Category Archives: Study Abroad

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Accounting Program in Paris, London & Rome – Spencer Andrews

Spencer Andrews, USD accounting major, traveled to Paris, London and Rome to participate in the summer 2016 MACC/ACCT study abroad course on International Accounting Standards and European Accounting Business Environments.  Spencer discusses his international experience and its impact on his life:

“I would like to start by thanking the Ahlers Center for the scholarship I received. Without it, I may not have been able to go on this amazing journey to London, Rome and Paris. This trip was truly one of the best experiences of my entire life. I’m not going to lie, before this trip, I was probably one of the least cultured people I know. For that reason, I was eager to have the opportunity to go on this voyage.

ColoseoThe class leading up to the trip was great. It really prepared me for things that I might see and experience abroad, but there is nothing like learning from experience. As accounting majors, we all knew about the prestigious Big Four, we all had at least some semblance of an idea of how they functioned in the States, and some of us even had jobs with these firms. So, I was very excited to have the opportunity to meet with these firms overseas.

Obviously, there are many similarities to how businesses function in Europe, the UK and the US, but I was fascinated to learn about how the differences in culture are able to affect the operations of a business so dramatically. The speed at which work flows in Europe is substantially slower than the pace in the United States. In France, employees are more likely to constantly question why things are being done. This is not necessarily because the employees feel the work is being done incorrectly, rather the employees want to understand it more thoroughly, as well as think through other possible alternatives and find better solutions. Another issue of doing business in France is the education structure. Depending on what level of degree a person earns, their job will be very specific to that degree. For example, Larry Lemoine, a partner at KPMG in France, described the difficulty of asking his secretary to perform a task for him. All Mr. Lemoine needed to know was how to work the computer in the conference room, but he could not simply just ask her to go set it up for him. Mr. Lemoine came to her asking if she could do him a favor, rather than telling her to do something. In France, the people are very proud of their job positions and can be easily offended if they are asked to do work or tasks that fall outside their job description.

LouvreHaving the ability to experience these cultures firsthand, not only in the business aspect, but also in everyday life, was huge to my growth as a business person and as a member of society. If I am ever fortunate enough to be able to work abroad or do business with a foreign company, this trip really gave me the tools to be successful. Regardless of whether I were to do business in Paris, London, Rome, or elsewhere, I learned some very valuable lessons in doing business outside of my home country. One thing I learned was do not expect other cultures to operate as people in the US do. In order to be successful, one must come in with an open mind and the willingness to adapt. As I mentioned earlier, things tend move more slowly in Europe, so you need to be prepared for that and get things rolling earlier than you might be accustomed to. The biggest thing, though, is to go in prepared. Research whichever culture you are doing business with before you begin business. It is important to understand people’s tendencies and to align yourself accordingly, rather than expecting them to accommodate the American way. Other cultures will greatly appreciate the effort, if they notice that you are trying to adopt some of their work habits.

I can truly say that I had a life changing experience on this trip. The opportunity to visit these beautiful cities, not only to see the sites, but immerse myself in the culture from a business perspective, is something that is very unique about this study abroad program. It is a fantastic experience that may lead to the opportunity to work abroad for a couple of years or the rest of your life. I could not be happier with my experience, and I thank the Ahlers Center again, for helping to make this possible! Merci!”Big Ben

To check out more student experiences, visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

8. La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del Espíritu Santo, Las Ventas

10 Must-Do’s in Madrid

During May and June of 2016, USD afforded students from the MBA and MSGL programs the opportunity to study abroad in Lisboa, Portugal and Madrid, España. Both cities were absolutely breathtaking and are highly recommended destinations. In Madrid, there are 10 Must-Do’s that left a lasting impression on me and will enhance your culture experience:

