Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Saturday - Australian Aboriginal Elders Farewell Dinner

Saturday was the program's final full-day in Australia before the students departed to various destinations on Sunday.  The week was a wonderful journey filled with countless learning opportunities and experiences.  Students spent much of Saturday exploring Sydney and the surrounding areas on their own.  In the evening, we gathered one last time to have a farewell dinner hosted by Australian Aboriginal Elders.  The experience was remarkable and the perfect conclusion to a spectacular program.  Below are some pictures from the event, including a picture from the welcome ceremony.

We hope you have enjoyed following our adventures in Sydney, and we hope you will follow other Southern Illinois University School of Law Legal Globalization and Comparative Law courses as they travel around the world learning about different countries, cultures, and legal systems.

Until next time.

Sunrise over Sydney Harbour

Student Post - Willie Lyles

The dinner with Aboriginal Elders has to be the highlight of this trip. Hearing their stories of overcoming and triumph gave me hope that we can fix our issues with race in America. With resolve and determination we can forge a lasting reconciliation that fosters peace and understanding. It takes leadership from the top and a willingness to see those who are invisible and acknowledge their place in society.

Student Post - Nazia Hosein

Traveling to Australia was an amazing experience. I have always wanted to visit Australia, but I was amazed by how beautiful Sydney was. We were fortunate that Vivid Sydney was going on while we were there. All of the the lights were beautiful. The food was delicious, two of the places I would recommend would be Saki (a sushi place) and O-Bar (a restaurant the spins giving you a 360 view of the city while you eat). I truly enjoyed it and will be back and I would recommend it to anyone, with the warning that they should be prepared to walk a lot.

Student Post - Maria Napolez

Visiting Sydney during Vivid was absolutely amazing! All of the lights and art work displayed made walking through the city an extremely exciting experience! Staying in the rocks was fabulous! Being central to great shops, eateries, the opera house, and public transportation made exploring the city an adventurous and easy task. I particularly loved seeing the Sydney Orchestra at the opera house, and visiting Manly beach! The welcoming dinner location and views were breathtaking. I also enjoyed visiting Australia's different courts whilst exploring the city on our way to our scheduled visits. Visiting the U.S. Consulate was extremely interesting, as well as visiting Ernst & Young and Baker McKenzie. Ending the trip visiting Aboriginal elders was another highlight of the trip. Having explored Sydney for the past week and trying the different varieties of foods from Australian, to Japanese, and Italian was a way to feel a part of the Australian culture in Sydney, so ending with a glimpse into the Aboriginal culture, after learning about it prior to visiting, really completed the visit for me. Overall, this experience has been incredible!!

Student Post - Chauncy Graham

Australia was great. I ate great and bonded with classmates I've never even spoken to. We learned so much about international law. I'm really considering studying abroad again and even working abroad. I recommend the class and Sydney to everyone!

Student Post - Hillary Hines

Last Day - On our last day of Sydney, a group of us decided to take a bus out to Bondi Beach for the day. Sadly, since it is Australia’s winter, it was rather cold so although we enjoyed the beautiful beach, we did not catch much sun. We then ventured over to the Bondi Beach Farmer’s Market. The market was very similar to ones in the United States. There were tons of vendors with their own homemade products, including chocolate, cakes, produce, and flowers. We bought our lunch at the Farmers market and took a place on the lawn, sitting in the sun (it finally came out for a minute), and enjoy some live music.

Later in the evening, we went to our closing dinner with an aboriginal experience. Our hostesses were amazing, sharing stories regarding their culture’s past, present, and future. It was truly a unique experience and the food was fantastic. It was a very nice way to end what was one of the best adventures I have ever been on. Throughout this trip, I made lasting friendships and memories that will continue with me throughout my future law and personal endeavors.

Student Post - Titilayo Agunloye

Today we visited the US Consulate in Australia and spoke with the Consul General and others from the office. The experience was quite interesting. One topic that rang clear was the idea of the United States being the world police and world problem solver. As our lecturer spoke about his role as a federal IRS agent for Australia, he discussed the differences in criminal sentencing. In Australia, many offenses that would impose at least a minimum of ten years in the United States have a maximum sentence of five years in Australia. The Australian government views time from a different lens than in the United States. He went on to discuss some of the most common schemes investigated by his department, which were money laundering and trade based laundering. One of the things I appreciated most was the respect the United States gives to other countries criminal process. It is not easy to be present in another country with a less stringent process for sentencing criminals and to be in a country that does not want to change its process. I respect the decisions by US officials to not tamper with the country’s policy nor impose their own sentencing structure upon another entity. In sum, he discussed his primary mission in life was to make a difference in the world and he seems to be walking in that peripheral.

