November, 2011

Kulternatten in Copenhagen

Monday, November 28th, 2011

By: Curtis Howell,  Foster Undergraduate

Hello! My name is Curtis Howell, and I am a 4th year Foster student. I am pursuing the Entrepreneurship option and a double degree in Informatics. I participate in several activities on campus including the Lavin Entrepreneurship program, Foster ambassadors, case competitions, Student Technology Fee Committee and Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.

This fall I am studying at Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. The 2011/2012 school year is the first year Foster has an exchange agreement with CBS for undergraduates so I get to be the guinea pig. With more than 17,000 students (including more than 750 exchange students per semester!), it’s pretty impressive that the CBS administration finds a way to squeeze everyone into only four campus buildings. 

Once a year in Copenhagen the city hosts its Kulturnatten or culture night. This event, not widely advertised to tourists, draws a lot of locals out for an October Friday night. A little background information: students typically have week 42, called potato week, off from school. The name originates from back when the children were needed to help harvest the potato crops, so they got the week off from school. Now, most students through high school have the week off, while some college students have exams (I was lucky and got to spend my week writing a 10 page, 48 hour essay exam). Back to Kulternatten. Kulternatten is the Friday before the week 42 break.

On Kulternatten, most of the city’s attractions and government buildings are opened up to anyone who purchases a ~$10 ticket. There are over 500 attractions, so you really have to choose carefully what you want to see. Everything from museums, to parliament, to Tivoli, to the local amusement park is fair game. I decided to spend the night with some of the other recipients of the Scan|Design fellowship, and the Danish program coordinator kindly showed us around.

We started our night off by climbing the steps of the Round Tower. I had been up the Round Tower during my first week as part of the CBS introductory program, but it was interesting to see the city lit up at night, especially with all the people walking around. Then we headed to parliament, but the line was very long so we decided not to wait.

 

 

 

Outside of parliament, there was a competition to see who could stack and climb the greatest number of Coca-Cola crates. Most people only got a handful but this little girl was amazing!

After walking through the courtyard of the Finance Department, we walked by the Department of Defense, where they had an emergency response vehicle and a Danish army tank parked outside. My favorite part of the night was getting to sit inside the tank, although I couldn’t understand the Danish soldier explaining to everyone what it’s like to ride in a tank in Afghanistan. 

We finished the night by visiting City Hall. Near the entrance we saw a celestial clock that was commissioned by a Danish king and has a gear that turns with a frequency of one revolution per several thousand years. Finally, we tried some pancakes from the City Hall cafeteria, which are quite famous in Denmark. They tasted pretty good and were similar to crepes.

Manchester Kaleidoscope

Monday, November 28th, 2011

By: Tiffany Sung, Foster Undergraduate

Hello everyone! My name is Tiffany, and I’m a junior studying abroad in Manchester for a semester. It’s been a bit more than month since I’ve arrived Manchester, and every day has been filled with wonderful surprises and new discoveries. Here are some of the impressions of Manchester I’ve gained from my time abroad so far:

The University

While there isn’t a beautiful campus here like at UW, it’s quite convenient to get around and catch your classes at University of Manchester, since all buildings are mostly located along one busy street called Oxford Road. The courses here require a lot of independent reading, but other than that, they are structured similarly to UW’s classes and are mostly very interesting. The many different clubs the University has also allow us to easily make friends with people outside of the business school. I feel really lucky to have joined the photo society; meeting people who share my hobby while abroad feels great!

The City

Manchester’s weather might be even more unpredictable than Seattle’s, but that should not stop you from exploring the city during your free time. Manchester is filled with beautiful buildings; while strolling down the streets of the city centre, the old English architecture immerses you in a romantic foreign atmosphere that you could rarely experience in the States.

Travelling

Of course, one can never get enough of travelling while studying abroad. So far I’ve been to York and Oxford during the weekends, and the trips were absolutely amazing! Living in Manchester, not only are other cities in England easily accessible by train, but visiting countries in Europe from Manchester can also be quite inexpensive as long as you plan well ahead of time.

