Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last Two Weeks

Pictures: Last day of classes, bowling, Christmas party, Lights around Dijon

Once returning from our weekend in Lond… wait, Paris, I only had two weeks left in France! Talk about sneaking up on me! Unfortunately, we had a big school week ahead of us since we had four presentations to prepare for our “finals”. I keep forgetting this is called “Education Abroad” and not “Spend Daddy’s Money and Party Abroad”. Now for my finals breakdown: European Business Systems was on Monday and we presented the top three countries we would recommend American pharmaceutical companies for the establishment of an R&D center based on categorizing all EU countries. On Wednesday was European Laws, Institutions, and Policies where we gave a presentation as a lobbying firm fighting for the interests of a European chemical company against new proposed legislation. I was so happy to be finished with these two classes first because they are both taught by this French guy who is an absolute bore. I do give him credit for not teaching us in a biased fashion, however, because throughout the semester most of our assigned cases dealt with the many downfalls of France. On Thursday was our International Marketing presentation where Karen and I proposed to export the European bike-rental systems to American college campuses. Our last presentation was International Money and Finance where Evan and I presented the history, purpose, and organization of the European Investment Bank. Ironically enough, our teacher informed us AFTER our presentation that the EIB does not function the same way an American investment bank does. Poor Evan’s entire part was probably wrong. At least I stuck with the history! Our Finance professor is German and that day he called us “stupid Americans” (I think because we don’t have a central banking system) and he called a Slovenian girl a “commi”! You can’t really DO that! But no one cared because everyone really likes him. He’s way too smart to be teaching beginner finance though. None of us knew what he was talking about all semester. Oh well!

The last thing we had to do for school was to take an online final quiz for Business Ethics. Scotty had moved his flight up to leave on this day so Karen and I volunteered to take it for him. We went to school to take it because the internet there is more reliable. We started Scotty’s quiz first and were going way too slow (1 hour for 50 questions) because the questions made no sense in English and we couldn’t find the answers in the notes! We were saved when our Texan friend came in announcing he had to the super-smart Chinese guy’s answers. However, as soon as this happened, Karen’s plug fell out of the socket and, because of her faulty battery, her computer shut off! We were right in the middle of Scotty’s quiz and hadn’t submitted any answers! In a panic I suggested we go tell the teacher we had computer problems. I believe Karen’s words were, “Kali, what are we going to say?? We were taking SOMEONE ELSE’S quiz and the computer shut off???” HAHA Yea, good point. Luckily, once we logged back in, the quiz resumed and we were able to complete them all. When telling my parents this story later on they made an interesting point: We took someone else’s quiz, worked in a group, and used someone else’s answers all for a business ETHICS quiz. I suppose we may have missed the point.

I know my parents will be asking, “So what did you learn over there?” Where my instinctual response is consistently “nothing”, I can proudly say I know a great deal more about Europe than I ever did. For example, I now know what countries are in the EU, that the Danish “flexicurity” model rocks, that Luxembourg is loaded, that England so wants to be America, that Germany is stubborn but totally awesome, that France sucks at anything to do with politics and labor relations, that Ireland is a recent miracle and is on the LEFT side of England. And that’s just the stuff I learned in class!

The last two weekends consisted of basketball, ice-skating, bowling, shopping, and of course partying. The Irish boys bought a Christmas tree and one afternoon we went over and decorated it while listening to Christmas music. That was a great feeling and reminded me of my mom playing her old records and dancing around with Levi. On Friday the 12th, we had our final party to gather all of our friends together before everyone left. It was Christmas themed and we decided to introduce everyone to the American game of beer pong! The only problem was we couldn’t find ping-pong balls or big enough plastic cups in France (typical). However, it was Karen and I doing the searching and seeing as we are the queens of improvisation, we bought smaller cups and small white Christmas ornaments which worked well after cutting off the tops and taping over the holes. It turned out to be a big hit and all the Europeans were lining up to play. I bought reindeer antlers at the 2 euro store and wore green and red. The party was a blast, especially having all of us together. The only bad part was when leaving I decided to run down the narrow stairs in heels and completely wiped out! I woke up the next morning with bruises on my knee, hip, and elbow. I’m so special!

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