Sierra in Asia

Sierra, a senior majoring in marketing and member of SMU’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams, is participating this summer in SMU-in-Australia-and-Asia. The group will spend three weeks traveling in China to cities including Shanghai and Beijing, and then will spend three weeks in Western Australia.

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Goodbye, Australia

Crunch time

Most of our time leading up to our final departure was spent finalizing our proposal for the “Chinese Networking” program.

The purpose of our Australia project was to create a Chinese Networking program at Curtin University and than present our findings to Glen Hutchings, senior lecturer of accounting and leader of the student business organization BizQuest.

After meeting with several Chinese students and various other Chinese business leaders, we were better able to outline our goals and form a solid direction for our proposal. Our approach to this came at quite a few different angles.

Sierra-Rach%20and%20I%20measuring%20land%20for%20KPMGPark-sm.jpgAlong with our detailed layout for the program itself, we also came up with a design for a permanent structure to be built on campus that is meant to symbolize Chinese values. This physical structure, which we called the “KPMG Park,” would serve both as a means of gaining awareness about the Chinese community/networking program as well as provide a comfortable place to relax and reflect for the students at “Uni.”

Sierra-Me%20writing%20down%20measurements%20for%20KPMG%20Park-sm.jpg Considering we each knew nothing about architecture or landscaping, this was certainly a twist for each of us. The business side of our architectural venture was, of course, trying to account for the many expenses of this project – would it be feasible? Through much research, measuring and accounting for all our materials needed, we were able to finalize our expense report and present it to Glen our last day.

This was not only a great learning experience for me but also a very important one for the three of us to be involved in. So if in the future, our ideas are implemented not only with the networking program but also the KPMG Park, everyone will know who the brains were behind the show – haha, j/k ;-)

Sierrra-Saying%20Goodbye%20to%20Dan%20at%20the%20Tav-sm.jpg“Cheers, Mate”

After six weeks of living out of a backpack, country hopping, adventures, trials and an array of incredible experiences, my time abroad has come to a close. Our flight didn’t leave till midnight Friday, so we went to the “Tav” (the on-campus pub) in the evening to hang out with all our friends and also enjoy a reunion with our “Asia study tour clan” before we left.

After a good time of dancing and sharing memories with each other, we said our final goodbyes and Tash drove us to the airport. The flight back felt like a century long, but nevertheless we made it safely.

Sierra-Goodbye%20to%20friends%20at%20the%20Tav-sm.jpg Now it’s back to reality and catching up on lots of lost sleep. The first few nights back in the U.S, I couldn’t seem to sleep in past 4 am – thankfully, though, that has changed … and I also never thought I would be so excited to do laundry!

Recap and many, many thanks!

This has truly been a very rewarding life experience, not only academically but personally as well. I had to learn a lot of patience along the way. Having to overcome the hurdle of not having a computer for four weeks was an obstacle in itself but a blessing in disguise. Learning to step out of my own “comfort zone” and try new things gave me a renewed appreciation for adventure.

It was also fascinating to see how much more energy-efficient all these other countries are in relation to the U.S. I hope that I can implement these same high standards in my own lifestyle.

Every place I traveled comes with a special memory and a story to tell. If you ask me in person I might tell you a few of my favorites, but it is difficult to put into words everything that I was able to see and do in countries so different from my own.

I know this trip wouldn’t have been possible without the help of several key people, to whom I am most grateful. Since Ricky, Rach and I were the “Guinea pigs” of the A&A summer program, there were many unknowns leading up to this trip – one of which was whether or not it would even be possible. Thank you to Kelli Anderson for “putting up” with me coming to the International Center almost every day in my eager anticipation to see if it was even a go; and thank you to Sarah Hanan for always being so prompt in keeping my blog updated, and allowing me to clog up her inbox with so many pictures.

I must also thank the Chugach Heritage Foundation for their financial generosity. To my coaches especially, for their trust, and giving me the opportunity to make this a reality; it couldn’t have happened otherwise. Thank you to my Grandma Margaret for her always overwhelming financial support; and also to my parents for their support and encouragement; especially my mother for stimulating my interest in traveling in the first place, and giving me the privilege of seeing the world as I have.

Thank you of course to my “Partners in Crime” Ricky and Rachael and all our incredible memories together; it wouldn’t have been the same without you guys. Thank you, Ricky, for always looking out for us, whether it be immigration problems in Malaysia, credit card issues in Australia, getting sick in China, or late-night runs in Perth; thanks for being there – you can forgive me now for making you sick too ;)

And lastly, thank you to our Australian friends for showing us the ropes during our stay and helping us get around town those few weeks in Perth! I could go on foreve,r but many thanks to all of you!!!

Sierra-Goodbye%20Tash%20at%20airport-sm.jpgI am not sure where the path leads to next. I know that studying these different cultures is essential to doing business in our now very global economy. Wherever I end up, I know I will always be able to take with me the skills and life lessons I have learned through this voyage. Until then, thank you so much for keeping up with me and joining me on this unforgettable journey through Asia and Australia!

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