Collaboration/Networking

Any student at the University of Manchester will agree that the school is incredibly international.  In comparison to OSU, Manchester seems to emphasize group work and collaboration between students not just for presentations, but for essays as well.  In just one of my classes, our group consisted of two British students, two Americans including myself, a French classmate, and two students from Ukraine.  Several of my classes emphasized not just learning how to work in a group, but also learning how to learn from each other.  The typical weekly assignments or quizzes that is often present at OSU, did not seem to have a strong presence.  I believe that this situation is an accurate reflection of the diverse backgrounds that will occur in the workforce, and business students who do not have some sort of international collaboration training are woefully under prepared.

One of the greatest advantages to studying abroad is the opportunity to network with your peers from around the world.  Life long friendships were made and I truly appreciate the opportunity to have been able to study abroad.  For example, I had the privilege of spending Christmas at the home of a friend of mine in Strasbourg, France. Very few people will ever have the chance to not just travel to another country, but form global friendships and experience a different culture not as a simple tourist.

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Continuing Adventures in Ireland

Since my last post about my stay here at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland I have had so many new experiences worth talking about it’s hard to pick just one. In my last post, Irish students had just moved in, school activities were just starting, and classes were getting underway. My courses are not so different from my experience in the states; I have lectures and tutorials (smaller group recitations) each week for classes. The biggest difference is in the actual work for each course. In many of them the workload is focused into a few heavily weighted assignments, which is unlike my experience in the states where I have many more assignments that help alleviate weight on the final. Most of the time the only grade is a final exam (all of which are taken in May) and possibly a smaller assignment in the first term. Students only staying for the fall term have a substitute assignment, usually an essay, due just before term break. I should be starting my essays soon.

Somewhere between my classes I found some time to do some traveling in Ireland and do something special that I don’t think many people get to experience. First off, one of the reasons I chose Ireland to study was because my family is predominantly Irish. I knew my family history back to my maternal great grandmother who was the first to come to the US from Ireland in the early 1900’s. When my grandfather heard where I was going he jumped at the opportunity to visit me on the condition that we try and meet our relatives. We did some research and found his cousin living in the south of Dublin outside of county Cork in a small town called Rosscarbery. She said she would be happy for us to visit and said she would let the family know we were coming. So when my parents and grandparents got to Ireland we traveled south not knowing exactly what to expect when we got there.

Arriving in Rosscarbery we got a picturesque view of the town across the bay. We met my grandfathers cousin and she led us to O’Driscoll’s, a pub my family still owns and runs. There we were greeted with an unexpectedly large number of family members, some of which were meeting each other for the first time as well. One of the first people we met was my grandfather’s 94-year-old step uncle. It was really incredible seeing these two men (pictured below, my grandfather is on the right) meet for the first time and talk like they had been friends for years. I had never seen my grandfather so excited. While there we discussed our family history and when all the heads were put together we were able to fill in the family tree as well as extended it an additional four generations back from my grandfather.

On a cultural note, I said before that we were in O’Driscoll’s, my family’s pub. Today, a pub is synonymous with a rustic bar, but the word is actually short for public house, which is more than a place to get a pint. They were used as community centers for rural towns where people of all ages were welcome. O’Driscoll’s is reminiscent of this original style of pub. We were there on a Saturday and in the evening local families started to wander in. Mothers sat around and chatted, children played games in the corner, and fathers and older sons played darts and rings with surprising talent. I tried my hand at both and found the matches were uneven considering our opponents were the local champs. This was truly a pub in the original sense; it was a social center for the largely rural community. The place felt more like a home then a bar. The community feel reminded me of my own town where families would meet on porches on the weekend to socialize. Being able to go there with my grandfather and experience my own personal history was incredible and be in an original pub was one of the highlights of my trip so far and something I am really grateful to have had the opportunity to do. IMG_4518  IMG_0657_copy (1)

Find a Snickers, Find a friend — Find BinYamin

[This post is written by Javed Cheema]

 

Danny and I went out to get some phone credit in Addis after having had a rather long day with client meetings and some sightseeing. We were requested to also bring back a piece of home if we could find some … Snickers!

