End of Trip, Beginning of Life Overseas

Trip Start Nov 01, 2007
Trip End Mar 01, 2008

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Hey everybody!  It's been quite a while with no postings, and I just wanted to provide everybody with an update.  Two things up front before I get into the post: there are links to pictures from my entire trip at the bottom, including some not on this site, and I will be leaving all the postings unfinished and instead focusing on everything that is new...life in Australia!

I've been in Melbourne since February, and am really enjoying things here.  The rental market has a vacancy rate of less than 1%, so it took me a while to find a place to live (the professor I'm working with was kind enough to let me stay in his house during that time), but now I have a great place right near the city!  It's like a 5 minute walk into all the action, but I'm still surrounded by these beautiful parks (if you want a google map view, the address is 211 Wellington Parade South; East Melbourne, VIC 3002 Australia).

Life has gotten a lot more crazy here that I was hoping (I think it must be something innate to me, and not necessarily a problem with the US) between school, my outside research into innovation in Australia, exercise, and meeting new people.  I'm definitely enjoying it though...the classes are great...all related to teaching science people how to start and run a functional company, and we have stuff in intellectual property law, marketing, management, accounting, new venture financing, and this big commercialization project that we work on all year.  My commercialization project is with this scientists who's developed a way to create a synthetic photosynthesis...so he uses a catalyst to split water into hydrogen and oxygen using just sunlight.  This may sound like no big deal, but basically from this you can generate electricity (via the hydrogen) and clean water (desalinate too).  So that's pretty exciting!

In terms of reseach, I'm still pinning down exactly what I want to do, but right now it looks like I'm going to take a stab at measuring Australian scientific output, and Australian commercialization output, comparing the two side by side to figure out if the problem with innovation in Australia is on the scientific or business side.  I've been really lucky in terms of meeting people.  I went to a Stanford Alumni wine event here, which was all GSB people, but they were still nice to me.  One of the guys there I ended up visiting with a bit about my research, and he offered some data on venture capital.  I connected with him, and it turns out that he is kind of a big shot...ran some huge companies here, and currently is in private equity with the company (I think) that tried to lead the Qantas takeover.  Anyway, so he is also really interested in promoting science as a way to create wealth, and he's offered to put me in touch with all of these really cool people to talk with, including the minister of innovation, several CEOs, heads of universities, and this really cool sounding botanist lady.  So that was definitely a lucky break.  Gotta love Stanford!

In terms of social stuff, everything has been great too.  One of the Australian Fulbrighters (who happens to have gone to the university I'm at now, and who while in the US, is studying at Stanford) put me in touch with a bunch of his friends, which was a HUGE help.  They are all really really nice people, and include me whenever things are going on.  I've spent many weekends hanging out with them...going to Footy games, eating Chinese dumplings, and visiting the bars.  Also, there is another Fulbrighter in Melbourne, and I end up hanging out with Emily a lot.  She's really cool too...used to be an Olympic-track figure skater, and is now a Fulbrighter!  What a life!  We get along really well, and hang out most weekends, even if it's just grocery shopping or something like that.  While here, I'd wanted to get involved in some clubs (triathlon, cycling...something!), but I'm just too wiped out at the end of the day to even think about that.  So for now, I've just been running and cycling on my own...at least I can pick the times that work best for me!  And plus, then I can listen to podcasts while I run (I'm currently addicted to the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders seminar series at Stanford...I know, I'm a nerd :) ). 

I've gotten to travel a bit too, and visited Perth for a Fulbright even (spent the weekend with the other scholars in an around Perth too), and then went up to Sydney to spend a week with the Fulbrighers there.  It's been fun...everybody is great, and everybody has a different/wacky project they're working on.

So one of the reasons I'm making a new entry is to "close off" my previous adventures.  I know that a lot of the entries are not done, and I apologize for never finishing them.  However, I would like to post all of my pictures from those previous travels!  The only problem is that this website is pretty bad for picture uploading, so I put them all on Facebook instead.  The links are below, and you can view the pictures whether or not you have a Facebook account.  Just copy the links and paste them into the browser address bar and hit "enter".  Enjoy!:

New York/DC/Vienna: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2113216&l=87837&id=202030
Egypt: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2113220&l=84f21&id=202030
Jordan: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2113229&l=4dd21&id=202030
Israel: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2113883&l=afe52&id=202030
Greece (with Family): http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2119068&l=88f97&id=202030
Turkey (with Family): http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2119069&l=feaf9&id=202030
Africa I: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2119170&l=d4216&id=202030
Africa II: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2119171&l=b1b6d&id=202030
Melbourne: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2114149&l=522d1&id=202030
Perth: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2115756&l=8b357&id=202030
Sydney: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2116953&l=9e3ce&id=202030
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