Tag Archives: global mindset

San Diego Must-Do’s

For our international exchange students, visiting researchers, and anyone who is looking to explore San Diego’s main attractions, here is a list of a few things to do in America’s Finest City! For a more comprehensive guide to what San Diego’s neighborhoods have to offer, please see TripHappy’s Where to Stay in San Diego.

  1. The Beaches:

San Diego’s beaches personalize the lifestyle of local residents. If you are looking for a place to relax and watch local surfers catch powerful waves visit Windansea Beach in La Jolla.

Windansea Beach in La Jolla

For a real Southern California (So-Cal) feel, take a walk at Pacific Beach’s boardwalk and watch locals ride their bikes, skateboards, and roller blades right in front of the beach. P.B. (as the locals call it) is also where College students and young adults live the California Dream – the neighborhood offers a variety of night attractions that go beyond the miles of its sandy beach.

Pacific Beach Boardwalk

Nightlife in Pacific Beach

 

2. Fish Tacos

While in San Diego you must try fish tacos – a local favorite! Pretty much every restaurant in San Diego offers fish tacos on their menu. To try local’s favorite fish taco spot head to Oscar’s in North PB (http://oscarsmexicanseafood.com/).

For a taste of the very first restaurant that brought fish tacos from Baja California to this side of the border go to Rubio’s and order their Fish Taco Especial.  Rubio’s opened their first store in 1983. They have now more than 200 restaurants in 5 states and have served over 160,000,000 fish tacos. (http://www.rubios.com/menu/)

Local tip: You can buy fish tacos for $0.99 – $2.00 on ‘Taco Tuesdays”.

 

3. La Jolla

La Jolla is the jewel of America’s finest city (as San Diego is known). It has wonderful beaches, great restaurants and outdoor activities.

La Jolla

You can spend the day snorkeling, swimming and kayaking at La Jolla cove; you can go for a walk at La Jolla Children’s Pool (as the seals beach is officially called) and watch the wild seals play; you can have dinner is beautiful fine dining restaurants that have the most astonishing view of the ocean.

La Jolla Children's Beach

For La Jolla restaurant tips click here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g32578-La_Jolla_San_Diego_California.html

 

4. Old Town San Diego

Located only a few blocks from our University, Old Town San Diego is the birthplace of California, where the first Europeans settled. This historic neighborhood, which includes many historic buildings from the 1800s, is the perfect place to enjoy some Mexican food and explore many Mexican handcraft shops and museums.

Shops in Old Town San Diego

Old Town Fun Facts:

  • San Diego’s first newspaper office is located here
  • Old Town offers an evening ghost tour every night (click here for more info)
  • According to California State Parks, Old Town was the most visited park in California during 2005 & 2006

 

5. Balboa Park and Museums

Balboa Park San Diego

Balboa Park is an urban cultural park that is among the main attractions in San Diego. It has natural vegetation zones, gardens, and walking paths as well as more than 17 museums, several theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo (biggest Zoo in the world).

Must See Gardens:

  • Japanese Friendship Garden – An expression of friendship between San Diego and its sister city Yokohama
  • Botanical Building  – largest wood lath structure in the world when it was built in 1915 and home to 2,100 permanent tropical plant specimens.
  • Desert Garden – 2.5 acres of succulents and drought-resistant plants from around the world

Must See Museums in Balboa Park:

  •  San Diego Natural History Museum
  • Centro Cultural de la Raza – Preserves Mexican, chicano and indigenous art and culture.
  • Museum of Man – Anthropology museum

For more information on Balboa Park museums, gardens, and etc.  click here.

 

6. Gaslamp Quarter

At the heart of downtown San Diego, the historic Gaslamp Quarter combines Victorian charm with urban living to create a lively dining and shopping district. This area that used to be home to San Diego’s “red light” district in the 1800s has been revitalized in recent decades, and is now home to more than 100 restaurants, 40 bars and clubs and over 100 shops.

San Diego Gaslamp Quarter

San Diego’s Gaslamp quarter is the perfect place to visit if you are looking for dining, dancing or simply people watching.

