace Carter.

It’s my senior year, and these past four years at East Carolina University have flown by in the blink of an eye. As I began my last year as an undergrad, I created a list of companies that I wanted to apply for prior to graduation. However, that was just the beginning of my preparation work for the job hunting process that I was about to embark on. I started researching job descriptions for the career path that I was about to begin and noticed a lot of similar qualities and work experience that hiring managers look for in their applicants.

Being a marketing major, I knew that there are many valuable skills that are highly recommended to obtain in order to land the dream job which I have been searching for. Specifically, there are multiple certifications that could help me stand out amongst my peers who are also applying for the same type of entry level positions that I am. Upon hearing of the new Marketing Technology and Automation course offered at ECU, I knew that this was a class that would provide me with real marketing experience that I desired.

“This is a fast paced class. I feel like it adds value to your resume. You learn something new every day. I’m hungry for more information about Marketing Tech & Automation.” –Thomas Mincer

Marketing Technology and Automation

Although this is just the beginning of the semester, I can already tell that the style of this course is completely different from any other marketing class that I have taken. The purpose of the course is to provide students, like me, with the skills to utilize digital marketing tactics and the opportunity to not only obtain two highly desired certifications in Google Analytics and Act-On Marketing Automation but to also learn how to use the tools in real marketing situations.

The design of this course uses a hands-on approach. For instance, during the first week of class we were instructed on how to purchase a domain unique to our names, set up hosting, implement WordPress, and link Google Analytics and Act-On to our new websites. Outside of class, we were given the task to create an appealing display and customize our websites that will present our own personal brand.

“MKTG 4972 gives students an exceptional, hands-on opportunity to learn and use the marketing tools that companies want employees to have. It creates an opportunity for students to have the upper hand in the job market and understand the importance of digital marketing.” –Stephanie Maines

Personal Brand

As a marketer, it is essential to understand how branding works and to establish a specific “brand” for yourself. Within this class, we have been assigned with the task to construct a personal website that informs the public of who we are as our own personal brand and exhibits the talents that we have as well as skills that we have acquired over our time spent at ECU.

Each of us purchased a domain name as well as hosting through either GoDaddy or TigerTech. We then hooked up WordPress to our new domain where we have been able to establish our brand and use the site as a portfolio. After everything was set up, we linked Google Analytics and Act-On to our websites.

“To me, building a website seemed like making a sandwich, when actually it’s like making 1000 sandwiches, and each is a custom order” –Alex Charlton

Google Analytics

The semester is broken up into two sections. The first consists of learning the ins and outs of using Google Analytics. During this section, we are going to learn the fundamentals of the tool and how to use the different features through our newly created website. Also, we will become certified in Google Analytics which will be a great addition to all of our resumes and LinkedIn profiles.

“I love how this class is not setup to be a conventional class, but instead more like a job training class.” –Hunter Jackson


The second section of the semester revolves around Act-On Marketing Automation. In this part of the course, we will learn how to navigate through the software and will gain experience in concepts such as creating email marketing campaigns, building landing pages, and posting on social media through Act-On.

“This course if full of hands-on, real-world experience that will no doubt be valuable in the future.” –Nolan Tubb

I look forward to learning more about digital marketing and having the opportunity to apply all of the knowledge, skills, and certifications that I gain from this class within my future career.

Front Row: Hunter Jackson, Leanna Smith, Candace Carter Second Row: Nolan Tubb, Alex Charlton, Michael Khidhathong, Thomas Mincer Third Row: Angela McLain, Matthew Hrycenko, Jimmy Kunkle, Chris Foley, Stephanie Maines Back Row: Zackari Gogulski, Devonne Maughn, Danny Gutierrez

Front Row: Hunter Jackson, Leanna Smith, Candace Carter
Second Row: Nolan Tubb, Alex Charlton, Michael Khidhathong, Thomas Mincer
Third Row: Angela McLain, Matthew Hrycenko, Jimmy Kunkle, Chris Foley, Stephanie Maines
Back Row: Zackari Gogulski, Devonne Maughn, Danny Gutierrez

Farewell to Italy

June 18, 2016
Altavilla, Italy

ashley banks headshot

Ashley Montaquila, Senior Marketing major, Hometown: Greenville NC

Last night we had our farewell dinner at CUOA. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun. It’s hard to believe that our time in Altavilla has come and gone so fast! Before it was time to head to Milan, I took a taxi to Creazzo to get in one last workout at Crossfit Never Stop, a gym I spent a lot of time in during my stay in Italy. The people there, though most did not speak English, were some of the nicest and most accommodating individuals I have ever met. It’s amazing how the universal language of exercise can bring people together. I shared many smiles and a lot of sweat between burpees and power cleans with the many friends that I made. I might have even shed a tear or two when I found out that they brought in a cake to share with me after my last workout there. I am so thankful to have been surrounded by some incredible people that I will never forget, but all good things must come to an end.

Bags packed, I started my journey to Milan. We made it to the city by noon, leaving us all afternoon to explore. Being known for its couture, I decided to spend the afternoon shopping and sight seeing. I walked the streets until I was face to face with the Duomo di Milano. What an incredible structure. In awe of its sheer beauty, I decided to have lunch on an outdoor terrace ashley banks hikinhoverlooking the piazza. After lunch, I spent some more time hopping from store to store. As the evening set in, I took in one last tramonto italiano (Italian sunset), had one last scoop of Gelato, and spent one last night with an incredible group of students who have come to feel like family. Even though our time in Milan had come to an end, and in the morning we would be catching planes back home; I knew that our journey didn’t stop here. There’s an entire World out there waiting for us, and our friendships have no expiration date. Though our trip has come to an end, this is just the beginning.

ashley banks workout


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