  1. Watch a soccer (fútbol) game with the locals. Soccer, or fútbol, is like a religion in Europe. If one really wants to get immersed in the culture, find a local pub, and enjoy the festivities. Some of the best soccer in the world is played in Spain, as Spain won the World Cup in 2010, and Real Madrid won the Champions League Championships in 2016. Puerto del sol has great restaurants to enjoy the games!
    2. Plaza de Cibeles
  2. After the match. Spaniards are very passionate people. When something good happens, everybody gets together in the streets and celebrates. If there’s a concert, soccer game, or national holiday, Plaza de Cibeles is a great location where everybody conglomerates to rejoice in the moment. It’s an amazing cultural experience, and the atmosphere cannot be replicated.
  3. Flamenco. The performance originates from Spain. The presentation involves singing, guitar, dance, and more. It is a classy experience, and one really gains an appreciation for the talent, fitness, and rehearsal that these performers undergo in preparing themselves for the performance. A great venue for this is Corral de la Moreria.
    4. Plaza del Callao
  4. Reach out! Had one asked me at the time if I knew anybody in Madrid, I would have said no. However after passing the word along, my friend’s, friend’s, brother, from Zamora was in Madrid at the time. Reach out to your friends, find some local connections, and hang out in a few of the local spots. There are great local spots around Plaza del Callao.
    5. Viejo Madrid
  5. Tapas. Tapas are a wide variety of snacks, or appetizers, of Spanish cuisine. These are edibles that are synonymous with Spanish culture. There is lots of finger food that can be served both hot and cold. A great restaurant for tapas is Viejo Madrid – highly recommended.
    6. La Paella Real
  6. Paella. Paella is a type of food that’s unique to Spain. It’s a rice dish that originates from Valencia. There are many different types of paella which one could have to include vegetarian, seafood, mixed, and more – and goes great with tapas. La Paella Real is a great location with well-recommended Paella should one have a hankering for some good Spanish ham.
    7. Restaurante Alabaster
  7. Iberico Ham. This tapa is so good that it gets its own caption. Cured from the black Iberian pig, found only in Portugal and Spain, it’s the best I’ve ever had. Restaurante Alabaster had the best!
    8. La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del Espíritu Santo, Las Ventas
  8. Bullfighting. This bloodsport is strongly tied to Spanish culture and masculinity…not for the fainthearted. The roots can be traced back to Mesopotamia where bulls were worshipped, and sacrificed, as entailed in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Eventually this killing ritual became sacred.  A venue to view this ritual is La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del Espíritu Santo, or more simply, Las Ventas.9. Hotel Urban Madrid
  9. Rooftop restaurants. These are great locations to come after supper and reflect on the day. It provides one with a great vantage point to take in the beautiful city and digest the cultural experiences with friends. One such rooftop location that’s recommended is Hotel Urban Madrid.10. Jardines del Buen Retiro
  10. Row boats. Though the Spanish are known for being arguably the most influential sailors in the world, Madrid is unfortunately landlocked. However, one is able to enjoy the great outdoors on the water by renting a rowboat at Jadines del Buen Retiro. This is a popular place for the locals to come and enjoy their time off work.
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Business Etiquette in Spain, Portugal, and India

Rajat Raizada made the journey to Lisbon and Madrid this summer, experiencing a contrast of Portuguese and Spanish business etiquette to that of his native country, India. Please enjoy reading his perspectives on European and Indian cultural practices, and how to have cultural-awareness in international business.

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“During my summer abroad trip to Spain and Portugal, I noticed many cultural differences between these countries and India. I made several points about what occurs to me as different in Spain and Portugal from India.

Hierarchy

Indian society is very hierarchically organized which isIMG_20160525_173020 apparent from the way parents raise their kids. The parents are the boss and the kids follow the instructions of the parents. Even in business environment, the companies follow a hierarchical structure. In organizations, hierarchy is the central way of managing. If you work with a software company, even a small one, you’ll find a project manager, who is managing the team leader, who is managing the programmers, even in the smallest projects. And the programmer will need his superior for anything that he does. However, in Europe (Spain and Portugal) most companies give people responsibility, freedom and measure people on their performance within those boundaries.

Openness

In India, people are very open, discussing personal, professional, and all kinds of topics with their friends and colleagues. India is a collectivist society and major focus is given on relationship building. Before conducting any business, two parties generally meet 2-3 times to develop good relations and bondIMG-20160615-WA0015s between them. While in Europe (Spain and Portugal), people are always trying to be very polite and won’t share anything negative or offending (which also makes for a very positive cultural experience). It is sometimes hard to really get the truth or the person’s vision on a subject. From a business perspective, it is valuable to learn about different cultures, as by understanding them, it becomes easier to develop a successful cooperation.