We hope you enjoy your stay in San Diego!

Political and Economic Developments in Europe – Heather Thomas

I am in my first year at the University of San Diego in the Professional MBA program. My undergraduate studies concentrated on cultural anthropology, specifically linguistics. Inspired by the desire to capture dying languages as relics of human expression, I have always been thrilled by the human experience. Taking a plunge into a new field, I see the same themes arise in the inherent social nature of business. The unavoidable road towards a global era is intertwining industries and firms on a level never before seen. Political and social happenings worldwide are changing the world we live in every day with exciting new technologies and a beautiful immersion of cultures. In my quest to discover more about the global changes taking place, and the interconnectivity of it all, I am determined to take my learning experiences abroad as often as possible.

The first, of many more, began in Lisbon and ended in Madrid.

Europe has lived through some incredibly noteworthy changes in recent years. As part of the European Union, in both Portugal and Spain I encountered a significant amount of concern, or at least a prevalent curiosity, about the future of the EU post-Brexit. Will it impact future global trends in trade relations? Will it prompt other European member nations to take action for separation from the union?

The economic union is currently the most robust integration of nations and has succeeded in making Europe a major international power. Lecturers, Francisco Torres and Mario Weitz Schneir, appeared not to fear Brexit and suggest it may be more of a loss for the UK than the remaining nation states. It does, however, bring into question the need to confront the rise of populist movements, a result of economic uncertainty and increasing concerns of globalization.

Another topic of significant impact in the last 10 years is the global financial crisis of 2008. Both Portugal and Spain have not fully recovered and also suffered a severe economic blow during the European debt crisis in 2009. Unemployment rates remain high but are on a steady inline, at just under 19% in Spain and 10% in Portugal compared to 4.3% in the US. The economic systems in both countries are seemingly in repair and investment in technology, education and energy appear promising. With so much transformation, it will be interesting see how things develop.

There are three main things I learned on this program. First, I learned to examine business in a more holistic manner, taking in cultural and historical aspects and exploring their implications. I learned that although Portugal is moving away from tourism as a major industry and into more lucrative sectors, there is no denying the appeal of the city of Lisbon. And finally, for anyone afraid of drinking up an appetite in Spain, you will never be short of Tapas.

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

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

Consulting for Multi-Billion Dollar Companies in Munich – Asad Naqvi

The real value of an MBA along with the enormous multi-disciplinary knowledge that it inculcates, spanning across all critical business functions, is the international experience it can provide to help students develop a global mindset. A global perspective means being open to new ideas, issues and solutions. It will give business leaders an opportunity to explore changing ways of uncovering new business opportunities and evolving to implement leaner business models. It means being culturally sensitive and willing to learn from others. With businesses getting increasingly global and interconnected, an international perspective has become a skill every aspirational business leader must possess.  Working for LEDVANCE in Munich, was a wonderful platform to simulate the experience of working as a consultant for a multibillion dollar organization. It gave us a chance to get a pulse of the working culture in Germany, especially since the organization had booked a conference room for us to work within its premises. The lunch and coffee breaks allowed us to connect with other employees, learning about the business culture in Europe. More importantly, these meetings were pivotal in helping us seek a deeper understanding of the firm’s business and the electrical lighting industry. We leveraged these tidy bits of information to tailor our suggestions to the executives at the company. The experience has certainly equipped me with better decision making tools for European markets, by highlighting the differences and synergies between the business etiquettes and environment in the continent.

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

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

Studying Italian Culture & Economy in Florence – Emmalyn Spruce

Intersession 2017 lasted exactly 35 days. Yet, as I look back on the countless impactful experiences, unique perspectives, and new friends it has provided me, it feels as though it lasted a lifetime. The trip I participated in (USD’s Second Year Experience in Florence, Italy) began in January, but I was able to spend time traveling Europe with my roommates beforehand. We started in Amsterdam and worked our way down to Florence over the course of a week or so, spending a few nights in places such as Zürich, Switzerland and Stuttgart, Germany. Although the experience of traveling abroad without the help of a travel agent or pre-determined schedule organized by an experienced professional was a stressful, exhausting, eye opening and completely rewarding part of my time in Europe, I’ve decided to describe my academic experience abroad as a student of International Business.