Student Post - Kristen Tomcza

On Sunday May 31, 2015, we went to two museums; the Barracks museum and the Justice and Police museum. In my opinion the Justice and Police museum was the better of the two because of the tour guide, Ivan. He has a way of telling history as though is it a story that draws you in, even if you aren't interested in the topic you end up listening. He was also very knowledgeable on the conditions of staying in the jail, the pajama girl murder & a famous child kidnapping case in Australia. I thought that the use of forensic science to aid in the solving of the cases was interesting and that without it the cases never would have been solved. The museum had also acquired furniture from when the buildings were built and some furniture was also originally from the buildings. It added character and history to the buildings. Overall, this day was the most interesting because it showed how not only the law was structured but how science played a roll in solving cases.

Student Post - Alexis Crittenden

Sydney, Australia is a beautiful place and there are so many places to visit and things to do in such a short period of time. I enjoyed all of our class visits and touristy things we did. My favorite adventure during our time in Australia was at the U.S. Consulate. Although it was a hassle trying to get through security, the speakers were great and very informative and knowledgeable in their respective fields. I took a lot away from that visit. Someone from the IRS, FBI, the Consulate General, and a diplomat ICE officer. The visit just opened my eyes even further into the many different fields you could possibly go into after law school. An officer from the IRS was the most entertaining and interesting speaker. When you think about the IRS you don't usually think about organized crime and them having a hand in certain criminal investigations. All the speakers were very engaging and encouraged me to learn more about their fields and look into maybe joining the foreign service. We visited a lot of various offices and it's just so fascinating the areas of study and things they do concerning fraud and white collar crime.

Student Post - Bradley Young

Coming off the plane in the “Land Down Under,” the differences between Australia and the States are quite apparent. Cars are driving on the wrong side of the road, everyone has an accent until the realization you have the weird accent, the green American paper dollars are traded in for strange, brightly-colored bills made of plastic and a bevy of tiny little coins that are somehow worth two dollars. Around you the animals are very different. Large white cockatoos soar through strange treetops, kangaroos hop around instead of deer, and you're told every animal you see can kill you. It is very different and a bit of a culture shock.

Then, as time passes Australia becomes more and more familiar. The history of Australia is that of white English settlers landing on a foreign land filled with indigenous people without a concept of land ownership. Strife and disease decimate the aboriginal population and the settlers begin claiming land. The settlers push westward in search of wealth and land for cattle and farms. Eventually, a country stretches from one side of the continent to the other. The world wars come and take many lives, depressions and booms occur, migrants from all over the world blend in a new melting pot creating a new fusion of culture. As one lays back on a rooftop patio relaxing with a local wine, the city skyline is filled with busy people working in tall skyscrapers. If one did not know this was Australia, he could easily think he was living in New York or Miami. Despite all the differences and culture shock, “Oz” has come to feel like home back in “The States.”

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Friday - District Court of NSW and Baker McKenzie

On Friday, the group began the day by visiting with Judge Zahra, a judge in the criminal division of the NSW District Court.  Judge Zahra gave a great presentation and, as always, was incredibly gracious and welcoming.  After meeting with the judge, the students observed several criminal court proceedings, including both criminal trials and criminal sentencings.

In the afternoon, the students visited Baker & McKenzie law firm.  Georgie Farrant gave a detailed and excellent presentation on white collar crime in Australia.  Along with the exceptional presentation materials, the Baker & McKenzie visit offered the students the opportunity to take in the amazing views across Sydney Harbour from their offices.

Student Post - Jamika Hilliard

The most memorable part of the trip so far was the police and justice museum. The first part of the tour involved a slide show of convicts. Then we were marched to the courtroom and given a position in life. I was a juror, not what I expected, judge would have been more suitable. However, I digress.

There were several convicts confined to "the dock." The dock was a holding cell for convicts during court. We learned that the dock is no longer around because it automatically made convicts look guilty.

