A Travellerspoint blog

If you chase two rabbits...

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...they both will get away.

That was the statement we were asked to evaluate in our marketing course today.

Today was the first day of my International Marketing class. I have taken a fundamental principles of marketing course but had never in my educational career wished to advance past that stage. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the topic and understand the importance of marketing within any organization but studying marketing beyond what I have never interested me, until now.

Up until this point, Corporate Strategy was my favorite course. Now, it looks like it is going to be a duel. I enjoyed my first session of International Marketing very much today. I think it is the professors in both courses that really make the class. They both come have business backgrounds and are still practicing in the field. The courses they respectively teach are just something they do on the side. I like this very much because it is really best to learn business from a professional business person, not a professional business teacher. The practical experience and knowledge they bring to the table is truly the best way of learning.

Today in class we assembled small groups of three and were handed a fictitious case study of a wine company trying to introduce their product in Djibouti, Africa. The case was packed with information but I immediately noticed that 96% of the population was Muslim. Now, practicing Muslims do not consume alcohol. I pointed this fact out to my group, both french students who speak English well, but have trouble reading it. Under my guidance we immediately began to implement a marketing strategy for the product, while the other groups began formulating their recommendation letters as to why the organization should not enter the Djiouti market.

While the 96% Muslim population was certainly a deterrent to entering the market, what the others passed over was the fact that Djibouti has US and French Military bases. These are people discretionary income and time on their hands. My groups marketing strategy was to enter the market and position our product towards the military bases. We also decided to take advantage of the trade routes Djibouti is located along, as well as the prime locations this North Eastern African country surrounds. As part of the strategic plan for the organization we decided to create a distribution center in Djibouti which would enable the organization to enter even more markets, while saving location costs and creating much needed jobs in the Djibouti, with 65% unemployment.

We were the only group to recommend entering the market and with the strategy to back us up, the class and professor were very impressed. While I still have no interest in switching my major to marketing, the case study sparked my interest in the subject, even though we were assigned a 35-40 page, single spaced, 10pnt font, essay!

I have a lot of work to finish tonight in order to prepare for a presentation in the morning!

Posted by harcegnt 21:45 Archived in France Tagged educational Comments (1)

Drinking in Class?

This would not be allowed in the United States!

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In a good half of my classes, the professor and students find any reason possible to serve wine in class. Of course no Wine Marketing course would be complete with out samples every day but in Corporate Strategy and Intercultural Affairs? I find it strange passing wine bottles around the classroom and pouring yourself some. And of course the teacher has to participate! At this point, I am used to it and accept the fact that in France, or at least at NEGOCIA, wine and class complement each other. In fact, on the first floor of my school there is a bar where you can grab a beer, cocktail, or glass of wine in between classes!

Today was the last day of my Wine Marketing Course. We met 8 times over a span of two weeks and just presented our final presentations today. For our presentation, we had to form small groups of four and choose a wine store to visit and analyze. My group chose a small store, by recommendation of the professor, near the school.

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We visited the location last week and have spent the last few days putting together information about the store, creating SWOT and Stakeholder Analysis', developing segmentation trees and constructing our personal recommendations to the store owner for review. Overall the class was a lot of fun and I really learned a lot about Wine and how to market it throughout the world. The class was always amusing because the teacher is German, living in France, teaching a class in English. On the first day, he told us he taught this class to practice his English. I could think was "oh lord". He would often make up his own words and in trying to pronounce them a little bubble of spit would form in the corners of his mouth. It is actually quite disgusting and all of us students had trouble looking at him during class.

I am glad to have one class finished for the semester.

Posted by harcegnt 12:28 Archived in France Tagged educational Comments (1)

Yes, I am still alive

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So it has certainly been a while since you have heard from Me. Life has been crazy to say the least.

School is going well. It is a lot of work. A lot more than I was expecting. It is not that it is hard there is just a lot of it. Every day I have some presentation, test, or essay due. A typical weekday for me consists of waking up at 8:30, just enough time to get dressed and run off to class. I am in class from 9am-5pm most days with one hour for lunch. I guess they are preparing us the life of the 9-5. Classes are fun though because my class (International Masters 1st Year) is only 26 people. We have all of our class together except languages. We have really bonded over the past weeks. For one of our classes we spent two days walking around Paris and seeing a lot of things. Our teacher knows a lot and has a true love of Paris. I have included some pictures of our adventure for you.