My first and favorite meal in Florence

As a participant in the Second Year Experience, students are able to choose from a variety of different courses offered during the three-week long excursion to Florence. Each class is taught by a USD faculty member and students receive USD credit towards their core requirements or major/minor. In addition to attending class every day, we participated in a number of course-related trips, which included visits to local museums and monuments such as Michelangelo’s David and an interactive virtual reality art exhibit featuring the works of Gustav Klimt. We also had the opportunity to meet with the owner of Leonardo’s Leather Shop, a local store we partnered with to collect data for our final projects, which analyzed the statistical trends of the shop’s sales. Our schedule also included a number of free days on which we were permitted to explore Florence on our own or travel to other Italian cities and regions by train.

The Colosseum looks just as incredible no matter how cold it is, but I’ve provided photographic proof that we nearly froze in Rome.

On our second free day in Florence, we set out to walk from our hotel through the narrow, cobblestone streets in search of lunch. We took our usual path along the river towards the city center, but were stopped just before we arrived by a line of police cars blocking the road. Whistles were sounding and chants were being shouted in Italian. The policemen were casually standing around, smoking cigarettes and chatting by the edge of the square, keeping an eye on whatever was happening just around the corner. Upon seeing this we became less nervous about what we might find. I made my way through a thicket of parked bicycles and into the square, where an ocean of light blue and cherry red flags ebbed and flowed. I watched as the people who held them in the air wandered back and forth speaking to one another and trying to keep warm as the protesters funneled into a small side street towards the city center.

It took a moment to find someone in the crowd who spoke our language but, after a few minutes, the purpose of the protest was vaguely described to us in broken and heavily accented English. The middle-aged Italian man said that they were workers for a major textile companies. Their employers had promised them new contracts and when the time came to sign them, the companies backed out. They were advocating for workers rights and specifically for contracts with fairer wages. As we made our way towards our usual lunch spot alongside the protesters, we ran into Mateo, a graduate student whom we’d met at Florence University of the Arts. When I asked him what he knew about the demonstration he explained that employees from different textile and footwear companies across Italy had come together with the help of a number of different Italian labor unions to protest the non-renewal of contracts. He pointed out signs that different sections of the group were holding up, “For example, this group you can see is from Milan, and those over there are from Bologna. They have traveled here to protest together so their numbers are larger.” Upon rifling through some Florentine news sources, I discovered that there were a number of reasons why the protest took place in Florence. The union officials who helped to organize the event intended for the timing (it occurred on the same day as many of the Florence Fashion Week events) to encourage the consideration of the difference between those who are wearing and selling high-end Italian clothing, and those who make it.

We could see the protest continue later that day in Florence, closer to the city center.

Poverty was not something I expected to see very much of when traveling to Europe. I assumed that, because we would be spending our time primarily in tourist-heavy areas, we would not see much exposure to this particular economic issue. This was not the case. Everywhere we went individuals could be seen selling trinkets in the plazas, outside of museums, and next to monuments. Others frequented the same areas and begged for money instead. I noticed that the large majority of these individuals were not native Italians. Many of the people I spoke to were refugees from Senegal, Africa. Some of the people had lived in Italy for many years and selling these knick-knacks and souvenirs had been their only source of income, while others had just recently arrived and could barely speak Italian, much less English.

Based on articles found in domestic sources such as The Local Italy and foreign sources like The Wall Street Journal, Italian politicians are primarily concerned with both the current banking system and immigration. A series of bad loans has plagued Italian banks since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 and they are still working toward recovery. In addition to a financial system that is constantly at risk, Italy has taken in a record number of refugees and asylum seekers over the past few years. According to the UN Refugee Agency, the number of unaccompanied minors fleeing their home countries and seeking asylum in Italy has doubled in the past year alone. Unstable banks, along with the recent influx of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East, has caused major political upheaval in Italy and Italians debate solutions to these issues most frequently. It seems that many of the same economic, political, and humanitarian issues are prominent topics for discussion in both cultures. I was surprised to discover that economic stability and the immigrant crisis are major issues that both Italians and Americans are concerned with. Some of the other aspects of Italian culture, however, were much different from those in the U.S.