It was dark outside and our part of town had been suffering from a constant electric and internet blackout for the last 4 days straight. Thankfully, we were on backup generator power and didn’t have issues inside the hotel. However, outside the hotel it was a little different story. We couldn’t find the revered chocolate bar on our first 2 stops. However, we found something much more important – kindness and generosity! We found BinYamin.

BinYamin was the owner of a small beverage shack, but an owner of a VERY big heart. After pondering for a little while which way to send the lost foreigners in the dark night of a blacked-out Addis, he finally said, “Come with me.” We were taken aback by this and we insisted that this was not that important and he shouldn’t leave his business to help us find a 12-ounce bar. BinYamin didn’t take no for an answer. We followed him for several city blocks during which he made sure that he protected us from the unruly traffic crossings and open holes in the side walk that could have made for a sewage laden mess at a minimum. We had great conversations in his broken English and our very broken Amharic. We tried our best to communicate with each other with words, gestures and facial expressions and shared a few laughs. We felt at home with this unknown person we had just met 20 minutes ago! However, the best was yet to come!

After reaching another small but well stocked shop, we discovered the Snickers bar we wanted, but we also found out that neither Danny nor I had any cash on us!!! We laughed at the silliness of our situation and tried to figure out the most polite way to break the news to our host as well as the shop keeper. Strange things started to happen. First, BinYamin’s determination that we get the bar and second, him emptying his pockets in search of cash – cash for us! However, his pockets came out just as empty as ours. But, this was not to deter a determined Ethiopian bent on kindness. He had been holding 2 phones (the old Nokia types). He put one of the phones on the counter and we finally realized what he was doing – he was putting security down in exchange for the bar and promising the shopkeeper to return with cash!!!

Here we are in Ethiopia and this unknown stranger wants to part with one of his few precious belongings to help some strange foreigners!! Oh, how overwhelmed we were with the feeling!

After some trying, we finally convinced BinYamin that we didn’t really need the bar that bad and he took his phone back. His kindness extended all the way back until he brought us back almost to the footsteps of our hotel, making sure that we got a safe escort back in the still dark night.

Forget the Snickers. We found something much more precious. We found BinYamin . There is hope for a better world because there are people like BinYamin in it!

 

The Never-ending Sausage Fest

Before any of you start to roll your eyes and dismiss this post as another Shai-box…hear me out.

Life as a business woman often means you’re the only girl in the meeting, in the department, or even in the entire organization. Life as an MBA woman (unfortunately) stays consistent with this standard.  I was the only girl on my core team. And now…life as a Gapper…is shaping up to be the same.

Other than the very important diversity and women’s empowerment point, (both are at the very center of who I am), it doesn’t bother me too much to be the lone carrier of the lady flag. My team-bros are super great and see me and treat me like a team mate…a brilliant beautiful crazy intelligent team mate. J

There is another girl on Team Scotts, which is awesome. Not only does it mean there is someone to tell me if there is salad in my teeth, it also means there’s another voice in the discussion. But for social activities and weekends, she often has other plans.

Which means Shai and the fellas. ALL THE TIME!

For example, in London, we met up with the London team. We saw the ladies for about 20 min and then it was a total bro party for the rest of the evening.

boy fest

It can be a little difficult to be the lone lady at karaoke. I kept selecting Pink, Beyonce, and Miley Cyrus and the boys were not fans. I think Chris almost lost it when I selected the second Taylor Swift song…but that is probably justified.

karaoke growl

(FYI, Korean karaoke in france is definitely a good idea.)

This weekend the fellas and I took off on a little adventure to Switzerland. We booked one huge hotel room that was absolutely freaking great.

swiss hotel room

But what do you do when it’s 4 boys and one girl? You set up some rules. Well one rule…the Fart Zone.

Fortunately, we had a great balcony with a view.

balcony view

Then Andy and I decided to take our life into our hands and go Canyoning at the recommendation of Jeff D (who is crazy). Canyoning is like cliff jumping, but in a canyon where there are rocks on every side of you and the water comes straight from snow run off and you could basically die at any moment.