The dock took me to the past for a moment. I pictured myself sitting in a courtroom looking at the convicts and imagined the police trying to haul a convict away. I imagined it being a terrible thing to witness.

I imagined a convict holding on to the cell bars, while his hands were beat. I imagined screams from the convicts and their families. I imagined the odor of the convicts and the room they had to share with 13 others.  I could only imagine these things. One thing that I do not have to imagine is being an American. This museum visit made me remember how lucky I am.

Student Post - Sydney Grover

So far I have had one of the best experiences in Sydney. From landing, to attending the NSW lecture and the U.S. consultant all the way to Vivid Sydney was a rewarding experience. That  gave me a greater understanding and appreciation for the culture, specifically how much walking the Australians do in a day. One event that we did that helped me appreciate Sydney more was the historic walking tour. Our tour guide, Sophie, was very informative and funny, which made the tour a breeze. One spot in particular that I will never forget is the first church we saw, Anglican Church of Australia, The Garrison Church, it was on the corner of Argyle next to a very expensive neighborhood. Inside the church it was very grand and beautiful with grand windows, that had engravings on them from certain families. She told us the history of the church, which was that it was supposed to be a school for the community, but someone of higher authority came to town and declared that is should be a church instead, so that is what it became. A year later that man's brother in-law became the priest, isn't that a coincidence. An  experience to remember with wonderful imaginary forever in my memory.

Student Post - Chris Davault

One of the reasons why I chose to do the Legal Globalization Australia trip was that I wanted to see and experience some of what Australia has to offer. The past few days in Sydney have been fantastic. Our group met new people and we were exposed to careers in the legal system involving White Collar Crime. We went to several museums and attractions and all have been great. The day trip to the Blue Mountains was great, you just have to go there to experience the beauty of the mountains.
Along with this, one of my other favorite experiences was going to the U.S. Consulate and learning about the different roles the consulate plays.  The time we spent talking to several people has allowed for a better understanding of relations the U.S. has with other countries. We learned the U.S. has had a presence with Australia since the 1830s and it shows. Coming here seems like one is not in another country mostly. Sydney feels more like New York.

I am glad I decided to be apart of this opportunity.

Student Post - Kathleen Boles

Today we took a tour to the Blue Mountains. The first stop was to the Featherdale Wildlife Park where we were able to pet a koala and kangaroos. We were also able to observe a variety of indigenous animals such as the wombat, the dingo and the wallaby, among others. In addition to the animals we saw, I was surprised at how many different birds were indigenous to Australia. My favorite was being able to feed and interact with the kangaroos. They were very tame and friendly and seemed to really enjoy ice cream cones.

After the zoo and a quick lunch, we drove to the Blue Mountains and were able to see a variety of Aboriginal tribal dances and were introduced to the Aboriginal culture. The dances were very interesting to watch and many of them involved mimicking the movements of indigenous animals like the kangaroo and the emu. I was reminded very much of the Native American culture in the United States.

After the tribal dances, we took cable cars further into the mountains and got better views of the landscape and a rock formation called the Three Sisters. I was surprised to find out that the Blue Mountains are called such because the Eucalyptus trees emit a lot of oil, which creates a haze around the mountains, giving them a blue color. It was also interesting to be in the rainforest in the Blue Mountains, on a day like today because it was such a brisk day. I always picture a rainforest as a very humid and tropical place, but today it was rather chilly and damp.

Student Post - Natalie Kase

Today we visited Ernst & Young.  I really enjoyed hearing the speaker from the firm because of the experience I had in the FCPA class.  The content of the presentation reinforced many of the themes I learned in my dedicated FCPA course and the International White Collar Crime component of this course.  The speaker tied in a lot of themes, such as the mentality and attitudes of the white collar criminal and the efforts of compliance departments.  Particularly,  I found it useful to hear what large international firms look for in hiring international candidates and how to break into the enforcement field of work. 

Picture with U.S. Consul General

Many thanks to the U.S. Consulate in Sydney for providing us with the below picture of the students with U.S. Consul General Llorens.  He gave a wonderful presentation to the students.

Thursday - Ernst & Young and Whale Watching

On Thursday, the students spent the morning learning about international fraud investigations from Rob Locke at Ernst & Young in Sydney.  The students thoroughly enjoyed the discussion and learned a great deal about this evolving and complex field.