 Entertainment

With so many pubs and clubs around the University, students here will always have something to do at night. However, even if you’re not a night person and have trouble keeping your eyes open after midnight (like me…), I realized there are still many things to do during the day, such as visiting one of the many museums in the city, enjoying a show at the Royal Exchange Theatre (with great student discount ticket prices!), or simply staying in and hanging out with friends.

That’s it for now. I’ll share more about travelling after getting back from my trip to Venice, Pisa, and Rome during reading week!

Cheers,

Tiffany

Fostering the International Connection

Monday, November 21st, 2011

By: Sam Bradley-Kelly, Foster Undergraduate

Robert M. Hutchins once said, “A world community can exist only with world communication, which means something more than extensive short-wave facilities scattered about the globe. It means common understanding, a common tradition, common ideas, and common ideals”.  While I am more than halfway done with my study abroad in Cádiz, Spain, I reflect back on the transformation that has happened to me.  As a student apart of the Certificate of International Studies in Business program, through my experiences in the classroom, weekly CISB lectures, and participation in other GBC experiences such as the IKEA Case Competition and Global Business Case Competition, these tools have helped me evolve my appreciation for the global community.  This being my second international study experience (first in Guadalajara, Mexico), I have really taken the opportunity to do things I would never have dreamed of doing.

Prior to my study abroad, I traveled throughout Italy with the seven days I had given myself.  Through good fortune, I met two sisters from Canada in Rome that were more than kind of enough to let me travel with them.  We stopped in Tavernelle for a night which is a beautiful village nested by locally-owned vineyards and full of lively young children and grandparents enjoying a roast BBQ out in the middle of the streets.  Before departing from my fellow Canadians, we dragged our bodies through the streets of Florence as the sun roasted our fragile bodies.  Water and gelato had never sounded so refreshing.

 After saying my farewells, I took a train to Venice for a day.  After putting my bags in a locker and ready to explore this Atlantis-like city, I ran into a person from Monterrey, Mexico also embarking on their own adventure of Venice.  I politely went up to them, asked if they had any specific plans, they said no, and I invited them to be my buddy for the day. We mustered all throughout this unique city checking out churches and museums that did not cost us even a nickel.  The best part, I had the 2×1 opportunity of talking in Spanish with someone from a different country…in Italy!

Fast forwarding to now where I’m studying in Cádiz, Spain, I have really taken the approach of looking at the glass as half full, rather than half empty.  A few months ago, my director posted on the bulletin board that a team from my university needed a goalie.  Luckily, having packed my goalie gloves and having the desire to play a little fútbol, I gave them a ring.  Ever since, I play soccer every week and even had the chance to go over to some of the players houses to play video games and talk about their lives in Spain.

Also, our director was contacted by a professor teaching English at the university wanting to start up an intercambios or exchange where local students take part in activities with students from our program.  Recently, we had a Halloween celebration where we carved pumpkins, dressed up volunteers in wacky costumes, and shared much laughter and joy.

 

Following this, I decided to travel to Madrid by myself, but I had the fantastic opportunity to meet up with a high school friend who is studying there through another study abroad program.  She was so kind enough to point me in the right direction to see famous landmarks such as the Museo del Prado, the Plaza de Toros, the Rastro Market and the Royal Palace of Madrid.  It was also a pleasure to meet new friends with the same intentions to not only learn and understand a new language, but also has the same kind of motivation to immerse yourself to a new culture.

 

The highlight of all my connections would be with one of my past Spanish teachers who had moved back to Granada, Spain.  During one of our program excursions to Granada, I seized the chance to call him up and plan a get-together as many of those in our program had taken a class or two with this teacher.  We shared our stories of Spain and our future plans while we enjoyed mini-sandwiches with french fries (I have to say they were some of the best french fries I have had in a LONG time).  I enjoyed this the most as the idea of meeting up with friends I have known for a long time (even if it’s my teacher) makes me appreciate the little things in life.  I am especially grateful to have seen my teacher as he has been responsible for connecting me to many of the friends within and outside of this program.