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Some of our Group outside Notre Dame, waiting to climb up to the top.

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At the top level of Notre Dame. It really was a great view. We even got to see the bells up close.

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Naoime, Nicolas, and Me on top of the Notre Dame

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Waiting for the rest of the group outside Trocadero Plaza.

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Professing my true love for the Topiary.

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Nicole and I onboard the RER.

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We really were exhausted after 8 hours of walking yesterday.

Last week, we had to do cultural presentations on our home country. Everyone was anxious to see what life was really like in the USA so I included a lot of pictures from High School, College, and of family and friends. I found a picture online of a Chevy Suburban parked next to a Smart Car, which is extremely popular here. The class was in shock at how big a suburban is. They don't have anything close to that size vehicle here. They also like the idea of Prom in High School. I passed out Reeses candy to the class. Only two or three had ever heard of Reeses before and they all loved the mixture of peanut butter and chocolate. I forgot to tell them that the reeses cup has its own brown paper on it under the wrapper, so many ate that as well. Ooops.

Chanelle has been here for a week now. She has gotten to know all of my housemates and the good majority of my classmates. She came out with my housemates one night last week and we went to Footsie, which is a stock market bar. It is really cool because the prices of the drinks change based upon the demand. For example, when we got there our entire table of 7 ordered the same drink. A few minutes later the price of that drink went up .50 euro cent and some other less ordered drinks went down in price. I had class early the next morning so I went home, while Chanelle stayed out with my housemates. Madame invited Chanelle to dinner with us the other night which was nice. We had Crepes. Some with Eggs and Cheese, some with Hot dogs, and some with Nutella and Bannanas! It was delicious and funny because Chanelle had just told me earlier that day that she had really wanted Crepes but couldn't find any.

She also came out last night to meet all of my classmates. We met up and a local pub to watch a band play that one of the classmates was friends with. It was a fun night and I think the French guys had a good time messing with Chanelle.

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They were obsessed with her name and enjoyed asking her all kinds of questions about Chicago. We didn't stay out too late though because today was our Paris adventure day. We went and did everything that Chanelle had been waiting to do. It was a very filled day! We went to trocaderro, the best spot to see the Eiffel tower. We then went to La Marais to and I showed Chanelle some old Nobility residences and we walked past Victor Hugo's house, which I toured with my class last week. Hugo was the author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, among other things. We then walked around La Marais and saw some art galleries and went through the Jewish District. We managed to pick up some gifts for people back home, which was nice. We went in the Pompidu, which is a modern art gallery, and had French Onion Soup for lunch at a nice cafe along the street before heading over to the Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysee to take pictures. We are really exhausted after the hectic day but tomorrow we're going to DISNEYLAND! Disneyland Paris, that is. We plan on spending the entire day there.

The reason nobody has heard from either of us lately is because the Internet has been broken for some days now. We don't expect it to be fixed until Monday, which is not good because I have a lot of classwork I need to work on this weekend. I managed to find WiFi at a local park, but they closed at 6pm?!?! Now I am over at the McDonald's using their WiFi which is working out quite nicely.

The temperature has really dropped over the past few days. The days of having my window open and wearing just a oxford shirt are nearing an end. Time to break out the jackets and scarves.

Chanelle and I both came down with a cold over the past few days, which is taking its toll on us. I'm convinced Chanelle brought it with her from the airplane. We got some medicine but I still don't like being sick in Paris!

Well, I should go now because I need to get some rest for tomorrow. I will try and write soon, when the internt gets back up and running! Hope all is well back in the USA!

-Nathan

Posted by harcegnt 20:18 Archived in France Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Guest Post: Just Getting to Paris

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I am in Paris visiting Nathan until October 5th, so I thought it would be fun to guest post on my happenings in this wonderful city as well. For any of you that may be wondering, I am Nathan's sister, Chanelle.

I have had the opportunity to travel to Europe twice during high school, but have always wanted to return. When I heard Nathan was going to be studying abroad in Paris, I was the first to let him know that I would be coming to visit. I bothered him on a weekly basis to give me some information so I could book my flight.

