We arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday 12th January. We were picked up from the airport by UNCC students and taken to the Drury Inn, which will be our home away from home for the next three weeks. Everyone came during the day so by the end of the night we had all gathered in the lobby and were getting to know each other. The rest of the weekend was spent exploring the neighbourhood and for some of us adjusting to the time zone.
|UNCC campus at night|
Monday morning we were picked up and taken to UNCC for the first time. We had a short orientation meeting and a tour of the campus. The campus is beautiful and vastly different to any Australian university. It was very stereotypically American, on our first lunchbreak a group of sorority girls even broke out in dance in the middle of the student union.
|The sorority girls breaking out in dance|
From a study perspective, our week has been spent visiting numerous businesses, hearing from a number of guest speakers and a number of lectures by UNCC faculty. Two of the guest speakers we got to hear from were, Wayne Cooper, who’s had a lifetime of running international businesses and was also the honourable consult to Mexico for the Carolinas, and also Jim De Piante, a virtual team manager for IBM who was involved in the Watson project (which for those of you who don’t know is a computer that reads books, understands them and ended up beating the two best contestants from Jeopardy ever). We also visited the Bank of America, Chamber of Commerce and K&L Gates law firm.
|The group of us with Dana Hicks from Huber Technology|
During our time we will participate in two different classes, one a marketing based subject which is taught by a very animated Sunil Erevelles and a communication subject taught by the lovely Sandy Hanson. So far these have been really beneficial and we're looking forward to the next few weeks.
|Sally, Cassandra, Marija and Jasmyn at the 49ers game|
Culturally we have had the opportunity to go to a UNCC college basketball game, which ended up in a 49ers win! We’ve also got to visit numerous malls and shopping centres around the area and participated in a scavenger hunt in Uptown Charlotte. Today we did a tour of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the home of NASCAR, which came complete with two laps of the track.
|49ers game, which they won!|
The hotel is situated in a good spot, there are thousands of places to eat nearby and anywhere else that we need to go the UNCC students have been awesome helping us out with. The hotel staff are fantastic, they know most of us by names already and we’ve even made friends with some of the yearlong residents.
Its great having the education group here as well, there is lots of socialising and fun being had. Everyone seems to be having a great time, both with the study part and the cultural part and there’s lots of professional networking going on. It’s a pretty full on schedule, very busy, early mornings, sleep when you can. We are really looking forward to next week’s schedule. There will be lots to talk about then.
~Cassandra and Jasmyn