It looks like this…

Canyoning

When the driver picked us up, I was really excited because there were two other girls on the bus. But when we got to the loading zone and farmed out into teams, I ended up on a team with about 10 fraternity bros and Andy.

My main concern here was being the one person on the team squealing or nervous or playing into the ‘girly’ stereotype. Also, it gets a little weird when the guide tells everyone to strip down and then suit up. That meant 10 frat boys in their underroos (hello swim suits anybody?) I stealthily found a curtain to duck behind to wriggle into my wetsuit.

To make matters more gender-awkward, we had to pick up our helmets that had names across the front. And when it came to be my turn, the only helmet options I had were Snookie or Party Boy. Obviously you know what I picked…

waving party boy

Right before we took off to drive up the mountain to our insanity, I asked the guide what’s up with me being the only girl? And he said, “think of it this way, you’ve got about 10 extra brothers looking out for you on the mountain.”

One the one hand…BLERG! I don’t need BROTHERS to look out for me. I’m a strong independent woman that can do it myself.

On the other hand…BLERG! It’s on me that I assumed being the only girl meant an automatic adversarial relationship. I took on the role of “other” long before anyone put me there. And it turns the Bro-skies were totally great. So KAPOW to my own gendered assumptions.

1kapow

If you have a few minutes you want to allocate to me squealing and jumping to my doom, check out this video. http://youtu.be/kI5t6DY97oM

Saturday also happened to be my birthday. And these sweet boys that I’ve spent the last few weeks mothering (they even call me Momma Shai), really knocked it out of the park!

I got to pick the dinner place. THAI! YUMMMY! And then I got to pick the evening activity, which, honestly, all I wanted was a night off to just be alone. The hotel had a really nice bathtub that was calling my birthday name.

But the guys insisted we all go back to the hotel together. Admittedly, I was a little annoyed because bath time did not need to include 4 boys. But when we got into the hotel, the guys had a surprise.

bd1

bd3

Gateau chocolate! My favorite!

These boys!

And then, the boys gave me my birthday wish. They left for their un-supervised night of debauchery and I got this:

spa birthday

Executive Summary:

– Birthdays in Switzerland are awesome

– Being the only girl in a room full of boys struggling to put on wetsuits is awkward

– Just because you’re the only girl in a room full of boys doesn’t mean it will be a bad experience

– We still need more women in business school, in business, and in GAP

The men of Team France know how to do birthdays right (and how to honor the fart zone).

– Shai

Carnival, Rio de Janeiro

As many may know, the celebration of carnival in Brazil is the biggest event of the year. It starts Friday, the week before Lent and goes until the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The majority of people travel all throughout Brazil to their desired location to spend the holiday. For myself, I was extremely fortunate to spend carnival in the best place in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro.

Hard to see but Christ the Redeemer

Hard to see but Christ the Redeemer

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Sugarloaf Mountain

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Due to the traffic of Carnival, our 6 hour trip took more than 12 hours, making our arrival time at 4 AM. Since many of the streets were blocked off due to the festival, our GPS could not find the house we were staying at. Instead, it kept taking us in a small circle around one of the smaller favela. After seeing the panic on my roommates face, I decided that paying a cab driver to direct us to our place of stay would be the best option. Thankfully we did because their was absolutely no way we would have found it on our own.

Besides this first mishap, everything else about the trip was phenomenal! Every morning we had this amazing view of Rio that was almost surreal.

View of RIo

My first monkey/lemur. I don't know which one it was.

My first wild  monkey.

After overlooking this view for a bit every morning we would go straight to the bakery 6 houses down and buy some awesome bread for breakfast. Actually, one thing that Brazil really lacks credit for is how amazing their bread is. From there on, absolutely every moment was an awesome and exciting adventure. The first day we walked for miles around the city getting the chance to see some of the more famous landmarks in Rio de Janerio.

Steps Selarón

Steps Selarón

In front of the Steps Selarón

In front of the Steps Selarón

Everything throughout the city and most of Brazil is extremely vibrate with colors. One thing I have come to love is the Graffiti. It truly is an awesome form of art and if done with permission, it’s encouraged!

