June 15, 2015
Caroline Johnson, Management, Senior, Kannapolis, NC
The Lone Pine Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia was one of the coolest trips we experienced abroad in my opinion. When we first arrived, we met up with the General Manager who first discussed his business plan with us for his company, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. One of the main factors he mentioned was that he has spectacular WIFI all around the premises. This is such an important factor for tourists because with WIFI access, you are able to post on social media in regards to their business. He also mentioned that he was cutting down on marketing, and is currently working towards spending less on marketing tools and pushing towards a marketing scheme that involves only word of mouth. He very strongly states that if we enjoyed our stay here at Lone Pine, then we should spread the word. He also mentioned that whoever in society knows the most people, has the biggest pull to reach and push a message across. For instance, he says that “Nigel No-mates” a man who has no friends, will not be able to spread the word because of his small networking community. His message was very relevant to a lot of marketing majors in our group.
While we were there we were able hold the Koala bears and play with the Kangaroos. The koala bears were $18 dollars a piece to hold for a picture and they would cling onto you for dear life. They were small and furry and had the cutest little face I’ve ever seen. We were then provided a BBQ lunch and I couldn’t be more excited for pulled pork. I soon came to realize that BBQ is different in several countries, and in Australia it is referred to as any type of grilling out. Even though we didn’t actually have BBQ by American standards, it was still delicious! We had steak and chicken with rice and salad.
After lunch we went to find the Kangaroos. I had always compared the Kangaroos to what I would think they would be like to our equivalent at home. I compared them to deer, but they are nothing like deer in reality. In reality, they are friendly and won’t run away when you approach them. They carry their youth in their pouch, and it’s the cutest thing to see them stick their head out! They run on only two feet and hop around everywhere. We were able to get great pictures with them.
The Lone Pine Sanctuary was so amazing to see the different animals we don’t have at home! This was a wonderful experience and I’m so glad we were able to see it all.
June 13, 2015
Ashley Montaquila, Marketing and Finance, Junior, Greenville, NC
It was another early wake up in Sydney, we got out of bed and trudged our way to the lobby loaded down with suitcases and memories. We boarded the bus one by one and headed to the airport. Before we could finish our outrageously expensive, but completely necessary, vanilla lattes, it was time to board the plane. We took our seats and gazed out the windows as the Sydney skyline disappeared behind us.
Ninety minutes later we heard the message we had all been waiting for. The pilot announced over the speaker that our plane would be landing shortly in Brisbane. A new city in a new country and we would be exploring it for the next five days. We were on cloud nine.
We swept over the ocean and islands settled outside the shoreline, and moments later hit the runway. We were in Brisbane. It still didn’t feel real no matter how many times we said it. We picked up our luggage and loaded it onto the coach wide eyed and ecstatic to see what this city had to offer.
Our first stop in Brisbane was the Mount Coot-tha lookout. We hopped off the bus and headed up the walkway to see what we had in store. As we approached the top of the staircase, I was caught dead in my tracks. Speechless. Miles of beautiful scenery and the Brisbane skyline painted the picture perfect image of everything I had ever dreamed of seeing. We all gathered around in awe of the sheer beauty and intensity of the view of the city we were about to be residents of for the next few days.
We took countless pictures and shared many smiles on top of Mount Coot-tha. Then, we headed back to the bus and made our way to the city to check in to our accommodations. We were each greeted with the keys to our own suite style apartment, which consisted of two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, a washer and dryer, and of course a huge balcony overlooking the city. Just when I thought Sydney couldn’t be beat, the charming culture and allurement of Brisbane pushed its way into my heart. I can’t wait to see what these next few days have in store.