One of the most prominent differences in culture that I noticed and felt the need to adjust to was the emphasis on time. I noticed in many instances that, for Italians, time is most definitely not of the essence. I felt as though I was being rude when I asked for the check after a meal in a local restaurant, or decided not to have wine or dessert. In the U.S., we treat time as though it is an invaluable resource that must be utilized to its maximum potential. Every minute of my life is scheduled to a T, and meals in particular seem to be treated as a necessary evil that must happen as quickly as possible so as not to interrupt whatever important work needs to be done. I found that I had great difficulty adjusting to this particular aspect of Italian culture at the beginning of our trip, but by the end I was perfectly happy to spend two hours of my day enjoying a four-course lunch as we looked out across the beautiful Arno River.

We sat here for three and a half hours.

The academic aspect of studying abroad is thoroughly rewarding and I would recommend it specifically to those interested in international interaction. There are a few pieces of advice I would offer someone who is interested in studying abroad. The first is to make sure not to underestimate the importance of balance. Studying abroad isn’t exactly a vacation, but spending enough time on your academics will allow you to have a more educated understanding of your host country and its people. You will appreciate it in the long run. The second is to allow yourself room to deviate from the plan. Lose yourself in a city you don’t know, meet new people, ask for help, trust yourself and let yourself be vulnerable so that your time abroad changes you for the better.

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

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

A Cultural Journey – Jennifer Syed

As an Indian, going back to India through our university for a study abroad session was a very fulfilling and emotional experience. To learn about the contrast of business environments made it fulfilling, whereas noticing the cultural difference between the US and India made it emotional. Our study abroad course, “Innovation in Emerging Markets,” headed by Dr. Rangapriya Narasimhan was the perfect course to understand the business differences and approaches used across the US and India. As our cohort consisted of students from different parts of the world. like Germany, China, Turkey, Spain, United States, and Italy, seeing them adjust to the culture difference showed the major cultural variances between India and the US.

Students enjoying some leisure time after company visit day in the traditional attire of India: “Salvar Kameez” and “Bindi”

Coming to the difference in business environment, India in many business ways runs on “jugaad,” that is where different things are cobbled together to make it work somehow. Whereas in the United States, due to the detailed processes, every business transaction follows a proper and similar structure. In business terms, the presence of institutional voids in India makes it challenging to enter a market and makes it an emerging economy, whereas the structure that follows most of the business practices in the United States makes it more organized with less of risks.

Students enjoying traditional Indian vegetarian food called “thali”

Moving on to the cultural difference between India and the US, without a doubt, India and US are culturally pretty different, in terms of languages, eating habits, clothing, religious beliefs and many more to count on. Seeing the students adapt to the difference in the culture was remarkable, as being an Indian, I can sense it would have been a roller coaster ride for most of them! But coming to the commonalities in the differences, both the countries have amazing people to help you and smile at you and that was what led most of the students to thrive through the cultural differences.

Company visit at the Indian Oil Corporation in rural India, Bhiwandi

India being home has always given me a very patriotic feel to it as the culture and life there symbolizes courage, tolerance, love, family and kindness. The US is becoming a second home to me with the kind of opportunities, growth and motivation it gives out as a country to people from different parts of the world. Having the opportunity to experience both the countries in a business and cultural context has given me a deeper understanding of the intricacies of culture that drives the business in both the countries.