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Since I went to Rio with all Brazilians who have been there before, I did not get the “touristy” experience of Carnival I was expecting. The main celebration  takes place in the Sambadrome but it was to expensive for the others to go. However, we did do what over a million others were doing, celebrate in the streets. This to me was still a great time! Everyone dresses in the most outrageous clothing with hundreds of local bands that play the famous Samba music from Rio.

Street Carnival

Street CarnivalIMG_1395 (1280x956)

 

IMG_1085 (1280x956)What I found to be so amazing is how nice and controlled everyone was. Their were times were we walked for literally 25 minutes, shoulder to shoulder, to have enough space to move. For having such enormous crowds I did not see one bad incident the whole trip. Everywhere you turn there is someone something. Fortunately their were many people also selling Brazilian Barbecue which was delicious!  With absolutely no complaints, for three full days this is what during the day carnival consisted of for us.

My roommate Marcelo

My roommate Marcelo

One of the nights we spent at Copacabana beach which was a blast. The streets again were flooded with people and everyone followed a float that had a band playing Samba on top of it. The people on the beach were playing volleyball but only with their feet and head. How they were able to do it, don’t ask. We then slept in one of their friends high-rise that was located right next to the beach. The view was spectacular, overlooking the lit up favela to your far right and  the beach to your left. However finding our way home at 7 in the morning dragged out to be a two hour adventure.

Copacabana beach the morning after

Copacabana beach the morning after. I was very curios if people were sleeping in those tents.

 

Finding our way home. The city was covered in trash the next day following Carnival.

Finding our way home. The city was covered in trash the next day following Carnival.

Like any other normal human being, be the forth day of Carnival our bodies need to recuperate. So instead of joining the party we had a beach day and  went back to Capacabana. The beach was packed with people who indeed did where Brazilian bikinis. This was the first true culture shock I have had this whole time in Brazil. From what I was told, Rio is one of the few beaches that this is a norm and plays a large role in its popularity. Merchants would walk up and down the beach selling awesome beach towels that I found to be great souvenirs for my family.

Following my trip to Rio, I most definitely am going to revisit the city before I leave Brazil. There are so many more adventures, sightings to see, and activities to do that I missed out on.

The great beginning of Brasil!

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From arriving here in Piracicaba , Brasil around three weeks ago, I can easily say traveling abroad is the best decision I have made in my life. The difficulties I have faced are nothing compared to the experiences I have been able to obtain in only the three weeks I have been here. The first few days were a struggle because I came to Brasil with only the memorization of about 5 phrases of Portuguese. At this time there were only 3 roommates in the Rupublica, a fraternity house in the United States, that spoke no English. However it was nothing that Google Translate couldn’t fix. They were still extremely welcoming and took me everywhere they went. This is when I started to become obsessed with the Brazilian culture. Everyone I have met, doesn’t matter from what background, has been extremely nice. They greet everyone personally and care for others more than themselves. From getting a litter of Brahma during dinner to water at the Futbol game, everything is shared among each other. Everyone is happy to live life and that’s what I love about Brasil. I have also been very fortunate with my academic adviser, Dr. Martines, who has already done so much for Kelly and I here at ESALQ.

Kelly and I walking to ESALQ!

We personally meet with all of our Professors before classes started and thank god they are in English! We were even lucky enough to sit in a meeting with the Dean and directors of all the departments here at ESALQ.  It was amazing to see how even such important people at EASLQ communicate in such a personable way. Another amazing part of the Brazilian culture is that they love to have fun. In only three weeks of being here I have been to…

The XV Piracicaba vs. São Paulo futbol gameFutbol Game

The pre-carnival in Piracicaba

Pre-Carnival

3 Brazilian barbecues which are amazing

Brazilian Barbecue

 Rua do Porto which is a huge market district by the  river

Rua do Porto

…shopping at the mall in Piracicaba and a high school get together in Riterao Preto with my roommates. To talk about all of these things would be way to long but trust me they were all phenomenal! For carnival I am lucky enough to go to Rio de Janerio and will have more than enough to talk about when I get back!