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May 23, 2009

Weekend Activities

Throughout the past five days, we've also had plenty of free time to do sightseeing and enjoy some of the wildlife that is unique to Australia. Two of the most memorable things we've gotten to experience so far on our journey have been our trip to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary yesterday and the trek that a few of us made to the Gold Cost at Surfer's Paradise Beach today. At Lone Pine, we got to play with and pet kangaroos, cuddle koalas, chat with parrots, and observe tazmanian devils, emus, etc. It was kind of surreal to be in an open area surrounded by kangaroos that were just hopping around as if they were in their natural habitat. It was really cool to see koala bears too! Although they are super cute, they have an interesting odor that most would consider unpleasant. A word of wisdom to anyone who visits Lone Pine: wearing white flip-flops is definitely a mistake... Today, a small group of us students decided to try our luck with Brisbane's transit system. We took an hour and a half long air train ride to a bus station where we jumped on one of those and successfully made it to the Gold Coast in less than two hours! Due to the recent rainstorms causing the riptides to be even stronger than normal, swimmers and surfers are temporarily unable to actually go into the ocean. But it was obvious after watching the water why they call it Surfer's Paradise; I have never seen such enormous waves in my entire life! I was hoping to have my first surfing experience, but I guess I'll have to keep that on my "Life To-Do" list for a little while longer.

Guest Lectures/Company Tours

Throughout our week in Brisbane, we were lucky enough to be able to listen to three guest lectures and go on two on-site company tours. Each of our lectures gave us insight into different aspects of Australian business, such as political views and economics, workforce strategies, and performance management techniques. Each of the companies we visited were non-profits, but in completely different fields. The first was a retirement community that must compete with for-profits to fill space, and the second was the Mining Industry Skills Center that uses simulators to teach employees how to operate enormous machinery correctly. Professor Benrouane did a great job tying each of the lectures and visits to the curriculum we learned during class. Overall, this has been a great learning experience so far and I feel extremely lucky to be able to have this opportunity.