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

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

Real Estate in Shanghai – Patrick Kelley

In the pre-departure meeting my team and I learned our client was Maxview Group – a real estate company/boutique relocation specialist to Fortune 100 companies seeking to settle executives into Shanghai, China. None of us had experience in real estate, or knew yet the exact details of the project we were about to embark on. Further, when we arrived we learned that Maxview was in the midst of a physical renovation of their office, as well as a digital renovation of their product and service offerings. Working with an in-house IT team, Maxview sought to mount several new digital products, and had just signed on to a new project with a large international carmaker. Our presentation focused on introducing them to some of the lean startup techniques that had revolutionized Silicon Valley and that we hoped would help them effectively transition into a leaner digital company from a physical real estate company.

Having just finished first semester classes in strategy and marketing, our team applied some of the most basic building blocks we had learned to Maxview’s situation. Principally, we ended up doing a few examples of potential customer segment profiles we believed they could reach with their new digital products. We also took on a crash course in lean startup methods, and worked to relate them back to basic analysis tools we had learned like SWOT and Porter’s Five Forces to help better understand the differences between the U.S. real estate market and the unique real estate market in Shanghai.

This project was a nice blend of allowing team members to use their strengths where applicable, while challenging all of us to learn new material and make recommendations with this information. One of our members has had experience in digital marketing, which translated well into the customer segment profiles and general solutions we offered. Another has a design background and zeroed in on the idea of offering innovation as a core competency that we had observed in Maxview’s shift towards digital platforms. While we were largely pointing out actions we already saw Maxview taking, we were also able to offer a presentation focused on innovative strategies because of her past experience.

Our principal point of contact was Maxview’s Director of Marketing, and we built a positive dialogue with him on the transition Maxview was making, taking care to be inquisitive with him in particular because he had spearheaded several of the new digital products we worked on suggestions for. Ultimately, the feedback we provided was more generalized than specific, which ended up being a positive choice in light of the fact that we learned about a whole new product in development from the CEO/Founder at our final presentation. Ultimately, we believe Maxview to be an innovative company on the brink of a major transformation of its core business into a radically new field. We hope we provided solid recommendations of lean startup innovation practices for a rapidly shifting company in a rapidly changing market.

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

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

Implementing Marketing Strategies in Munich – Daniel Barry

Working on a project for BMW Motorrad (Motorcycles) during the 2017 International MBA Practicum was an experience I will never forget. Our case focused on marketing challenges directly impacting regional operations for BMW Motorrad in the current year through 2021. My group consisted of an extremely diverse set of MBA students both at USD and the Munich University of Applied Sciences who each had unique inputs on how to approach the project. Our final presentation brought new, compelling recommendations to the Regional Manager and Product Manager that they were eager to implement. We were able to establish a network with these individuals and I have maintained contact with them regarding progress and how we could help back in San Diego. As the target demographic for BMW Motorrad, I found it hard “turn off” the project and could not stop jotting down ideas as they came to me.

When I did break away for some downtime, Munich gave me plenty of sights, sounds and tastes to take full advantage of. I enjoyed a beautiful sunny day in Olympia Park on my way to visit the famous BMW Museum and BMW World. My colleagues and I also enjoyed delicious food and of course, beer, at many of the famous beer halls around the city. A great way to take a rest day is to visit the Deutches Museum that had amazing technical exhibits and industrial inventions through history. At the end of my trip, I was able to break away for a few days to visit Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in Austria for some skiing! The weather was outstanding and the mountaintop views were breathtaking – I recommend this to anyone with the slightest interest because it’s only a few hours from Munich by train. The Practicum in Munich was far beyond the highlight of my (brief) stint as a USD MBA student and I am looking forward to my next one wherever it may be!

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Spotlight – Katrin Kandlbinder

Each year, the Ahlers Center welcomes international short-term scholars and researchers to the University of San Diego campus. Such visitors contribute to the Center’s vision of creating dynamic and globally robust environments in and out of the classroom. These scholars collaborate with USD faculty on various research projects and support the faculty in their academic endeavors.