Masculinity

Though India is moving towards gender equality, India is still predominantly a male-dominating society. This is quite evident as most of the important financial decisions are made by the male member in the family. In companies, gender ratio has not yet reached 50:50 and most of the senior positions in the company are taken by males. In Europe (Spain and Portugal), there is no gender bias and men and women work together and share the same goal. Unlike in India, some key positions in Portugal and Spain are held by females in the company.

Greetings

While many Spaniards of the opposite sex will greet each other with a kiss on both cheeks, this is not as common in business relationships unless you know the other party well. While in India, handshake is most prevalent way of greeting in business community (don’t even think of kissing).

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Addressing a person

In Europe (Spain and Portugal), people use first name for addressing a person in the company. In India, though, addressing by first name is catching up but people still prefer to be addressed as Sir or Madam (especially if you are talking to senior).

Punctuality

In Portugal, punctuality is not seen as very important. Interestingly, people from the North are usually more punctual than those from the South. In fact, it is polite to arrive five minutes late. The host usually arrives “on time” but all others are usually late. When you arrive for a meeting, do not be offended if you are kept waiting for up to 20 minutes. This is the usual practice in Portugal. If you are kept waiting more than 30 minutes, then it would be quite normal to express some discontent. While in India, people are generally punctually (not as punctual as Americans) and arriving 5 minutes late in a business meeting is not considered rude.

In Portugal, during my visit to WE DO Technologies, I noticed quite a few differences from the Indian companies. First, the CEO of the company was very approachable to all the employees. Second, all the employees of the company were encouraged to suggest new ideas which can aid in companies growth. Third, the work timings of the company were from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM with weekends off. In India, the company CEO is not easily approachable to all the employees and generally top management makes all key strategic decisions about the company. Other employees just follow their superior’s orders. Also, the work timing in India is very harsh. Generally, 9-10 hours workday is common with Saturday as working day (half day in some companies).

Doing business in Europe – Spain

These are the things which I learned during my trip to Spain in regards to doing business:

Doing business in Spain requires good understanding of their culture and values. Spanish culture has influenced the world greatly in the past. At one time, Spain ruled in South America, the Caribbean and as far east as the Philippines. As a result of this large colonial influence and the growth of Spanish as a second-language, Spanish is regarded as the second most spoken language worldwide. Spain has a relational culture.IMG_20160530_174610

To do business in Spain means one has to build a network of contacts in different sectors of society. To get your client to trust you right from the start, it helps to provide him with references about yourself and your company from important people in Spain. Getting yourself introduced by a trusted relation of your new client is also a very good way to start the initial contact. Relations are built personally, not by telephone or e-mail. Out-of-the-office meetings like lunches or dinners offer the best occasions to get to know each other better. This aspect of doing business of Spain is very similar to that of India.

The Spaniards like to dress well. Formal business suits are worn by men with dark colors in winter and light in summer, and fashionable business dress is worn by women. Spain has a large shoe industry therefore shoes are an important part of their dress. The social status of a person is directly connected to the dress. Young people, however, are nowadays generally free to wear comfortable clothes.

Doing business in Europe – Portugal

Portuguese people are very friendly and social. Generally, it takes 1-2 meetings to build a relationship before starting a business with them. Some of my other key takeaways about doing business in Portugal are mentioned below:IMG-20160615-WA0016

Business dress is usually rather formal. Casual dress is still unusual in Portuguese companies, even in modern or creative industries. In some cases, however, companies allow their staff to dress down on Fridays. However, a standard business suit is still the most common form of dress among businessmen.

Portugal has a slightly higher level of corruption than other western European countries. Corruption is an important political and economic issue and still represents an enduring characteristic of Portuguese business culture. Most cases of bribery and corruption are reported from the public sector. They are related mainly to concessions, unclear approvals of contractors and specific economic lobbying or job offers to friends and family members.

In the Portuguese business environment, it is normal to give a gift to customers and partners. To reject a gift is seen as offensive. Also, as gifts are considered to be a personal gesture, it is not polite to re-distribute a gift to staff.”

To check out more student experiences, please visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

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Around the World in 29.5 Days: My Study Abroad Honeymoon

Newly weds, Thomas Edmunds and Teresa Moore, set out to travel the world, designing their honeymoon around USD’s MSRE intersession program in Hong Kong. Please enjoy reading Thomas’ reflections about their wonderful trip abroad!

