Skip to Content

Learning in the Land Down Under

Sport Management Students Experience the History and Culture of Australia
A group of students and professors are posed in Sidney Bay Area

Students enrolled in SPM 300 – Australia: Sport, History and Culture, spent time near the Sydney Harbor Bridge and famed Sydney Opera House.
An immersive trip to study the history and culture of Australia–along with enjoying a game of footy and a tasty meat pie, too–was the order of the day for a group of Syracuse Abroad students who spent time this month in the land down under.

The group was guided by David B. Falk Endowed Professor of Sport Management Rick Burton, who at one time served as commissioner of the Australian National Basketball League. Burton has led Syracuse University students on trips to the region for more than 10 years. This trip was the first time students returned to the country since before the COVID-19 pandemic, and they were excited to be there.

“For some of us, this was years in the making. COVID-19 hit the world hard in the year 2020, when the last trip was scheduled,” says Preston Klaus ’22, G’23, who blogged about the trip with his classmates.

One of group’s first stops after arriving in Melbourne was to visit the Melbourne Skydeck.

“The Melbourne Skydeck is on the 88th floor of Eureka Tower and boasts incredible 360-degree views of the city,” according to Klaus’ blog. “Before riding the elevator to the top, we experienced a 10-minute virtual reality tour of Melbourne, including courtside views of the Australian Open.

“We then made our way up to the top, where we were in awe of the wonderful sight of Melbourne at night,” Klaus wrote. “The pictures do not do it justice. We sat up there for nearly an hour as it finally sank in that we’re really here. All of the anticipation and we finally made it.”

The June 1-19 trip was part of a three-credit course titled SPM 300 – Australia: Sport, History and Culture. The students stayed in a different city approximately five days and, along with classroom work, enjoyed cultural studies with trips to the rainforest and in-depth study of Indigenous communities. The group visited Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns (the Great Barrier Reef), taking in professional football and basketball, as well as snorkeling, scuba diving and “jungle surfing” in the Daintree National Park.

The students visited the Queen Victoria Markets, Australia’s Sporting Hall of Fame, Sydney Harbour and Cape Tribulation, where British explorer James Cook ran aground in 1770. Most days were filled with planned activities, meetings and sightseeing. As part of their journey, students met with the CEOs of top sports marketing firms, including Twenty3 Sport and Entertainment. They also met with SU alum Ruffy Geminder ’82, G’84, founder and chairman of Pact Group Holdings, the largest packaging company in Australia.

Side trips included an in-person tour of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, attending an Australian Rules Football match, visiting Australia’s famed coasts and the Sydney Opera House, and, of course, sampling local delicacies.

More information about the students’ experiences and photos from their trip can be found on their day-to-day journal.