October, 2008

Update from Rotterdam

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Just finished my last lecture at RSM which is nice because it’s probably only midterm week back home.  The classes here are pretty similar to those at Foster, since the lectures and readings are in English it doesn’t feel too different, but other things are.  The school has sponsored two huge parties for the business students where they’ve rented out a club and hired a bunch of DJ’s.  The European students go crazy over the popular DJ’s, they seem to be more popular than actors, sport stars, everybody.  There’s also a bar on the first level of the business school building in case you have a bad exam.  I’d be interested to talk to students from RSM who are on exchange at Foster to see what they thought was really different there compared to back home in Holland.

With classes almost being over I’m going to be doing a lot of traveling starting next week.  I’m leaving for Scotland on the 10th (I’ll have to try the Haggis after reading some of the other blogs) and London, Paris, Dublin, Berlin during the following weeks.  We’re trying to plan a trip to Italy as well, but time is going by pretty fast so I don’t know if we’ll be able to.  Being in Rotterdam is also nice because it’s only about an hour by train to Amsterdam (which is my favorite city I’ve been to so far).  Everyone studying abroad in Europe should visit if they haven’t already.

Between me and the 3 other US students (from Ohio State-they keep making fun of our football team) we are really enjoying Rotterdam and Erasmus Univ.   I feel it’s been a great experience so far, and I’ve made friends with a lot of people from all over the world and if nothing else I’ll have a place to stay in a lot of great cities when I come back!!!

Talk to everyone later!

Microcredit in Madrid

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

blogger3.jpg¡Hola, buenos días! My name is Martha, but here in España I am better known as “Marta” or even “Martita.” I am a junior in the Foster School of Business, focusing on Finance and CISB. I chose International Business because of my passion for traveling and learning about other cultures, and this opportunity with EUSA has been opening so many doors for me to explore career options. This internship introduced me to microcredit, which thus has become my newfound passion in life.

The concept of microcredit (giving small loans for business to those unable to access such credit) began in Bangladesh, but now has been spreading and adapting to countries all around the world. Here in Madrid, I work for a non-profit organization called MITA, which is a center for entrepreneurial development especially for immigrants and women. Spain has a huge population of immigrants, many of which bring diverse ideas and products with business potential. Understandably, it is quite difficult for a low-income immigrant to obtain a €25,000 loan and successfully open a business with limited analysis of the Spanish market, business laws and regulations, and limited experience with creating a business plan. Clients come to MITA for training, advising, and assistance in securing a special low-interest loan from one of several banks in Madrid that offer microcredit services.

Only a handful of dedicated workers make up the organization of MITA, curiously, all women. It is a fun atmosphere to work in, light-hearted and casual. There is always plenty of work to do; this small organization is steady with clients. My colleagues, Leticia and Elena, have each about 10-15 ongoing projects with their entrepreneurs-in-training. Currently, most of my work involves researching and compiling reports about market sectors to help determine if a certain type of business would be viable here in Madrid. I find market studies from internet databases, news articles, magazines, and browse through information in past business plans. Most of the business ideas (more…)

Living in Pamplona

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

blogger.jpgHi, my name is Jon Geyer, and I am a senior in the University of Washington Business School focusing in Marketing and International Business.  I am currently on exchange in Pamplona, Spain.  Yes, it is where they do the running of the bulls.  However, besides this festival the city is fairly small and is dominated by many students in one part of the city and other inhabitants in the old part of the city.  The University resides on one part of the city, the new part, and many students live in the surrounding area.  The Casco Viejo, the old part town has a very typical European look to it and is where the encierro (running of the bulls) occurs.  This part of town has many different small bars and pubs and there is a higher concentration of Basque natives as well.  Instead of tapas, in other parts of Spain, here they serve Pintxos, which are more or less small portions of the local cuisine.  They are typically considered expensive as Pamplona is one of the most expensive cities in Spain.

