Semester in Nottingham England

I just got back from my semester at the University of Nottingham business school. Overall it was a great place and an amazing school. The city is mostly college students and a lot of places in town to meet people.
The food here is also pretty amazing. Not exactly the fast food you are used to (although kebabs have become a suitable substitute). And the best part, tipping is uncommon and you pretty much don’t do it. Although, food prices here are kind of steep, so it’s like a balance.

Traveling around Europe can be very cheap as long as you know what you are doing several weeks in advance. There are cheap airlines all over Europe, but the train will become your standard mode of transportation. They are cheap, but comfortable. It is somewhat difficult to plan ahead where you want to travel because some of you will not truly get to know each other until you arrive abroad. Even then you will also meet other international students abroad who will want to come with or you will want to go with them.

I took classes for marketing, management, finance, and business operations. basically fin301 mgnt 301 and 401 mkt 301. They do classes a lot differently from the way UofL does. There is no homework or quizzes, they have one exam at the end of the semester that is worth 100% of your grade which is kind of intimidating but you get all of the Christmas break to study.

The drinking age over there is 18 and more sociably acceptable which can really throw you off track of your studying if your not careful. they have bars in the dorms and all over campus where people can buy pints in between classes. They have night clubs open every night of the week for students.

London is about a 2 hour train ride from Nottingham and if you book in advance is really cheap. However, London is very expensive and paying for things like food in central London can cost a lot of money and its better to go outside zone 1 if you can.

Overall it was a great experience and I recommend going to see the country. There is a lot of history and very easy to travel.


Beijing, China

I arrived in Beijing last Friday. I’ve been taking it in a little at a time. It is so big! First impressions:

1. Cafeteria food is really salty and and saucy
2. People smoke inside
3. People act completely differently when they talk with their friends compared to when they talk to shopkeepers. They both put on a mean, aggressive tone when they are negotiating.
4. Electronics are more expensive in China than in the US. Note: If you are going to China, buy all your electronics in the US, especially a translator!
5. Often the sun is so faint because of pollution, but today is different. The sun is shining brightly. Yay sun! I am so thankful!
6. Chinese people drink water hot because they must boil it before drinking. There are many toxins in “raw drinking” water.

I’ve been meeting people as well. I’m really thankful to have some contacts here in Beijing. Chinese people operate on guanxi, meeting and trusting people based on relationships. I’ve been able to meet some people because of contacts I’ve been given at UofL, including Shane and Vivian who were exchange students in the COB last year. They are a lot of fun. Shane helped me get electronics. Vivian helped me get some necessities and took me to the Forbidden City and Tian’an Men Square. I also met Nan who is also very nice. She studied last year at UofL for her Masters and was the language partner of one of my dear friends.

I registered for school and for my dorm yesterday. They barely spoke English. I am fortunate to have the little Chinese I do know that has helped me. It can be confusing. I do not know the classes I will take, but I will have orientation on Friday.

I met some business school students yesterday. They were very nice and encouraged me to get renren (the Chinese facebook). It’s hard to know what I’m doing though on renren because I can barely read. Hopefully they can help me out. Right now I have a random high school on my “information” because I don’t know how to choose a high school outside of China (and it’s mandatory information).

Well, I’m off to a lunch meeting and than hanging out with some friends! Zaijian!

Signing out,

Welcome to Warsaw, Poland!!

I arrived in Warsaw on February 3, 2011. It was cloudy, snowy, windy and -10 degrees Celsius. Despite the horrible weather this time of year, Warsaw is bustling. The Poles here are well adapted to the weather with adorable boots, coats and scarves. As a girl, I definitely noticed the shoes 🙂 Polish girls rock high-heeled boots like its no big deal!! I am so impressed! School at Kozminski has officially begun as of Valentines Day. The classes are excellent for my major. I am able to take any class from electives, to 1st year students courses, all the way to master courses. The European organization is much different than that of U of L. Each grade and major has a structured outline of classes that fit together in this strange puzzle that is really confusing if you are only studying abroad for a semester. The good thing is, once you figure out the schedule and where to locate the courses/syllabi, it is really easy to chose the classes that are best for you. I am taking 10 classes this semester totaling 15 credits at U of L. The classes offered are focused on globalization, international business, management and finance in particular. This ends up being a great complement to the marketing and economics focus U of L offers.

The actual city of Warsaw is really beautiful. I have been learning the history of the city, which makes me appreciate even more just how far Poland as a country has come in the last 20 years (since 1989 when the Berlin Wall officially fell). The Pole’s ability to adapt and move forward is one major advantage of studying here because you get to see first hand the effects of communism vs. capitalism.

There are a ton of things to do in Warsaw. The museums here are so intense. The history from WWII will emotionally drain you, but it is absolutely an integral part of studying here. Also, The Old Town on Novy Swiat (google it or see images below) is amazing. When you see the pictures, make sure you realize that this street has been rebuilt at least twice because of war. The city is incredible considering all the history it carries.

So for fun… haha there are clubs, pubs, bars jazz clubs, karoke and anything else you could be looking for. The clubs are unreal. If you like dancing, you will have a BLAST! Some clubs play house music (which is like mixes of songs, but not top hits) and others play music you will recognize. Either way, the atmosphere is great. Club Capitol, Nine Club, Platinum and Bank club are the ones I am most familiar with. Dress is pretty fancy; so for girls its definitely heels and a nice outfit and for guys usually a button-down shirt.. think 4th street live kind of clothes. There is usually not a cover charge, but if there is, its only like 15 PLN (zloty, their currency for the moment.. eventually it will be the Euro) but its only about $5, so its pretty standard. 🙂

ESN or Erasumus Student Network is the party network. Its free and you are automatically in to most clubs if you say you are with Erasmus. The parties are basically all international students having a good time, drinking or not 🙂

For now, that is all, but as it gets warmer, I will post again!