Well the day finally arrived that I would be leaving and I found myself to be more anxious about everything that had to be done before I left than I was excited. Don't get me wrong, I was extremely excited about visiting, but there is a lot to do when traveling there! I had to lug my suitcase as well as a 35lb duffel bag filled with all sorts of goodies for Nathan. A few hard to find necessities as well as a package from a friend, things from our parents, adding up to just about everything under the sun, and a batch of our grandma's homemade cookies ((personally carried with care)).

Once I got to the airport and got rid of my bags, the excitement began. Only a long plane ride until I could enjoy Paris for the next 10 days! While waiting at the airport I ran in to my Uncle who was heading down to Myrtle Beach for work - so nice of him to see me off. Also, the plane I was taking to Philly was adorned with the Carolina Panthers. I would have thought this to be me more appropriate if I was flying to Charlotte for the next week...

My flight to Philly was a little rocky, but overall no huge freakouts for me, I arrived safely. The 7 hour plane ride to Paris would have been better if I could have slept for most of it! I figured I would have absolutely no problem falling asleep since I went to bed late the night before and woke up at 5am to finish packing before going to work for a few hours. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I probably slept a combined hour, which left me extremely tired upon my arrival. I occupied most of my time listening to music, playing Soduko, and reading up on some of the best things to do in Paris per my new handy travel book. :)

Since Nathan had class all day yesterday, he left me a very detailed email on how to get my self from the airport to his apartment. I felt pretty confident about doing it all on my own, hoping his directions were flawless. Well, it really couldn't have gone any better. Once I walked out of baggage claim at the airport, I saw the bus I was going to be taking to the Arc de Triomphe. I hopped on for a nice hour long ride through traffic and triple checking Nathan's notes so I didn't miss my stop. Really though, you can't miss the Arc de Triomphe if you tried. There are 12 streets that intersect here so it was just a matter of finding his. Luckily, at one point the only street sign that I noticed was the one I needed, so I knew exactly which direction I was headed after getting off.

Now walking to his place, I probably looked like a fool lugging all of this baggage down the street. It was a good 15 minute walk, but wasn't that bad seeing as it was downhill. I found his place shoved everything in the tiny elevator and made my way up to #22 - and arrived at his humble abode.

I know this is against every rule when traveling here, but I HAD to nap. My body was so off schedule that I just needed a short 3 hour snooze, so I did just that until Nathan returned from class. So with unfortunately wasting an entire day getting myself adjusted, we then ventured out for the evening.

We headed out for a bite to eat, although we were the only ones eating at 6pm. Silly Americans. Post dinner, we were very touristy and went to the Eiffel Tower to see it light up and watch is sparkle on the hour. I can't believe I am back in Paris, it almost doesn't seem real. We are planning on going back sometime this week during the daylight to see it and take a trip to the top.

Being extremely exhausted from the traveling and him having an entire day of class, we turned in early on a Friday night. Early, being 11pm. Now, I feel completely well rested and am ready for an adventurous day in Paris!

Until next time, Au Revoir!

PS - Grandma, the cookies are delish! :)

Posted by charceg 01:45 Comments (2)

The English Language, how I have missed you so.

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So it is 11pm here. I am exhausted. But I certainly owe you all a new post!

Sorry for such the long delay between posts. If only you could imagine how busy school has been the past few days. So far this week, and it's only Wed, I have been assigned a 25 page essay, two power point's, two 30 minute presentations, and a 10 minute presentation. All due within the next two weeks! Since I am taking graduate courses here, that is what the expect of us. I am not concerned about it, I know I can handle it. I am just a little shocked by how much work it really is. I am loving every minute of it though. We do most of our work in groups and having so many international students is great. We all have so much experience and talent to bring to the table. Although Wofford is extremely challenging, and the professors and students are on a level I never before had, NEGOCIA is a step above that. These Professors are absolutely amazing and have accomplished so much. They have fantastic teaching styles and the experiences and stories they share fascinate the class and truly keep us engaged. It is great to have the teachers share practical experience with us, instead of teaching out of just a textbook.

England was a blast. The train ride to London was very nice. This is the first time I have taken a train long distance like this. I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth, fast, and comfortable it was. Since we are students, we were able to upgrade our tickets to first class for only $10us each way. It was worth it as you get more leg room, power outlets for the laptop, and a three course meal, including an open bar! For breakfast on the way to London I had a delicious cheese omelet with some nice potatoes, a fantastic vanilla yogurt and a baguette with some of the best apricot jam I think I have ever tasted. I really enjoyed the meal. My buddy Blay ended up taking a later train than I so I arrived a few hours before him. After I departed the station I walked around London a bit to see what I could find. I didn't want to venture too far from the station though, because I didn't want to get lost. Blay has dual citizenship with the UK and has a home in England. His mom was born there. He has been to London a few times and knows the place better than I. I knew once we were reunited I could venture further out.

