Matthew Joe, Brooke & Glenn Grindlinger Award Report
UNSW, Sydney, Australia, Fall 2013
My experience in Australia was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was an unforgettable semester, one that I will always remember not only as a part of my college career, but as an important part of my own life’s development. I remember talking to many students before me who had studied abroad in Australia and everyone had described Australia as a “magical” place where the sun soaked weather provided a friendly and relaxed environment. I was certainly able to experience this magic firsthand through my 5 months as an exchange student, waking up every day to gorgeous weather and a genuine happiness that only this land could provide. I would really like to thank Brooke and Glenn Grindlinger for the grant that allowed me to travel across Australia and to create such incredible adventures.
Studying at the University of New South Wales was an enriching experience and served to complement my ILR classes back at Cornell. The international nature of the school helped me receive exposure to many different cultures and a diverse set of views. My class, “Managing Across Cultures” was composed of students from all across the world and I was able to work in several group projects with them. I was able to interact with Australian students throughout my classes, while appreciating a wide array of their perspectives. I also learned more about the Australian political system and different Australian labor practices, especially through my unique lens of an ILR student. Another meaningful perspective was provided through my “Brand Marketing” class which explored both Australian and American marketing strategies and their respective consumer behavior. As someone with a career interest in entrepreneurship, I appreciated this unique chance to learn about another country’s market both in class and through firsthand experience of living in the country.
I lived across from a beach, as my Cornell friends and I settled in a house conveniently located in the suburb of Coogee, NSW. It was extremely exciting to begin every day when we were only a minute walk to the waves. Our balcony also overlooked a Rugby field, a sport that Australians absolutely lived for and one that I became fascinated by. I vividly remember sitting front row at a Wallabies vs. All Blacks game for one of the biggest rugby games of the year. The small beach town of Coogee was the perfect place to live, with outdoor restaurants, beach shops, and all kinds of visitors coming to relax. Instead of playing in the snow at Cornell, I was able to hang out in the waves of the beautiful Australian beaches.
I truly appreciate the Grindlinger award for helping me fully experience Australia, especially through my unforgettable journeys across the country. I was able to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, explore the wonderful culture filled city of Melbourne, experience the bustling life of Sydney, climb Kangaroo Cliff in Brisbane, and relax in the Gold Coast. It was an incredibly valuable experience as a first semester senior, as one day I was on a boat snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, and then later in the week I was pre-enrolling for my last semester’s classes. People have always asked me if I had any second thoughts about going to Australia as a Senior. Yes, and they’ve always been exactly the same as my first thoughts, “this is going to be awesome!”
- Matthew Joe, Brooke & Glenn Grindlinger Award Report