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DBi Australia January 2020: Outside of the Classroom and into Outback

By Jessica Wong 

This January, 39 Sternies visited “the land down under” to learn more about doing business in Australia via in-class sessions and experiential activities in and around Sydney. This 3-credit course was partnered with the business school at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), was led by local Professor Christopher Jackson, and supported by Lisa Barrett (UNSW) and Kristin Fast (NYU). 

In this compressed two-week course, students visited local companies, such as Qantas Airways and Canva; learned about aboriginal culture and history; and tasted Australian dishes, ranging from kangaroo to crocodile. The Qantas Airways’ visit included an overview of the business and discussion about “Project Sunrise”, the company’s planned 19 hour direct flight from Sydney to New York that was trialed in late 2019. Students also learned that Aboriginals are the longest living culture and there are over 500 tribes in Australia with distinct languages and cultures. We were able to take part in dances of the Eora nation and 2 students attempted to play the Australian wind instrument, the Yidaki or “Didgeridoo”. On our last evening together, we celebrated at a local waterfront restaurant where Kangaroo steak was served with Australian wines and students hosted a trivia game that included facts that we learned throughout the trip about Australia and about each other!

Outside of the classroom, groups of students ventured to the great Australian outback to visit Uluru (formerly Ayer’s Rock), to Cairns to snorkel and SCUBA dive at the UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef, and to the cosmopolitan city of Melbourne in the state of Victoria. These out-of classroom experiences were one of the most memorable aspects of the trip. Langone student, Shantanu Ballal said “The absolute highlight of my DBi trip was a student-organized sojourn to Cairns. Aside from the breathtaking views of the Great Barrier Reef, this was a delightful opportunity to connect with quite a few Sternies and make new connections that will last.”

The month of January is summertime in Australia and bushfires are a common occurrence. In fact, some aboriginal tribes create controlled bushfires that promote new plant growth and support wildlife that depend on the aftermath of the fires. This summer, however, natural and man-made bushfires were more severe and affected wildlife, homes outside the city, and have caused over 25 deaths. All students and staff returned home safely but did experience some haze in the city for a day or two of the two week trip.

Overall, this course was an educational adventure into how business is done in Australia and provided students with a realistic experience of what it is like to live in Australia. Ballal also included that, “Overall, this experience really cemented in my mind the culture that NYU promises to foster – an inclusive culture of collaboration and community.” The course was such a success that some students even stated that they would love to return to work in Australia!

Tatyana, Rob, Eva and pose with our three aboriginal hosts

The Women of the DBi Australia on our visit to Lendlease, which is headquartered in the newly developed Barangaroo complex

Eva leads the way with matching Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) shirts!

Tara and Jay show some Sternie love during the Sydney Harbor Bridgeclimb

Shokhrukh and Jessica try Stingray in Sydney

The class visited the Hunter Wine Valley, where some wineries have been in operation since the 1800s

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