June 13, 2015
Ian McMillan, Finance, Junior, Greenville, NC
We arrived on the 13th of June and so far I can definitely say that I like Brisbane more than I liked Sydney. After taking some time to explore the city and walk around on our first day here, it was clear that the people here are much more amicable and welcoming. The atmosphere is less rushed and intense than Sydney, a quality that I find to be much more desirable. The weather has been a bit dreary, but I have not let this get in the way of taking advantage of being in this new city with so much to explore. Instead of heading south to the gold coast, I chose to stick around Brisbane to see what the city had to offer, and to get a better idea of what it was like to live here without being in a large group. I had a very nice time walking around Brisbane, especially on Queen street, which is not really a street but more of a large walkway for pedestrians that is lined with shops and restaurants. After exploring that area, I made my way back past our apartment building along Albert street to the beautiful botanical gardens, which is like a large public park with many types of plants and wildlife. The gardens were absolutely beautiful and definitely worth the walk, it was really cool to see all the different flora and fauna that cover Australia.
I also walked through the campus of the Queensland University of Technology, which was very interesting as well. It was cool to see the campus of a university here in Australia compared to the United States. After I was done roaming around the city, I met up with a local girl I met the night before to get some dinner and we chatted about Brisbane and Australia in general and how it compares to the U.S. It was really nice to be able to explore the city and interact with the locals by myself and really get a feel for what it is like to live here in Brisbane. Overall, I have really enjoyed my time here in Brisbane so far and I’m sure the remainder of my time here is going to be equally enjoyable!
June 13, 2015
Kayla Polny, Business Management, South Pines, NC
For our COB Study Abroad trip in Australia, Sydney was our first city to visit. My favorite part about Sydney was when a couple of other students and I climbed the Sydney Bridge. We all chose to do our climb at night; and the view was amazing! It took us a total of three and a half hours to climb it, including the tutorial and going over the safety instructions beforehand. Another nice part of Sydney that I liked was going to the Darling Harbor at night and looking at the view of the city. When we were in Sydney, we also visited the Reserve Bank and listened to presentations about their currency. The Australian currency (also called Notes) are colorful and made from plastic; so it is difficult to copy.
Caroline Johnson, Kayla Polny, Maggie Wilfong, Ashley Montaquila, and Danielle Staub
When we left Sydney early Saturday morning, we arrived to a different section of Sydney’s airport since it was a group domestic flight. Checking in our bags was a lot easier than airports in the United States. All we did was lay our bags in two rows so that the Check In attendant can weigh and place tags on them. All of our baggage received a blue tag titled “Group” so that it was easier for the workers to distinguish our bags. After that was finished, we went through security, which was also a lot easier than the U.S. For security, we only had to place our carry on bags into the table for them to be scanned and walked through a metal detector. In Sydney, you were allowed to take on liquids through security, where in the U.S. you can’t. The flight to Brisbane was short, only lasting an hour or so. When we were about to land, the best part about the flight was that there was a rainbow in the sky that mostly everyone got to see. It was nice looking over the water and how blue it was from above. I was a little sad to be leaving Sydney, but I was also very excited to get to see Brisbane!
June 12, 2015
Danielle Staub, Marketing & Management, Senior, Charlotte, NC
Upon arriving in Canberra, I was astounded by the beautiful scenery that was all around. After a four hour drive we finally made it the Parliament House in Canberra. At first sight the Parliament House was stunning. It was a prestigious looking white building with a fountain at the entrance and an amazing view that overlooked the old Parliament House and the city. As we entered the building we were surrounded by marble. There were blue marble columns all over the foyer along with detailed marble flooring and two large marble stair cases.
Our tour guide was very welcoming as well and made sure she was up to date on her North Carolina and Pirate information and lingo. As she delved into teaching us about the Parliament House she told us that it was designed by an Italian that was from the United States. To my surprise, there are thousands of people that work at the house during the week, on a not as busy day there are still 1200 people that are working. We then walked through the great room where she mentioned that it is used less than a dozen times throughout the year.
After exploring the great room and the foyer, we got access into the House of Representatives chamber where all meetings are held and discussions are done weekly Monday through Thursday. The House of Representatives chamber was green throughout to signify the eucalyptus. In the hallway to go see the senates chamber there were portraits of all the prime ministers lining the walls. The senates chamber was circle themed with the skylight to match, whereas the House of Representatives room was square themed. Next we went up to the roof, which was my favorite part, the views were incredible and never ending. You could see everything from the mountains to the city. After taking a group picture our tour was over and we left to see the war memorial.