“In Jules Verne’s 1873 novel, Around the World in 80 Days, Phineas Fogg and his valet set out from London to circumnavigate the globe in an outlandish 79-day journey, stopping in Egypt, India, Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States. On December 27, 2015, my wife and I set out from San Diego to circumnavigate the globe in 29.5 days, in celebration of our recent wedding. We enjoyed a full lunar cycle of travel, more commonly known as a “honeymoon,” stopping in Rome, Italy, Doha, Qatar, Bali, Indonesia, Singapore, Shanghai, China, and following in Mr. Fogg’s footsteps, Hong Kong.

Victoria PeakThe honeymoon was designed around the University of San Diego’s Master of Science in Real Estate intersession program in Hong Kong. This program was a great opportunity to complete a three credit-hour Capital Markets course while exploring one of Asia’s financial capitals and shipping hubs, as well as the world’s most visited city. Having not studied abroad as an undergrad at the University of Virginia, I jumped at the chance of spending the intersession term abroad in Hong Kong. I’m glad I did because it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

The Capital Markets class was extremely practical and informative. In addition to visiting CBRE’s Hong Kong offices, we had the benefit of listening to lectures from two USD MSRE alumni that work for multinational real estate companies. It was very powerful to hear from two highly successful professionals that attribute much of their success to USD’s MSRE program. The classroom curriculum was enhanced by a city tour, which included a trip to Victoria Peak, a mountain with beautiful city vistas, and a visit to Macau, Asia’s version of Las Vegas.

The Bund

In my opinion, the main purpose of a study abroad program is not academic in nature but rather designed to provide a platform for personal intellectual growth, immersing students in new cultures and allowing them to build unique perspectives that they can bring back to their classmates and careers in the U.S. This study abroad program provided the impetus for my around-the-world honeymoon, which was highlighted by cultural immersion across four continents. My wife and I toured Hindu temples in Bali, visited the Tian Tan (Big) Buddha in Hong Kong, walked the iconic Bund riverfront path in Shanghai, and met Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome! I will be forever grateful to USD and the Ahlers Center for bringing about this outlandish plan to circumvent the globe and for all of the amazing memories that were made along the way.”

To read more student experiences, visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our Ahlers Center website.

Shanghai Skyline

Must-See’s and Must-Do’s in Shanghai

Joseph LaBarbera studied abroad this past intersession in Shanghai, China and provided us with some of the top things one must do while there. Enjoy!

Shanghai is one of the five largest cities in the world. There are so many things to do and places to see, it is quite overwhelming when trying to plan a trip to this multi-cultural metropolis. If you are anything like me, the best way to experience a city and its culture is to visit the local social spots, as well as try the typical food and drink. I wouldn’t want to spend the entire trip only looking at buildings and statues that you could just google an image of. To help you in your quest of finding a localized and beneficial experience in this wonderful city, I have created a list consisting mostly of some of my favorite bars, food spots, and activities. The best aspect about most of the places I have listed below is that you can enjoy them at night after all of the museums and tours have closed, allowing you to maximize your experience in Shanghai by truly embracing the Chinese culture through a local’s eyes.

1. KTV Karaoke
The most fun and entertaining nighttime activity in Shanghai. KTV Karaoke takes place in a spacious, designated area for just you and all your friends to enjoy! The atmosphere and singing create a fun environment and there definitely will be some quality laughs.

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2. Yang’s Dumplings
Yang’s dumplings are the best dumplings in Shanghai, and I’m not just saying that! They are fried in oil, making them extremely juicy! Be careful, they are also very hot and can be a bit messy 😉

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3. The Cool Docks
The docks are in a newer part of town with a good selection of restaurants both on and across the streets from the Shanghai River. They also have beautiful decorations in the winter!

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4. Bar Rouge
Grab a drink and get the best view of the Bund! This rooftop bar provides a great photo opportunity of the lights in the Pu Dong area of town.

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5. Knock Off Market
Just off the Shanghai Science and Technology metro shop, the knock-off market awaits, surrounding the entire station. Prepare to be aggressively approached and solicited to buy items that you most likely wouldn’t find a use for, but are still fun little trinkets anyways!

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6. Jazz Club
The Jazz Club has amazing music and also is a good place to sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice refreshment. The band consists of most of the original members since its opening and plays wonderful classics.