The city is a very good size but after a while it can feel a bit too small.  The international community of students is very large and very well organized, as far as parties :)   We have special discounts on certain days in bars and discotecas, for example, on Wednesday we have Crazy Wednesday and we get into the best club in the world, Marengo, for free.  The club actually isn’t that great, but its fun because we have a great group of friends.  There are these three Portuguese guys who enjoy to party, and you can count on them always to be at the nearest bar or discoteca.  Ricardo thinks he can dance… but he can’t.  In all seriousness the international community is a lot of fun here.  So despite the fact that there are only 2 of us from UW, I have many friends already.

The University is fairly new (only around 50 years old) but is considered one of the better business schools in Spain.  It is a private university and run by Opus Dei, a very religious sect of the Catholic Church.  This is one thing that I had to get used to.  You cannot wear basketball shorts or any other type of sporting attire.  Flip flops are prohibited and you need a security card to get into every single building on campus.  Once accustomed, it is not a big deal, but a few times I was trying to print stuff and I forgot I was wearing athletic shorts, and I was not let in.

As far as living situation, I am very happy.  I live with three Spaniards, two from Galicia (the northwest part of Spain) and one from Catalonia (near Barcelona).  We eat our meals together, cook together, clean together and have a good time.  I seriously recommend staying with students in Spain because you get a very good mix of learning the language, the slang, the food, and the culture.  Here in Pamplona, (more…)

My First Month at Kobe

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

My name is Satomi Yokota, and I am a senior at the Foster School of Business, majoring in Finance and CISB.  I am currently studying abroad through the exchange program at the Kobe School of Business in Kobe, Japan.Upon arriving to Japan, the university was very welcoming by providing each of us with a mentor who is a graduate student at the business school. My mentor helped me with every detail required for starting my experience in Japan, from registering at the city office to buying a futon and sheets for my new residence.  I would have been completely lost without his help, so I thought that the exchange student mentor program was very helpful and thoughtful for us students who felt uncertain about everything upon arriving.Where I am currently staying at is the international student residence.  We are provided with one room for ourselves, and then the kitchen, shower, and bathrooms are shared within the floor, which are all separated by gender.  Upon arriving, all of the students looked a little worried about the appearance, however as we got used to the place and bought new furniture and bedding, the place is not bad at all, especially for just $60 a month. Also, you get to talk with others in the housing who are all having a similar experience, so it is an encouraging and comforting environment.

Finally the classes. A lot of the subjects offered are similar to the business school requirements that we have at UW, so I felt difficulty choosing classes, especially because I had most of the upper division courses covered. I ended up choosing one class that I could possibly cover for my major, and then (more…)

Hello from Manchester!

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Hello from Manchester! The University of Washington students have been here for about a month, and we thought it was about time to send in a blog update. First off, to introduce ourselves, we are Brianne King, Natalie Lomax, Stephanie Louie, and Thomas Stannard. The four of us are happy to say that we have finally started to get adjusted to the Manchurian lifestyle.

There are about 100 other direct business school exchange students from all around the world that are studying at the University of Manchester, specifically there are around 40 students from other parts of the United States and Canada. While we’ve been here, we have been working closely with The Manchester Business School (MBS) International Society. The MBS International Society has supplied us with great and knowledgeable student mentors who are available for all our questions. In addition, they host many events that allow the international exchange students to mix and mingle- which is a great for helping us to get adjusted and comfortable across the pond.

mbs.JPGSince we’ve been here, we have been proudly promoting the Foster Business School. On Wednesday, October 22, 2008, the four of us represented UW by participating in the International Fair for students who were planning on studying abroad. As we gave out school flyers and displayed our Foster School PowerPoint, we were able to talk to many interested students into considering UW as an option for their future exchange.

That is it for us for now! Thank you for reading up on us as we continue to venture around England!

Be Proud…I Tried Haggis

Monday, October 20th, 2008

I really did! The first night we ate at the Elephant House (the place that JK Rowling wrote all the Harry Potter books) and Stephanie ordered the Haggis. I was like great that’s just going to ruin my meal having it sit there next to me. We all tried the Haggis and I thought it was absolutely horrible. Everyone else thought it had a nice flavor. I ate the bite then threw in some nacho chips in my mouth as fast as possible. For those of you who don’t have the pleasure of knowing what this meal is, it is all the organs of a sheep, including stomach, heart, liver, etc. blended together for one big lump of grey nastiness.