In the afternoon, the group went whale watching off the Australian coast.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Student Post - Amelia Finch

The day that stood out the most to me was Tuesday, June 2. We visited the U.S. Consulate and heard from a few different individuals who shared different views of their respective perspectives of international white collar crime, corruption, and terrorism. We heard from the U.S. Consulate General, an individual from the U.S. Department of state, and an individual from the F.B.I. Going into this trip, I knew I wanted to be in the investigation field of white collar crime, but hearing from all of these individuals really opened my eyes to many different career paths that I had never before thought of. After hearing from these individuals, I found a new excitement about my future.

Student Post - Justin Nollau

I was somewhat surprised by Sydney’s real estate prices. I knew they were expensive, but not that high. Much like any large city, real estate prices tend to rise the closer you get to downtown. $3.5 million for a one-bedroom apartment in the historic district caught me off guard. I was surprised to learn that rent was calculated on a weekly scale. This seems like an excessive system. I see the benefit of a potential shorter time to learn of a renter’s intent to default, but there is also the burden of trying to collect rent every week. I would be interested to learn more about how often wages are paid to employees. When it comes to government subsidized housing, the system seems odd as it seems to create a dependency on receiving government money. Having to report income seems fair, but demanding payment of almost all one’s income appears to create a cycle of poverty. How are individuals going to break out of the system under current constraints?

Student Post - Julie Bullock

Australia has been an interesting trip. The mixture and variety of cultures here are even more numerous than in America. I have always considered our country to be one of the most successful mixtures of cultures and ethnicity, but Australia is impressive. I attended mass at one of the most beautiful Catholic cathedrals I have ever seen, St. Mary's, located in the Hyde Park region of Sydney. I literally had goosebumps as we listened to the choir sing. They were amazing. The church is an architectural masterpiece with huge, beatify archways. My grandfather is going to be thrilled to learn that I was able to see and attend mass at the church. Prior to leaving the States, he informed me of the places he would like to visit if he had the chance, as he always does before I vacation, and it will make him so happy to see the program I will bring back and to see my pictures of St. Mary's.

Today we visited the U.S. consulate general. I learned how important Australia's global relations with the United States are. I did not realize how closely the United States and Australia work together on things such as combating terrorism. The speakers were so informative and really gave me new perspectives about how the global economy is changing. They informed us that the United States' economy and continuation as a dominant force in the world's market is very dependent on its relations with Australia. I had no idea that the pacific region has so many dominant influences on world trade and it was refreshing to see how countries are working together as a global community to combat our world problems. It was also interesting to learn how well Australia's financial state is due to their vast resources. It is apparent that there is a lot of money and wealth in Australia, and perhaps gives me hope that our country, too, can continue to have great success in this tough world.

Student Post - Neil Reynolds

I woke up in Sydney for the first time this morning. I walked out the door, and I am greeted by the most incredible view. Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge, two of Sydney’s most famous landmarks simultaneously with the sun barely peeking out from the clouds behind them. I walk a few steps onto the patio and I sit down to work on the Law Journal write on competition. I am the only one on the patio. After about 5 minutes, someone comes walking onto the patio. He stands there taking in the view for a few moments and then he approaches me. He asks me where I am from and what I am doing here. I tell him. He asks me if I have studied the Aborigines, the indigenous people of Australia. I tell him we have, and that they were treated very similarly to the Native Americans in my country. He identifies himself as an Aboriginal Australian. His name is Joel Bailey.
We talk for the remaining hour before I have to leave for breakfast. We began talking about his job and the general routine of life for him in Australia. Instead of a monthly rent like we have in USA, they pay by the week. He says many people in Australia live week to week, and he is one of them. I asked him about minimum wage laws in Australia. He told me they didn’t have a minimum wage. Your wage is determined by your age group and your occupation. Age groups he mentioned were “youth” and “adult.” Occupations would vary tremendously I imagine. He told me when he was a youth he made $6.25 an hour. Interestingly enough, this is exactly what my first wage was at Burger King in the US. He currently makes $25 an hour. The important thing I took away was that there was a lot of varying wages all over Australia, and no set minimum, but the minimum possible wage would be reserved for a youth under age 18.