We are delighted to have visiting researcher Katrin Kandlbinder with us for the current spring 2017 term. Katrin is a doctoral candidate at the International Real Estate Business School of the University of Regensburg in Germany. Working with USD’s Dr. Norm Miller, Katrin is conducting joint research on the United States housing market and how information efficiency affects real estate markets over time. She will be presenting her findings, alongside Dr. Miller, at the upcoming American Real Estate Society conference in April. We had an opportunity to sit down with Katrin to see how she has enjoyed her new home city of San Diego.

What has been your favorite experience in San Diego thus far?

I enjoy the weather, walking along the beach and especially the people. Everyone in San Diego has been so friendly and I have found it really easy to make friends. People are very willing to meet you and take the time to get to know you here. I have been very impressed with how willing people are to help strangers.

What is one thing about San Diego that you found surprising?

I think the public transportation system could be improved. I was surprised, for a city this large, that the public transportation is not more efficient. Everyone here has a car. And a dog! It seems that everyone in San Diego owns at least one dog.

What do you think you will miss most about San Diego when you return to Germany in April?

I will miss the weather, the ocean, and the open mindedness of the people.

Where are you living in San Diego?

I have an apartment in Little Italy which I love. The neighborhood is wonderful with plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and activities right outside my door. I joined a yoga studio close to my apartment and every Saturday I shop at the Little Italy farmers market.

What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy yoga, visiting friends, and swimming. I play the saxophone and I also take voice lessons. So I love music!

What is something that you tried for the first time in your life in San Diego?

Clam chowder. Wow, it’s great!

What is something you have not yet tried in San Diego but hope to do before you leave?

I would love to try to surf. I am waiting for the weather to be a bit warmer and then I plan to try to surf for the first time.

Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina (because I’ll be back soon) – Cat Nilsson

“My trip to Buenos Aires will be difficult to summarize in one blog post, as it was two weeks of exploring, learning, and adapting to a place full of life and fun people. First, I’ll start off by saying that Argentina, or even Latin America, usually isn’t at the top of a traveler’s list, but after experiencing all that the country has to offer, I would have to say: think again. Buenos Aires, Argentina is a bustling metropolis that is made up of a blend of traditions and cultures, namely French and Italian influences. It is known as the “Paris of Latin America”, and for good reason – the architecture is reminiscent of many of the buildings that you would find in Europe and the options are endless for whatever type of food you could want. Argentina has a lot of character, and there are many different places to explore in order to find your niche, whether it be in the trendy Palermo barrio where there are charming cafes, such as Cafe Oui Oui and Artemisia, trendy boutiques and fabulous upscale restaurants, such as Don Julio and Las Cabras, and upbeat nightlife (safe to say that Rosebar was a frequented establishment), to Recoleta, known for its famed Cemetery housing the remains of Eva Perón, a women’s rights and labor activist in the late 1940s to early ’50s, also known as the “spiritual leader” of the country, and contains two of the best Italian restaurants in the city, Cumana (the gnocchi is the most amazing thing ever) and El Cuartito (famous for its ‘fugazetta’ aka cheese and onion pizza), or to La Boca, a neighborhood smack dab in the center of Buenos Aires’ slums, but is the most colorful and inviting area in the city.

As a group of undergraduates, MBA, and MSGL students, we all began our trip by being taken on a city tour just mere hours after stepping off the plane (in order to help us adjust to the time difference) that showed us a lot of the main highlights mentioned previously, besides Palermo. We were able to slightly get our bearings and see what the city has to offer, as well as the places we would want to go back to. Upon the completion of the tour, many of us decided to go out for an early dinner in the neighborhood of our hotel, Retiro, a quiet yet classy area that includes Calle Florida, a street filled with bustling students from the nearby university and many shops and restaurants.