Overall, the tour was amazing. The Parliament House was huge and filled with history and insight. It opened my eyes to the differences of how the Australian government compared to that of the US. Although both governments have three branches, the dispersion of power and law making processes are run differently. Also, the tour guide was incredibly nice and was more than willing to share all the information she had about the Parliament House, which made the visit unforgettable. It was a true learning experience in which we all took a lot of information from.
June 12, 2015
Our tour of The Rocks, started out a little “rocky”. Our tour guide was unfortunately running late, but Dr. Seeman jumped in to help start the tour. We started by walking through Nurses walk and making our way to the convict houses that are left standing on the hill. Here, we eventually met up with our tour guide. She was full of interesting and shocking stories of The Rocks, making the tour fascinating and eye opening. I did not know what to expect and was surprisingly shocked at how horrible the conditions were in The Rocks back then. The convicts were shipped over from England and put into slum houses, made of stone they made themselves. With the horrible conditions and convict population, The Rocks was a place of whore houses, drinking, pedophiles and very little to no order in the society. This only began to change when convicts were allowed to work in order to make a life for themselves. There is no saying how life would be here in Sydney if they were not given this chance. The Rocks appear to be a beautiful place when you pull up to them, but the history shows that it was the complete opposite in the past. Today the harbor that cruise ships port, and the opera house stands, used to be the same harbor that convicts came over on and slum houses stood, it is astonishing to try to wrap your head around how life was back then.
Mint Hill NC
When we first arrived in Sydney, we left the airport and jumped on a bus to tour the city. This was a surreal experience as it was hard to believe that we had actually made it all the way to Australia! The tour was incredible and we were able to get a nice taste of what Sydney has to offer. After the bus tour concluded, the real fun began as we embarked on our tour of the infamous Sydney Harbor.
We began our Sydney Harbor adventure by hopping aboard the Magistic Cruises catamaran. This boat reminded me of Jordan Belfort’s yacht in the movie “Wolf of Wall Street “due to its sheer size and beauty. The inside was sophisticated and modern, allowing passengers to have breathtaking views through the large glass windows lining the lounge. A large buffet lunch was spread across the back of the room inviting each of us to taste our first bit of Australian cuisine. The buffet offered a wide variety of dishes, some familiar and some new. Nonetheless, we loaded our plates and enjoyed a fantastic lunch with debatably more fantastic views.
Aside from the lounge area on the lower deck, the boat also offered outdoor seating on the bow. Much of the group took advantage of this offering in order to see all of the fascinating sites. As we departed from the dock in Darling Harbor, we made our way toward the large Sydney Harbor. Homes and buildings built into the hillside could be seen anchored above the water. As we moved closer, we could see the outline of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. This was a sight that most found unreal. It was almost like we still couldn’t believe that we had made it halfway across the world until the moment that we were confronted head on with Sydney’s most famous landmark as proof. We passed under the bridge and gained sight of the opera house. A picture perfect landscape and the weather couldn’t have been better.
We continued to cruise around the waterway, and saw many more large homes and dwellings towering above the harbor. The wondrous sites and luxurious vibe of the cruise made for a relaxing and memorable afternoon. However, like most good things, the cruise had to come to an end. We made it back to the dock in the harbor and climbed off board the ship, refreshed and exited to explore the rest of Sydney.
June 09, 2015
Maggie Wilfong, Marketing, Senior, Raleigh, NC
The day had arrived. It was time to start the 2-day voyage from Raleigh, North Carolina to Sydney, Australia. As my mom dropped me off at RDU airport, she left me with the words “You are going to have the time of your life.” From that moment the reality had set in that I was finally on my way to a country filled with new adventures. As soon as I walked into the airport I was greeted with smiles and a warm welcome from the group I would be spending the next two weeks with. I could tell it was going to be a great trip.