Despite the Haggis Scotland was absolutely amazing. I really enjoyed the trip even though it was far too short. I like Scotland a whole lot better than Ireland which really surprised me! I traveled with the International Society by coach to get to Edinburgh and  it was a five hour ride buuuuH!. That was pretty rush considering my legs barely fit in the seats. We arrived in Edinburgh at 3pm on Saturday and had the day to do whatever we wanted. Helen, Brianne, Stephanie and I headed to Holyrood Palace first. I was so proud of myself because I led the way with a map from our Hostel to the Palace with no troubles at all… and it wasn’t anywhere close. I don’t really understand why all of the sudden I am able to read a map… I am just so clutch!!

castle.jpgHolyrood Palace was my favorite part of the whole trip. This is the equivalent of Buckingham Palace only the place for the Queen in Scotland. It is definitely nothing like Buckingham in looks but it is still beautiful. The palace sits right underneath King Arthurs Seat which is a large hill/mountain. We got the audio tours and I wish I got audio tours for more things in the past because you get so much more appreciation for what you’re looking at when you knooooow what you are looking at. I learned all about Mary Queen of Scots and her very tragic life. The history was fascinating so much that it inspired me to read more about her story later. After going through the inside of the palace we went out to the Abbey. This abbey was ruined by some rebels that hated the Catholics and it was burned down. Only the ruins are left in the yard of the palace. The ruins are very pretty and you can only imagine how massive this abbey must have been. Then we went through the gardens and learned about the Parties the Queen throws once a year. Supposedly no one likes these parties because every time it happens it brings the worst weather of the year! (more…)

Just an Update

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

General Observations of Manchester:
-No one wears flares… its all about the skinny jeans
-Girls Fad: Black Tights not to be confused with Black Leggings
-They have a big problem with littering
-There is always a line of 5-6 people for use of an ATM
-They don’t make travel sized anything
-Not taking the exchange rate into consideration things are generally cheaper for locals
-Chocolate Croissants are amazing
-Generally only boys weight lift… Girls do cardio
-Many think Americans are all very overweight… fat American jokes are very popular
-They are so punctual when it comes to time!
-Yet so disorganized when it comes to everything else!
-The Bus system is so much better than ours
-Curry is the #1 food in the UK because of all the Middle Eastern people here
-Even professors act surprised when I say that ‘no I am not going to go out tonight’
-They like to make fun of Wales and their obsession with sheep
-Boys are into messy hair and faux hawks with v-neck tees
-Cider is way better than beer (in my opinion)
-You don’t see homeless people
-Shops/Restuarants are closed or closed early on Sundays

On Sunday I went to the ManCity vs. Liverpool game and it was pretty fun. I was under the impression that people in the UK were CRAAAZY about football but they definitely were much more tame than American fans. Not may people dressed in the ManCity colors but Harry Potter type scarves are very popular. They are navy and light blue thick striped and very warm…with the ManCity crest on the bottom. Their mascot is named Moochester and Kaite asked what animal it was. They were very confused and we found out that mascots aren’t really animals here they are just ‘mascots.’ Moochester looked like a cross between a cow and and an alien…not so cute.

People sit at the game and only cheer (more…)

Fully Experiencing My Study Abroad

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

natalie.jpgMy name is Natalie Lomax, and I am currently a Junior that is studying abroad at the University of Manchester.  The University of Manchester is located an hour and a half north of London, England by train.  It is the second largest city in the UK although you would be surprised how small it really is.  Lined with matching brick buildings, old architecture and friendly British accents, Manchester gives off a great vibe.  I am studying Finance and Marketing back at UW and Manchester has been a great fit for me  since there are so many electives I can get credit for over here.  The teaching style is different, much more independent and be prepared to do lots of reading, but overall the course load is manageable and leaves a good amount of time to travel.  Every weekend that I am here I am traveling somewhere new.  Since I have been here I have been to Edinburgh, Wales, London, Dublin, Stratford and am leaving for Italy in three days!  Of course the education is important but I feel that I have learned so much more here that goes beyond lectures.  I expanded my knowledge on other cultures and inspired curiosity of more of the world.  I would recommend going abroad with the UW Foster School of Business to anyone…its an amazing experience.