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7. Shanghai Beer Factory
One of the local breweries in Shanghai with refreshing and delicious beer, as well as has décor that is very hip and trendy! It has a convenient location, right by the Olympic stadium, which also is worth taking a peek at!

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8. Sky Bar in the Radisson
My personal favorite bar in Shanghai. The cover band is excellent and they take song requests, which creates a great opportunity to sing and dance along to the music.

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To check out more student experiences, visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

 

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The Pearl of the Orient: A Quick Overview

Clarence Wong studied abroad in Hong Kong for an intersession program that gave him a deeper understanding of the city itself through its differences in housing, public transportation system, and the services sector, in comparison to the United States.

For the first day of MSRE 509 intersession, our group took a city tour of Hong Kong, ending with a visit to ‘The Peak’ at the top of Hong Kong island, which featured a panoramic view of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong skyline is unlike any other skyline I’ve seen; it’s like combining skylines from multiple U.S. cities, such as New York, Chicago, etc., into one tightly packed skyline. This massive skyline comprises of not just commercial high-rise office buildings, but also hotels and many residential towers. According to Cushman & Wakefield, since much of Hong Kong has very hilly terrain that cannot be developed on, Hong Kong has unique geographical constraints and, therefore, limited available land for development, so developers must build upward rather than outward to accommodate the large population. As a result, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. This is quite a contrast to most areas in the U.S., where many people live in larger low-rise homes spread out in the suburbs, rather than live in smaller efficient spaces in high-rise residential towers within the city.

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Hong Kong’s public transportation system is one of the best in the world. As a result, most people in Hong Kong use public transportation rather than drive cars. I’ve never seen so many modes of public transportation before. Options include MTR (mass transit railway), taxi, double-decker bus, mini-bus, cable car, and ferry. The MTR, a type of subway system, is generally the quickest way to get around. One time, a group of us took the MTR to a company visit while another group took a taxi. Due to heavy road traffic, the MTR group arrived at the destination quicker than the taxi group. Another time, one group took the mini-bus while another group took the MTR. This time, the mini-bus group arrived at the destination, Happy Valley racecourse, quicker because the mini-bus had a direct stop to the destination, whereas the MTR group had to walk a few blocks after getting off at the nearest stop. So, it all just depends on the destination and proximity to the nearest MTR stop. In any case, since there are so many different public transportation options available, it is extremely convenient to get around the city. Compared to the U.S., Hong Kong is way ahead in terms of available public transportation. San Francisco, New York, & Washington D.C. are the closest U.S. cities to Hong Kong for also providing good modes of public transportation; however, we are still way behind.

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The Hong Kong International Terminal is a key container port operator in the Port of Hong Kong, one of the busiest ports in the world. The Port of Hong Kong serves the South-East and East Asian regions, and is also a key economic gateway to mainland China. Our tour guide for the city tour explained that Hong Kong used to be a manufacturing powerhouse years ago, but now China has taken over much of the manufacturing. As a result, the Hong Kong government assisted former manufacturing workers to get re-educated to work in service sectors, such as the hospitality industry. I learned from our Cushman & Wakefield visit that approximately 50% of the Hong Kong population is provided government-assisted housing, which seems high, but necessary given the relatively expensive cost of housing in Hong Kong. Furthermore, our tour guide explained that since most of the Hong Kong population is taken care of for jobs and housing, most people are generally content. Compared to the U.S., Hong Kong has less citizens to take care of, but we could learn from Hong Kong in terms of providing more career services and job-related skills training to unemployed and transitioning workers. For government housing assistance, although the U.S. offers Section 8 Housing and other types of subsidies, these services could be improved upon so more U.S. citizens in need of low-income housing could benefit.

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To check out more student experiences, visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

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10 Must-Do’s in Tokyo

Acerney Yu studied abroad in Tokyo, Japan during spring break and gave her knowledgable suggestions on the best places to both visit and see! Enjoy!

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1. Meiji Jingu (Shrine)
Located in Shibuya, Tokyo, Meiji Jingu is the Shindo Shrine, a symbol of the Japanese spirit. The Japanese go to Meiji Jingu in January in order to give a blessing for the following year. If you are lucky, you may see the traditional wedding holding in Meiji Jingu. Surrounded by many trees, Meiji Jingu is a forest in the middle of the busy concrete jungle that is Tokyo. You will be able to enjoy a sense of tranquility and peacefulness in Meiji Jingu.