I have always heard it took a decent amount of time to get to the land down under. This excursion proved that to be true. The trip to Australia entailed a total of three flights, spanning about two days. The flight from Raleigh left around 3:45 pm on June 7th and the last flight landed in Sydney at approximately 7:30 am on June 9th. There was not much of a June 8th due to crossing the International Date Line and jumping forward 14 hours on the way to Sydney. The first flight was from Raleigh, NC and stopped in Dallas, TX, then to Los Angeles, CA and from there our group caught the last flight to our end destination of Sydney. For the flight from Raleigh to Dallas I found myself placed in a middle seat, snoozing in and out over the 3-hour length. Once we arrived in Dallas there was not much of a lay over time until the next flight to Los Angeles. I was fortunate enough to get a window seat for this flight; it gave me the opportunity to have some amazing views.
After arriving in Los Angeles there was a lay over of about 2 hours until the flight to Sydney. This was the perfect amount of time to get some food for the upcoming 14-hour flight. When 11:15 pm rolled around it was time to board the last plane. Caroline, a fellow member of the study abroad group sat beside me. We also sat next to a man who was from Sydney and returning from a stay in Las Vegas. By the end of the flight we got to know a lot about him. He told us about Sydney and recommended some of the best spots to visit. It was fascinating getting to meet someone from where we about to visit. This made me even more eager to start my Australian adventure. The plane landed around 7:30am, which marked the beginning of our group’s time in Sydney. I could not be more excited to see what the beautiful city of Sydney has in store!
09 June 2015
Ayana R. Washington, Finance Major, Junior, Charlotte, NC
“Prepare the cabin for landing,” the pilot said. It seemed that everyone woke up a little bit more after he made that announcement. After 14 long and tiring hours, we were finally here. Well, not really. We still had 75 km, which was going to take 15 minutes to travel. Time must have slowed down after the pilot said we were going to land because 20 minutes later, we were still hovering over Sydney. Then all of a sudden, we only had five minutes left until we landed, which of course took a lot longer than five minutes in actuality. While waiting for our turn to land, we flew over a beach and you could see where the sand met the beautiful blueish-green waters of the ocean that looked as if it went on forever. The plane continued circling Sydney, and then you could hear the pilot make an announcement, “will the cabin crew now be seated for landing.” Finally, it was our turn to land. As we began the descent I saw what people meant when they say most of Australia is the outback. People did not inhabit most of the land, as far as I could tell from my view on the plane. As we descended onto the runway, passengers clapped and cheered because we were finally on land after 14 long hours.
Most of the study abroad group did not feel the jet lag as soon as we got off the plane, even though it was 7:46am, which was 5:46pm in North Carolina. Once we arrived to the airport we stopped at the bathrooms to allow people to freshen up and then we headed to baggage claim and customs. Using our passports, we received a ticket from an automated machine that allowed us to go through a gate that photo matched us to our passport photo, which then let us into the baggage claim area. I have been to a few countries and this was, by far, the quickest I have seen bags come out. As we got our luggage, we separated into two groups; Dr. Seeman took the first group through customs and my group went with Dr. Bello. We turned in our paperwork and tickets and walked around to the exit where Jo, our tour guide, stood checking off our names. We stood there for about 15 minutes, everybody branching off to use the restroom or exchange currency. After we gathered everyone together again, we headed to Bay Eight where our bus driver Nigel stood ready to take our luggage and guide us during our time in Sydney.
Holi is a spring festival also known as the festival of colors or the festival of love. Lately the festival has been expanding into Europe and North America as a spring celebration for love, frolic and colors. At the festival people throw colored water and chalk at each other. There is no such thing as status, at this festival everyone is equally assaulted with color and happiness.
During the Holi festival
Last Friday ECU threw a Holi festival in front of the Hendrix Theater. It was thrown to allow students to embrace a different type of culture that they might not have been familiar with. There was an educational speech about the Holi festival followed by a dance and delicious Indian food. Lastly they began to play music until everyone received a bag of color. Then began the count down; 3, 2, 1 (you then begin to hear the roar of the crowd followed by multiple colors being thrown into the air). When people ran out of color they would run back to the booth and receive more until there was nothing left. It was a joyous celebration filled with smiles and laughter. Even after getting pelted in the face by what I think might have been the color purple I kept a smile on my face. After I got my sweet revenge we both kept smiling and possessed no anger towards one another. It was amazing! If you have the opportunity to come to the event next year, I would recommend it.
During the Holi festival