The first few days included our initial class meetings, a tango night, a wine tasting lecture, and sleepless nights (due to countless naps taken throughout the day). I took the Negotiations in a Global Business Environment taught by the relentlessly entertaining couple duo, the Barkae. The course as a whole was excellent and I would highly recommend anyone to take a class or a seminar in how to negotiate, as it is a life skill that is so important, especially for women in our society. Women are at an automatic disadvantage when it comes to negotiating, as we are perceived as being subordinate, docile, and forgiving. My main takeaway from the course was that in order to combat this issue, it is imperative for both men and women to know that this is prevalent and women are just as capable to lead, if not better, as we actively listen, value others opinions, and try to build consensus more often than men. The simulations also were very pertinent to what happens in real life and were vital to the learning process throughout the course of the class. The tango night was probably one of the best nights that was a part of the program set up by USD, as the performances were impeccable and visually amazing. It truly felt like you were a part of the tradition and the emotion emitted from the dancers was undeniable. We also were treated to a wine tasting lecture that was highly enjoyable and we were taught all that we would need to know about how to correctly try wine, as well as were able to taste two white and two red, plus a champagne, that are indigenous to the Latin American region.

After giving a brief overview of what the program & trip entailed, I want to go back to my favorite place in the whole city, Palermo. We decided to go on a graffiti walking tour of the neighborhood, where our tour guide transported us back in time to when Argentina battled into becoming a democracy, which is what “street art” was born out of. The most intricate of all the graffiti, in my opinion, was a mural of Frida Kahlo, painted outside of a club called “Fridha” with an ‘h’. It included real gems as her jewelry and she was depicted as the epitome of a hipster. There was another interesting piece of graffiti that looked completely different at first glance, since it had a lot going on, but actually made up an image of a tiger peering down at you. After going on the tour, my classmates and I had a much greater appreciation for the history of the struggle many of the citizens have had to go through and for the art that they use to demonstrate their passionate feelings.

A few other adventures worth highlighting that my classmates and I embarked on were visiting the San Telmo market, the MALBA (the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires), and El Ateneo Grand Splendid. The San Telmo Market was an eclectic assortment of artisan made goods, paintings, jewelry, leather bags and wallets, soap dispensers, and trinkets galore. The market goes on for miles and miles and is hugely popular to attend on Sundays, attracting an insane amount of tourists. We happened upon a cafe called Coffee Town in the center of the market located inside a converted warehouse that served up a mean cup of coffee and delicious brunch, that I am always craving. Throughout the mess of vendors and visitors, there are street performers either singing or dancing the tango. The MALBA was a modern art museum that showcased Frida Kahlo and Picasso, amongst other famous Latin American artists. Many of the art installations had a deeper meaning (or so we thought they must, since some of them were pretty strange) and it is a must see if you are either an art enthusiast or like to interpret wacky paintings and sculptures. Furthermore, El Ateneo was originally an opera theater transformed into a large bookstore containing Latin American classics and a cafe. The bookstore is beautiful and grandiose. The picture that I am providing really doesn’t do it justice, as it is so much more awe inspiring in person. It was perfect to visit the bookstore as a slight study break, as well as set up shop at a table in the cafe to study, all whilst listening to opera music in the background (which could get loud at times, but we tried to embrace it).


All in all, the trip exceeded all of my expectations in the way that I was able to be surrounded by a vibrant and rich culture with a great group of peers that I am lucky enough to now call friends, as well as could learn more about myself inside and outside of the classroom, through both the negotiations and exploring one of my new favorite cities, Buenos Aires. I hope to return sometime in the future, but for now, I’m grateful for the lasting memories that I have made and will continue to have for a lifetime.”

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

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

Business Environment in Spain, Portugal, and China – Angel Wu

Angel (Shengdi) Wu made the journey to Lisbon and Madrid, experiencing a contrast of Portuguese and Spanish business etiquette to that of her native country, China. Please enjoy reading her perspectives on European and Chinese cultural practices, and how to have cultural-awareness while conducting international business.

Time flies, two weeks’ intersession in Europe passed quickly in the blink of an eye. My overall impression on Europe is complicated. I was completely absorbed in the rich culture, accumulated through the long development of the civilization. We visited art centers, img_0238witnessed the perfectly reserved architectures from the last two centuries, watched various classical concerts such as Flamenco in Spain and Fado in Portugal, and tested various authentic European food and drinks such as Sangria, wines and fresh-made breads with garlic shrimps. However, on the other hand, I was a little disappointed by the current economic statues of the European union countries. Once dominated the sea and colonized many countries around the world to acquire a great deal of fortunes, Spain and Portugal today are no longer prosperous as before and struggling to get out of the economic crisis.