In life you might encounter people that are from a different country, speak a different language, experience a different culture, but at the end of the day, you can always become friends.  I see that through  studying abroad you can really globalize your life by meeting those that are strangers around you.  It takes a long time to grow a friendship, but every friend is a door to a new world.  What I take away from this trip is having friends is one thing, but savoring the opportunities presented to spend time with strangers and friends you might not see in a long time, especially in a foreign country, is priceless.

Finding Home Abroad

Monday, November 14th, 2011

By: Nicole Winjum,  Foster Undergraduate

My time in Santiago has been great. I have been meeting people from around the globe, trying new food, seeing new sights, and hearing Spanish 24/7. Though I have never been the type of person to get homesick, I sometimes find myself longing for something a little less exotic and a little more familiar. Santiago really isn’t that different from any major city in the US, but it’s the small differences that really stand out. They have the same kinds of cell phones, but the carriers are different. They have department stores and malls, but most of the stores are different. People chat as they walk down the street, but the language is different. These slight deviations underline that I am in a foreign city far from home, and though I love the newness and the excitement this city brings, there are times when I just want the simplicity and familiarity of the US.

This is when I love that there are American stores here. Don’t get me wrong, I love discovering local stores and restaurants, but to me, being a business student and a fan of capitalism, nothing screams USA (and home) louder than an international corporation. I love that I can walk into a mall here and buy an overpriced vegan conditioner from Lush like I would at Westlake Center in downtown Seattle. I love that I can walk through an Apple store and play with their iPads like I often do at U Village. I love that there is a Ruby Tuesday’s down the street from my house (even though I have never eaten there, here or in the US). But mostly I love that I can walk into a Starbucks here and buy an iced peppermint latte that tastes exactly the same as the latte I would buy on the Ave on my way to class. More than any other American store, Starbucks represents home for me. Probably because I live in Seattle, the birthplace of Starbucks, and because I have been going to Starbucks for as long as I can remember. Even when I was younger we went, though my parents would make me get hot chocolate or decaf coffee. Yes it’s overpriced, even more so here than in the states, but paying $6 for a latte and a reminder that I am not so far removed from home as I sometimes feel, is totally worth it.

First Impressions of Sydney

Monday, November 7th, 2011

By: Sam Freedman, Foster Undergraduate

Let’s see, I’ve been in Australia for about a month and I still haven’t written my first blog post, so this one is going to be very long and comprehensive to make up for how much I’ve been “sluffing” it. I’m going to divide it into sections so I can make sure I get to everything I want to say. Overall, the experience so far has been amazing. I’ve met so many people, seen so many places, and had so many experiences that I wouldn’t have had back at home. That being said, let’s jump into it…

Arrival/Australian Fast Food/The Infamous Backpacker’s Hostel

I arrived in Sydney on July 13th in the midst of the wettest July that Sydney has had in 61 years. It was pouring rain for 2 weeks straight. Looking back, it was a really familiar transition coming from Seattle. My aunt and uncle picked me up from the airport and immediately took me to McDonald’s. It’s amazing how Maccahs (that’s what they call it here) tastes the same no matter where you go. For my first week and a half, I stayed in a hostel called Base Sydney. It wasn’t bad… It had a bar literally attached to the hostel (The Scary Canary) and I got a voucher for a couple free drinks upon check-in. Not a bad first impression. The only kind of bad thing about it was the distance from the university. It was about a 45 minute walk to get to University of Sydney (USyd), but it was nice being so close to downtown. I was only a 15 minute walk from the Central Business District (CBD) and a 30 minute walk from the Opera House. It’s a nice, central location. Another nice hostel that’s closer to USyd is Wake Up Sydney. My friend stayed there and really liked it.

