This past May, we said goodbye to our families, packed up our bags, and jetted off to Europe. Upon our arrival in Paris, we were anticipating lots of sight seeing and Parisian food. However, we were not just there to explore the city and fill our bellies with amazing chocolate beignets, we also had classes to take!
We started our course load with Paris Rhetoric, a class where we visited the famous monuments of Paris, guided by our Professor Armoogum. Part of his class consisted of exploring the wonderful city of Paris and immersing ourselves in the culture of the City of Light. From Notre Dame to the Paris Opera house, Armoogum guided us, with his unbelievable knowledge of history and seemingly photographic memory. With him as our guide, we were able to learn so much more than any history book could have taught us. As if that wasn’t good enough, he got us into all these places for free!
We then moved on to our international branding-slash-wine tasting class with our favorite professor, Henri. Henri taught us all about how international brands try to portray themselves to their publics. He even took us on a field trip to a French supermarket to do some field research. We had not taken any marketing classes here at ISU, so this was very interesting to us. Aside from the marketing aspect of the class, Henri taught us about the many different French wines and how to conduct a genuine wine tasting. Henri was our favorite professor, because he was truly invested in our learning, even sitting with us during his lunch break to talk about life.
Our other two classes, Intercultural Management and Global Marketing, taught us all about the different cultures across the world and how they do business. In Intercultural Management, we learned Hofstede’s five dimensions for each country we studied, which gave us a better understanding of what the culture was like. (Hofstede’s five dimensions are ways of measuring different personality traits a country’s citizens have overall, such as power distance and uncertainty avoidance). It was very interesting to be able to compare these countries to the U.S, especially because we were living in one of them at the time! We were able to immediately apply what we had learned, and it was neat to see the five dimensions in action. Global Marketing taught us how brands vary their marketing strategy depending on what country they are advertising in. This was also very interesting to us, as we were able to see it first hand everywhere we went in Europe.
One of the best opportunities we had while abroad was to travel to additional countries so easily. We took full advantage of the cheap fares and our long weekends, and travelled to Italy and Spain. There we were also able to apply what we’d learned in class, as well as get in some much needed rest and relaxation. When it was finally time to come home, none of us were ready to leave. Although we missed our family and friends, we had settled into our life in Paris and were finally getting over the culture shock. We miss being abroad, but the memories and what we learned will help us for the rest of our lives!
By Hailey Lanier and Ryan Smart
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PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.