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Students Experience the History and Culture of the Land Down Under
An immersive trip to study the history and culture of Australia, along with enjoying a game of footy and a tasty meat pie too, is underway for a group of Syracuse Abroad students who are spending time this month in the land down under.
The group is led by David B. Falk Endowed Professor of Sport Management Rick Burton, who at one time served as commissioner of the Australian National Basketball League. Burton has led SU students on trips to the region for more than 10 years. This year is the first time students have returned to the country since before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s obvious they’re excited to be there.
“For some of us, this was years in the making. COVID-19 hit the world hard in the year 2020, when the last trip was scheduled,” says Preston Klaus ’22, G’23, who is blogging about the trip with his classmates.
One of group’s first stops after arriving in Melbourne was to visit the Melbourne Skydeck. “The Melbourne Skydeck is on the 88th floor of Eureka Tower and boasts incredible 360-degree views of the city,” according to the first blog post by Klaus. “Before riding the elevator to the top we experienced a 10-minute virtual reality tour of Melbourne, including courtside views of the Australian Open. We then made our way up to the top, where we were in awe of the wonderful sight of Melbourne at night. The pictures do not do it justice. We sat up there for nearly an hour as it finally sank in that we’re really here. All of the anticipation and we finally made it.”
The trip (June 1-19) is part of a three-credit course titled SPM 300 – Australia: Sport, History and Culture. The students stay in each city approximately five days and along with classroom work enjoy cultural studies with trips to the rainforest and in-depth study of indigenous communities. The group will visit Melbourne, Sydney, and Cairns (the Great Barrier Reef), taking in professional football and basketball, as well as snorkeling, scuba diving and “jungle surfing” in the Daintree National Park. They will visit the Queen Victoria Markets, Australia’s Sporting Hall of Fame, Sydney Harbour and Cape Tribulation, where British explorer James Cook ran aground in 1770. Most days are busy with planned activities, meetings, and sightseeing. As part of their journey, students met with the CEOs of top sports marketing firms including Twenty3 Sport and Entertainment. They also met with SU alumnus Ruffy Geminder ’82, G’84, founder and chairman of Pact Group Holdings, the largest packaging company in Australia. Side trips included an in-person tour of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, attending an Australian Rules Football match, visiting Australia’s famed coasts and the Sydney Opera House, and of course sampling local delicacies.
A day-by-day journal of their experiences can be found at https://suaustralia2022.blogspot.com/2022/?m=1.