What made your destination a unique place to study?
We didn’t really have a home city. Instead, we traveled to three cities: Sydney and Melbourne in Australia and Auckland in New Zealand. We chose Australia and New Zealand because we had business contacts there and for their diverse cultures.
What businesses were you able to visit?
We visited a number of companies and organizations. These include PWC, KPMG, EY, the Sydney Wool Exchange, The Australian Accounting Standards Board, The Australian Auditing Standards Board, ANZ Bank, Australia-New Zealand Chartered Accountants, and Xerox.
Did you take the students on any sight seeing tours?
In Sydney we went to Taronga Zoo. Taronga is a world-class zoo with many different animals from around the world. We also took a nighttime harbor cruise during the Vivid Sydney festival, which was outstanding. In Melbourne, we took a trip outside the city on a train powered by a steam engine. In New Zealand, we toured Hobbiton where the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed as well as the Hobbit movies. We also went to the Te Puia Maori Village cultural center in Rotorua. On their own, the students also traveled to the Blue Mountains, Manly Beach, and Bondi Beach in Sydney. They attended an Aussie Rules football game, went to Brighton Beach, and watched the penguins come ashore in Melbourne. In New Zealand, the students traveled to several locations outside of Auckland.
What is it like to be able to spend so much time with students in another country? How does it differ than being in a classroom setting in Abilene?
The experience was outstanding! You get to know the students so well and they get to know you beyond what they see in the classroom. It allows you to speak into their lives on a much deeper level. We learned so much about the students and, hopefully, they know us and our families better.
What were your favorite moments/experiences of the trip?
Two things stood out for me. First, my wife and I were able to renew friendships with people we haven’t seen in 27 years. As far as the academic part of the trip, there are so many things that were enjoyable and informative. I don’t think we had a bad visit and it is really hard to point to one thing. It was interesting as I was reading the students’ journals as they would say, “This is the best thing on the trip!” And then just a day or two later, they would say the same thing! As far as the sightseeing, I would have to say the trip to Hobbiton was the best thing we did.
If students could only learn one thing, what do you hope they learned?
That we live in an interconnected world. This is especially true in business. As an aside, I also hope they learned that what we teach and tell them in class really matters!
Anything else I’ve forgotten to mention that you would like to talk about?
We have some outstanding students!