I just returned from a month Down Under and was not prepared for the multiple polar vortexes that met me in NYC upon my return. The saving grace is that I am incredibly excited for my classes and professors this semester. In fact, I think I am over-registered for classes but that is a topic for another time.
One of the best things about grad school, and Stern in particular, is the ample amount of vacation time. I’m serious. And I mean this in a business sense. A lot of learning here at Stern takes place beyond the semester and beyond the walls of the classroom. Stern offers many travel programs (such as DBi classes, Commerce & Cannes, Operations in Panama, Operations in Vegas, etc.) to enrich the overall learning experience. Before arriving at Stern, I was convinced I would do multiple DBI’s, one every semester, and travel the globe. I’m in my last semester and while I haven’t managed to take any DBi’s yet, I have been able to take advantage of the vacation time to travel with Sternies, explore new cultures, deepen friendships and form new ones, and visit amazing places.
This past January, I spent a month traveling throughout Australia, Indonesia, and New Zealand, with a varied group of Sternies. Traveling with Sternies is great because everyone is so open and friendly and willing to travel together even if you aren’t best friends before the trip. Did I mention it was summer there and an average of 80+ degrees? The first stop was Sydney, where I learned how to surf in Bondi Beach and drank some of the best coffee ever (flat white). In the Whitsundays, I snorkeled the great barrier reef while a friend got scuba certified. I crashed the DBi in Melbourne, where we took a tour of the Great Ocean Road and spotted koalas, visited their version of Williamsburg (Fitzroy), sampled kangaroo steak (delicious!) and watched Venus Williams at the Australian Open (for class credit for the DBI’ers). In Indonesia, I wandered around terraced rice paddies, fed monkeys in the wild, ate delicious and cheap food, and explored the temples from “Eat, Pray, Love”. New Zealand has the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen. We went wine tasting, hiked a volcano, drove through rolling hills (think “The Hobbit”), hung out with sheep, visited gorgeous public beaches, saw dolphins, and drank more delicious coffee. I’m thankful that Stern gives us over a month off of school in order to take the time to pursue things we really love and that will enhance our lives – whether it’s spending time with family, traveling with friends, studying about business in a foreign country or a combination of all three. Alas, vacation is now over but the learning continues in the classroom!