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2. Tokyo Skytree
Tokyo Skytree is the tallest building in Japan. Just built in 2012, it has become the new symbol of Tokyo. There are 360 degree views of Tokyo from the top of the building, providing great opportunities for pictures both during the daytime  and nighttime.3a3

3. Tsukiji Market and Sushi
Tsukiji Market is a fish market with many sushi restaurants serving really yummy and fresh fish. There is also a fish auction that occurs around 3am most mornings. You definitely must try the sushi and sashimi, as it is some of the best in Tokyo!

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4. Akihabara
Akihabara is famous for its animation-related products and themed restaurants, such as maid-cafés. This sub-culture plays an important role in current Japanese life.

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5. Sensō-ji (Temple)
Sensō-ji is located in Asakusa. It is the oldest temple in Tokyo. The Nakamise-dōri, a street on the walk to the temple, contains many shops that sell traditional Japanese food and souvenirs. The length of the street is approximately 250 meters and contains around 89 shops. Sensō-ji is also famous for Tokyo’s largest and most popular festival, Sanja Matsuri.

 

66. Shibuya
The most famous district in Tokyo. The crossing is one of the busiest in the world. There are many department stores that carry the latest fashionable goods, as well as delicate Japanese products.
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7. Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station is a railway station in the Marunouchi business district of Chiyoda, Tokyo. It is one of the busiest stations in Japan. It serves 14 lines, including several Shinkansen (Japanese high-speed rail lines). Tokyo Station is very beautiful, and there many good restaurants and shops (Ekinaka) in the station.

 

image0158. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the largest parks in Tokyo. It was originally a residence of the Naitō family during the Edo period. There are traditional Japanese tea houses throughout the gardens and the park itself is very famous for its cherry blossoms that bloom in the springtime.

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9. Ichiran Ramen

Ichiran Ramen is a Japanese ramen chain from Fukuoka. What makes Ichiran Ramen so special is that you can customize your own ramen by choosing the flavor strength, richness of the soup, the noodle texture, etc.

 

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10. Kaiseki ryōri
Kaiseki ryōri is the traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. It contains many different dishes which allows you to enjoy several different tastes of Japanese food, all at the same time!

 

To check out more student experiences, visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

Je T’aime Paris: A Localized Experience in the City of Love

Erin Smith enjoyed her first time abroad in a multitude of different countries, however, this article portrays one of her favorite experiences from her program that took place in Paris.

To say that the London, Paris, Rome Program for MACC students was life changing would be an understatement. In the past two weeks, my eyes have been opened to three different cultures and business practices. Never would I have imagined one trip to a foreign country would change my perspective and worldview in such a short period of time. There are so many good things I could say about the program and the cities, but to save you from the pages I could write about my experience, I’ll focus on my experience in Paris.

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Paris captured my heart from the moment I stepped onto the train platform and into the city. Luckily, my friend Henri, who lives in Paris but attends college in the States, happened to be home for the summer and was in the city at the same time as me! Along with my friend Sabrina, we spent the afternoon and night exploring the city, avoiding the main tourist locations you would first expect to visit in Paris. Henri took us to the local spots that only true Parisians would know about. We went to Sacre-Cour, which, yes, is a tourist spot, but rather than just view the Church and leave, we spent a good hour or two hanging out with the locals on the lawn.

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Sabrina, Erin, and Henri on the lawn of the Sacre-Cour and Montmarte

The locals congregate after long days on the lawns of Sacre-Cour and Montmarte to socialize and relax with beautiful views of the city. Hearing about the French locals day-to-day lives was a cultural experience unlike any other. Since this trip was my first time being outside of the States, I never realized that different countries practiced different routines and placed values on different aspects of life. Talking to the locals was very eye-opening for me personally because it taught me there is more to life than work, technology, and money. Life is about the simple pleasures, the little moments that bring a smile to your face. There is so much more out there in the world if you’re open to see it, and those two hours on the lawn of Sacre-Cour gave me valuable life lessons that I will not be able to forget anytime soon.