He then started talking about his family and how they lived. He is the only member of his family living week to week, and working for his wage. The other members of his family live off of the government. He says the government pays them $200-250 per week, and their quality of life is not very good. He tries to push his sister and his mother to get jobs and make around $400 a week like him so that they can afford to spend money on things like alcohol and entertainment, but they just do not want to work. He is happy working hard during the week and having fun on weekends. He also takes pride in earning things for himself instead of having everything handed to him. He wonders why his family doesn’t at least try it.

He also talked about the apology. When he was in high school the government issued an apology to aborigines for the “lost generation,” a time when aboriginal children were taken by the government in an effort to assimilate them into the culture (or perhaps other more nefarious reasons). He was the only aboriginal at his high school. They brought him up on stage in front of the entire school to apologize to him. They let him say a few words. He tells them that they have nothing to apologize for. No one in that room had anything to do with the lost generation. They had no reason to apologize, and he could not accept their apology.

Finally, we talked about video games. He played a lot of the same video games as I did. Including World of Warcraft (“WoW”). WoW is the reason I am so interested in visiting Australia, and why I have so many friends in this country to visit. We exchanged information, and when I get back to the states I can add him as a friend in WoW so that we can play video games together.

Student Post - Going to the Gardens - Emily Frazer

The highlight of my week so far was nothing too academic (although everything was incredibly interesting).  When I stepped onto the grounds of Sydney, Australia’s Botanical Gardens my heart melted a little bit.  I played with Cockatoos, climbed on rocks jutting out of Sydney Harbor, defended my carrot cake from suspicious looking birds, and ambled through the beautiful trees of Australia with my friends and fellow law students.  I couldn’t have had a more pleasant day. 

Our group also went to the ANZAC Memorial by St. Mary’s Cathedral and I was humbled.  They lost so many at Gallipoli and in so many other wars and yet, I don’t actually remember a time when I learned Australia, specifically, ever joined in a fight.  Neither my history classes, nor my general education ever really covered it.  In a way though, I suppose, this makes their dedication to freedom that much more valuable because they are the unsung heroes.  As I left, I took a long pause in contemplation and was saddened by the loss, but grateful for their service. 

It should be said again, thank you.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wednesday - Blue Mountains Visit

On Wednesday, the group rose early to travel to the Blue Mountains outside Sydney.  The first stop was to a wildlife park, where the students had the opportunity to pet Koalas and feed wallabies.

We then continued on to see the famous Three Sisters rock formation and attend a fascinating Aboriginal Australian ceremonial performance. 

Tuesday - The U.S. Consulate and Vivid Sydney Cruise

Today, the students visited the U.S. Consulate, where they were honored to meet with U.S. Consul General Hugo Llorens.  During the visit, the students also met with representatives of the IRS Criminal Investigation division, FBI, and Diplomatic Security Service.  It was a wonderful visit and a great opportunity for the students to learn more about international enforcement actions and white collar criminal prosecutions worldwide.

After the Consulate visit, the students took a cruise around Sydney Harbour to see some the lights from the annual Vivid Sydney festival.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Monday - The Courts and a Walking Tour of the Rocks

On Monday, the group began the day by visiting the Supreme Court of New South Wales. During the visit, the students were able to meet with a representative of the court to learn more about the court's operation and the application of criminal law in Australia.  The students then watched several appellate arguments in criminal matters.

In the afternoon, the group enjoyed a walking tour of The Rocks with a special focus on the role of law in early Australia.

The First Couple of Days in Sydney

As the week progresses, this blog will feature photos of the group's activities, along with individual blog entries by the students discussing some of their unique learning experiences in Australia. Below are a few pictures from activities during the first couple of days.

The group arrived on Saturday and spent much of the day adjusting to the new surroundings.

On Sunday, the group enjoyed touring the Hyde Park Barracks Museum and the Police and Justice Museum.  Each offered hands-on opportunities to experience Australia's past and learn more about the important role law has played in the country's history.

After touring the museums and spending the afternoon at a festival in Manly Beach, the group gathered at Hugo's in Manly for a wonderful welcome dinner.  We arrived just in time for a spectacular Sydney sunset.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

On our way... Sydney, Australia 2015

Over the next week, twenty students from Southern Illinois University School of Law will travel to Sydney, Australia as part of a legal globalization and comparative law course regarding international white collar crime. During their travels, they will meet with various officials from the law enforcement community and the legal community to learn first-hand about this evolving and dynamic field. We hope you will follow along through this blog.