Apartment Hunting


One thing people don’t realize about Sydney is you have to pay for EVERYTHING. Everything is expensive too. This website said Sydney is 68% more expensive Seattle. I guess that’s about right. A cheap meal here will run you $12. The exchange rate isn’t really helpful either. Back to the apartment search, the hostel charged $2 per 15 minutes of internet so I ended up using the free internet at the McDonald’s up the street. Using sweet, sweet Micky D’s as my base, I started my search for housing. I did most of my looking through gumtree.com.au… It’s Australia’s version of craigslist. Looking back, the experience wasn’t that bad, but it was really nerve racking at the time. I was in a foreign country with about 3 friends, a hostel booked for a week, and no place to live. I had to make moves. It took me about 4-5 days to find a good place. Rents in Sydney are expensive. I was looking on the cheap end of the spectrum and I’m still paying $190/week. For some perspective, a single room in university housing will run you about $390/week. I live in a terrace house with 8 people: two Austrian girls, a Spanish girl, a French guy, a Venezuelan girl, a Thai girl, and a French girl. It looks a bit like this. I decided to live around the uni (that’s what they call it here… weird I know) because I didn’t want to have to worry about the commute. The neighborhoods closest to the uni are Darlington, Newtown, Glebe, Chippendale, Camperdown, and Forest Lodge. They’re all pretty unique, but each is safe. The only place I was told to avoid is Redfern. The way one Aussie put it was, “If you live there for 5 months, you’re going to get mugged. Count on it.” Not for me…

The University of Sydney


The uni is pretty spiffy. It’s got all these really old sandstone buildings that are absolutely beautiful. They have a building called the Quadrangle that looks like it’s straight out of Hogwarts. I kid you not. Registration and picking classes was relatively painless. My schedule was generated for me based off the classes I picked, and by the grace of the gods, I only had class on Monday and Tuesday. 5 day weekend every single week. Yeaaaaah buddy. Lectures are pretty similar to Foster. Large lectures once a week with tutorial (quiz section) once a week. They use blackboard too and most of the professors post lecture slides online.

The Sights
Seeing the sights is fun. For me, that was the moment when I said to myself, “Holy s***, I’m in Australia. The Opera House is right in front of me. I am actually 7,700 miles away from home.” The Opera House was cool. The Botanical Gardens are REALLY cool. It’s like the arboretum but with 10x as many birds. It’s good fun. I also went up to the Blue Mountains last weekend. That was pretty impressive too. Lots of tourists, but still very cool. They’re these gigantic sandstone cliffs that overlook a big Eucalyptus forest. I have a couple pictures so I’ll try to figure out how to put those on here.
I’ve checked out a bunch of beaches as well. You can’t be an Australian without going to the beach on a regular basis. 80% of Aussies live within 80 miles of the ocean. I don’t know what sort of drugs the other 20% are on because the beaches are amazing. I’ve checked out Bronte Beach, Coogee Beach, Bondi Beach, and Watson’s Bay so far. Each one is absolutely amazing. Nothing like Washington beaches at all. I’ll try to throw some pictures of those on here too.
All right folks, that’s all I got for now. I’ll try to update this thing fairly regularly, but don’t hold your breath.

Pamplona – Settling In

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

By: Patrick Dion, Foster Undergraduate

Hi, my name is Patrick, and I’m a third year studying at the University of Navarra this fall. So far my experience has been great but getting settled in here Pamplona Spain wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. The most difficult thing I experience when getting here was actually registering and selecting classes. Before leaving I had looked at a course guide that listed all of the classes offered in English. When I got to Pamplona though, that list had changed. The school doesn’t really have an official schedule until two weeks after classes have started. It’s quite frustrating trying to nail down a class list when they are constantly changing times, rooms, and even course that are being offered. Many of the business classes they offer in English are the pre-requisite requirements at Foster so if you are planning on coming here look to see if you have space for electives if you are planning to study in English and have done lower level course work.  Once I had an actual schedule though the life has been great.

Pamplona is a much smaller city that Seattle which suits me well. I can walk outside at any time of the night without fear, and it’s small enough to walk everywhere. It really is true that the Spanish like the night life. Kids and senior citizens can be seen at 1am and “going out” for a night means you didn’t come home before 7 am. I’ve been on a few trips so far to Valencia, San Sebastian.  I also visited a little town called Andosilla where I watched them have their own “Running of the Bulls”, although with cows, since bulls are far more dangerous and harder to keep inside the fences. All were great and the bus rides to get there are very reasonable. Taking a bus really is the best way to travel though Spain if you don’t live in one of the larger cities. They are very cheap and easy to get tickets either in advance or just last minute.