 

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Foie Gras (Duck liver)

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Escargot

After time well spent in Montmarte, Henri took us to a local café where none of the workers spoke English, so thankfully he was there to translate! We tried typical French dishes, such as Escargot and Foie Gras (duck liver). To be honest, I did not think I was going to try either of them, until I was in the moment. They were actually really tasty! My first day in Paris was one for the books, and I feel so blessed to have seen a local snapshot of life, rather than going to the tourist locations right away. I already felt connected to the city in numerous ways, and it was saddening to have to leave after only 4 days. Paris was truly an enigmatic city and a place where I was able to experience little moments that I will carry within my heart forever.

To check out more student experiences, visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

 

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10 Must-See Attractions in Buenos Aires

MBA Student Xiaoyu (Grace) Pu recently participated in the Buenos Aires study abroad program. She took advantage of every opportunity to explore the city and experience the Argentinean culture, and was kind enough to share her list of the top 10 places to visit while in Buenos Aires:

1- La Recoleta Cemetery 

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La Recoleta Cemetery is a cemetery located in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It contains the graves of very notable people, including Eva Peron (the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952), and a granddaughter of the French conqueror, Napoleon Bonaparte. In 2011, the BBC hailed it as one of the world’s best cemeteries, and in 2013, CNN listed it among the 10 most beautiful cemeteries in the world.

2- La Boca

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La Boca is a wonderfully colorful neighborhood right next to the old port of Buenos Aires. Its multi-colored houses and taverns maintains the community’s tango tradition, football passion, and Italian roots.

3- La Casa Rosada

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La Casa Rosada is the executive mansion and office of the President of Argentina. The characteristic color of the Casa Rosada is baby pink, and is considered one of the most emblematic buildings in Buenos Aires. The building also houses a museum, which contains significant objects relating to former presidents of Argentina. If you have seen Madonna’s movie, “Evita,” you don’t want to miss the La Casa Rosada.

4- Calle Florida 

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Calle Florida (Florida Street) is an elegant shopping street in Downtown Buenos Aires. It is one of the city’s leading tourist attractions. In the evening, the pace is invigorated as street performers flock to the area, including tango singers and dancers, living statues, and comedy acts. Its variety of retail stores, shopping arcades and restaurants is of great interest to foreign tourists and business travelers.

5- Palermo

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Palermo is a vibrant neighborhood located in the northeast of the city. The neighborhood’s walls are covered with paintings. Containing various boutique stores and bars, it is now the hottest place for the young generations to explore.

6- Señor Tango

IMG_1259 This traditional Tango show takes place in the old community, Barracas. The performance utilizes cutting-edge technology, displaying a monumentally entertaining array of light, color and sound. Forty artists and performers will offer you the best of traditional Tango. The central theme of Opera Rock Evita will surely get to your heart.

7- Recoleta

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A classy residential and commercial district complete with French-style buildings and art nouveau constructions, Recoleta is one of the most expensive and elegant neighborhoods of Buenos Aires and amongst the most popular for tourists. Its central square, Plaza Francia, is surrounded by coffee shops, restaurants and other touristic landmarks like the Del Pilar Church, the Palais de Glace and the University of Buenos Aires Law Faculty; alongside the plaza stands the famous Floralis Genérica – an immense steel statue in the shape of a flower, whose petals open and close depending on the time of the day.

8- Don Julio Restaurant

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Don Julio is a very famous restaurant in Palermo. Here, I had the best steak ever in my life. The building’s origin dates back to the 19th century, with the interior walls lined with empty wine bottles, converting the rustic space into a welcoming wine sanctuary. Diners from around the world leave their personal mark signing the labels of the great Argentine wines with handwritten messages. Check out our USD MBA wine bottle!

9- Makena Cantina 

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Makena Cantina is a club that houses a live band. The bar is built on three levels – the ground floor for dancing, the first-floor balcony for relaxing and socializing, and the stage on a mezzanine for anything in between. Sunday night is the regular gig for the band, “Afro Mama Jams.” These guys are a soul/funk/R&B/hip-hop collective, with a core of regulars and many guests musicians. On the whole, they are fantastically talented.

10- Slums

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If you didn’t visit the slums, you couldn’t say you have visited Buenos Aires. After seeing all of the fun places, it is essential to see the depressing side of the city as well. These settlements consist of small houses or shacks made of tin, wood and other scrap material. There’s no sanitation system, though there may be water pipes passing through the settlement. Electric power is sometimes illegally taken directly from the grid, which are perforce accepted by suppliers. Go see the slums, it will make you cherish more what you have.

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