Thursday 6/21/2012 – From Sydney to the Gold Coast and our Bandag Tour by Ian Shepherd

The day started early for many of us (5:30 am) as we got up and finished packing our many bags for the trek to Queensland. Our bus arrived at 8:00 am on time and dropped us a little early at Jetstar in the domestic terminal in Sydney. We had to wait about 30 minutes to check in and then made our way through security. (Security was much easier in Sydney than the USA for some reason). After a gate change we sat down and prepared ourselves for the trip. While waiting it struck me that there was something different about our students. Take a look at the airport pictures and notice how “Mobile” our students really are! iPads, iPhones, and laptops pounding away on almost all of our 22 students and 2 faculty. Our students were quite the picture of reliance and comfort that we are so renowned for in our push for mobility at ACU.

Our flight to the Gold Coast was a noisy one with a young child having problems with their ears. There is nothing worse than a young child who is screaming because their ears hurt and they don’t know how to pop them to clear the pressure. I felt so sorry for the parents. It was quite terrible for them.

Our bus driver picked us up on time and we made our way to the Bandag plant in Ipswich Queensland. The tour was extraordinary again with the students asking great questions. Take a look at the production process pictures that will be uploaded today to get an idea of how the tires are made (much like waffles).

After Bandag we made our way to the hotel. Oh my goodness! It is extraordinarily incredible. This hotel is much nicer than the Adina hotel in Sydney. Take a look at the pictures of the apartment the Darryl Jinkerson and I are in. It is mansion like.

Tomorrow we will finalize class notes and some of us are going deep see fishing! That will be fun.

Friday June 22, 2012 First day in Surfers Paradise (The Gold Coast) by Ian Shepherd

We arrived at the Mantra Sun City after our tour of Bandag and the students thought they were in Disneyland. The hotel is definitely a high end resort with apartments larger than some of our houses. You have your choice of three pools (2 outside and 1 inside heated) and 2 Hot tubs (1 outside and 1 inside). The largest pool has water slides (but it is not heated).

The weather here is beautiful. The temperature is very mild and even warm during the day. We have used the outside pools and hot tubs with no one freezing to death. Our breakfast together today was interesting. When we booked the hotel the coupon came with a free full breakfast for each person in all our rooms. At $22 per breakfast we worked out that the breakfast alone for 7 days and 24 people costs $3,696.00. Now…someone somewhere must have messed up because…we didn’t pay that much for the rooms so Dr. J and I think someone somewhere messed up. In any case, we are taking advantage of this hot breakfast buffet. This morning I looked over at the boys table and there were plates piled everywhere. The girls did not let us down as well.

Having eaten so well almost all of us skipped lunch and just ate a light dinner. We baked fresh tuna fish from our fishing today and had so much left over that we invited other students to drop by and eat some fresh Aussie fish. About 9 students did so and really enjoyed the food. I liked the fact that they wanted to hang around and visit as well. I feel that this group is forming a bond that will bind us all together for the rest of our lives. I think I can honestly say that “Study Abroad” has changed our student’s lives…!

Some of our students shopped a little today and a few went to the beach and swam (remember, its winter time here). The weather is so pleasant!