I just walked a few blocks down and took a bench in a quaint little park. Even though I had only been to one "real" class so far, I already had homework. I had to read a 30 page case study for my Wine Marketing course. It is much easier to do homework sitting on a park bench in London with beautiful flowers and treas all around you. While I was reading my case study, I noted something peculiar. All of the birds (mainly pigeons) in the park all the sudden began to migrate towards one of the entrance gates. It was crazy how all of the sudden they all began to head that way. As I turned to look, I noticed a tall homeless man, mid 40's. The birds knew him. They all went straight to him and circled around him. He stood there, talking to them, informing them he had no food for them. I was really fascinated by the notion that they knew the man the second he placed his first foot inside the park. He walked through the park, right past me, and all the birds followed a long behind him. I wished so badly that I had my video camera on me.

After finishing my work, I went to a pub and had a sandwich. It was great because I was able to hold an intelligent conversation with the bartender able to communicate back. Since I haven't been able to speak English lately, I actually think I forgot how for a little bit. Even when I was on the train and in the station in London, I found myself speaking French, even though everyone spoke English! I even caught myself reading and trying to interpret the french signs, not the English ones! It was crazy, but don't worry, I quickly found the "English in Me".

I met Blay at arrivals in the train station. We then met up with one of his friends from his boarding school. His friend Daniel, took us around London and we saw the major sights. There was a bike race going on through the city so we stopped and saw a little bit of that. It was very hot in London that day and lugging around our luggage made us very thirsty. We stopped at a great venue along the Thames and shared a pitcher, okay two pitchers, of Pimms cup, which is a very popular summer beverage in the UK.

We then headed towards Dan's flat in South London. We dropped of our stuff and relaxed a little bit. One of Dan's flat mates, Collin from Nebraska, was home so he joined us in the kitchen for some afternoon tea. Later we headed out to a pub that Collin works at for Dinner. I had a great cheeseburger to eat and we stayed there for a few rounds of Kronenbourg. The pub is the hangout for the cast of Phantom of the Opera, so we got to meet them when they came in after their show. The pub closes at midnight so we left then with the bartenders and manager (remember Collin works there) and we headed out for some more fun that night. We didn't stay out too late but everyone came back to Dan's flat.

In the morning, Dan cooked Blay and I breakfast and we headed out to see a bit more of London. We went to the Tate museum of modern art. It was an awesome place and I wish I had more time to spend there. I got to see some awesome pieces, including a few Picasso's. They also have a few different exhibits, which were very interesting. Afterward, we headed over to a restaurant along the Thames for a traditional Sunday roast. The meal was fantastic! A perfect end to a great trip. After that we headed back to the flat to get packed up and relax some more before heading to the train station. We had an 830pm train out and with the time change and a delay on the tracks we ended up getting back into Paris about 1210. Metros stop running at 1230am so we opted to take a cab home.

London was a lot cleaner than Paris. Not as much smoking and the tube was very nice compared to the Paris Metro. Overall, I really enjoyed my time in London. I wish I could have spent more time but I intend to go back soon. It was nice speaking English but it also felt great to return to Paris. Like I have said before, it is funny how this place really feels like home. I look forward to sleeping in my bed and just living here. It's great.

Chanelle is coming to visit me in Paris on Friday and will be here for I think 10 days. I am sure we will manage to have some fun times. All of the French students at NEGOCIA have been insisting I go out with them on Friday, so I think Chanelle and I will do that. A good start to her time in Paris, I am sure!

I am going to have to leave you here as I really am exhausted. I will try to upload some pictures of London soon. I spent 10 hours at school today with a one hour lunch break. One class was 6 hours! I just don't have the strength to mess with pictures tonight.

Next post, I will tell you a little bit more about classes and I still haven't told you the best part about having classes at NEGOCIA!

I hope all is well with everyone.

Posted by harcegnt 22:47 Archived in England Tagged living_abroad Comments (2)

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