In terms of culture and business differences between China and Europe, the most important element that China and Europe share in common is the long historical development. Both China and Europe entered their respective first golden age at about the same time: 500 BC. However, European culture heritages, including ancient castles and old antiques, are better preserved img_0564than the Chinese counterparts, as both the civil wars and the world wars destroyed lots of historical sites in China. As a result, on the whole, the modern facilities such as elevators in buildings are more spread in China than European countries. A single writing language and a 90% Han-nationality dominated population shaped roughly homogenous cultural traditions in China, while multiple languages and varieties of populations created different culture traditions among European countries. The differences could also be traced to the concept of family. For instance, Chinese view the benefits of the whole family over individuals so that an individual has his duty for the family. Europeans focus more on an individual’s freedoms and rights. Although we could feel the socialism influence in both continents, Europeans enjoy much higher benefits from their governments while Chinese do not.

img_0433When it comes to business, Europeans focus more on the technology and quality, such as some famous luxurious brands – Gucci, Louise Vuitton, BMW cars and so on. Chinese place greater importance on cutting costs, which inevitably harms the quality. However, both Europe and China are complimentary to each other from the market angle. China has huge market potential and production capacities, while Europe has advanced technologies that could be more quickly applied in China. Europe could conquer the Chinese market more quickly by transferring new technologies to China and setting up local production.

 

Another noteworthy fact is that China is thriving thanks to the fall of communism and the rise of img_0327the capitalism. Europe is falling thanks to the rise of socialism and the fall of capitalism with no easy way out. The rigid, inefficient labor market, in most European union countries, has become probably the largest stumbling block to development of the economies within the European Union. For instance, in the United States, a company in decline could lay off its employees according to its needs without any compensation. While in Europe, the rigid labor law made it even unaffordable for a company to fire a permanent employee. In China, employees laid off by a company are compensated to some extent. As a result, in many European countries, a vicious circle happens as permanent workers in a company might look forward to being fired, and thus companies operating in Europe tend to hire more temporary workers instead. The astonishing unemployment rate at as high as 30 percent makes people question whether it is really beneficial for the economic development of a country to join the European Union.

img_9962To do business in Portugal, some business etiquettes should be kept in mind. Don’t ask about a person’s background or age or exaggerate your gestures. As for punctuality, it is common to be late. For instance, arriving 10 minutes late for a meeting is ok. You will need to make a call if you will be late by more than 20 minutes or request to reschedule the meeting after 30 minutes. Portuguese people are very friendly and sincere about what they say. As is the case with China, personal relationships are very important in business, and people prefer to do business with someone they trust. Thus, it is advisable to seek a mutual contact and build up some credibility with Portuguese businessmen before starting to negotiate with them, a practice shared by Spanish businessmen as well.

In Spain, sufficient time should be allowed to get to know your partners well before any negotiation as a sound relationship is an integral part of successful business negotiation. For instance, before the formalities of meeting, you should spend some time discussing some general informal subjects, such as the weather, family or traveling arrangements. It is really important to follow up with the completion of a business deal and reinforce personal relationships. It is acceptable to invite business partners in Spain to some informal social gatherings. In general, Spanish people value their families, personal relationship and cultural traditions. They enjoy leisure activities to the fullest. Business dress code is very important in Spain as Spanish people will perceive one’s appearance as indication of professional achievement and relative social standing. It is advisable to address with elegance, especially for a dinner. Many high-quality restaurants have a formal dress code. Unless you are a tourist over there, you should always avoid shorts or slippers. Lastly, it is worth mentioning that some rules about giving gifts during business meetings. Spanish people don’t usually give gifts to each other, while inexpensive gifts could be allowed at the end of a success negotiation. Corporate gifts or books are welcome gifts. It is important to know that Spanish people are brand and quality conscious, so high quality items are preferred.img_0440

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