Monday, August 26, 2013

Two Weeks Before Take-off!!!

The IST class had its final meeting yesterday, Sunday, 8/25, to tie up some loose ends before the trip to Germany (woohoo, can't wait!). Inger Maher kicked off the day by laying out the full agenda that we needed to work through:

Logistics – daily schedule, transportation from and to companies, others

Communication – how to reach one another, blogging from the road

Miscellaneous – travel documents, trip calendar, etc., that need to already be updated in drop box

Presentations – assigned Germany-related topics and business briefs from last meeting

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Adam (Pastorius), one of our travel coordinators, walked through the tentative travel schedule. Some gaps still existed since we have yet to receive confirmation from few of the companies we'd like to visit. He reminded everyone to send him the address of all the companies (if it hasn't been done so) that have recently confirmed so he could finalize the best mode of transportation between business meetings. Everyone also provided status on where they were in their communication with the companies that have yet to confirm an appointment with us.

The class then moved on to the next item in the agenda which was the communication plan while we’re in Germany. Some suggestions thrown around were subscribing to an international data plan from their current cellphone provider; use of Viber; use of Go Phones, etc.



Brad (Fong) suggested the use of “Whats App”, an app that allows creation of chat rooms for collaboration meetings and instant messaging. Those who haven't used the app before downloaded it to their smartphones/iPads and tested it. Everyone concurred that the app made sense for our intended purpose. It was free, too, so everyone agreed to use it as an avenue to reach one another in Germany.

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Inger then reminded everyone once again to make sure to scan their passports and upload them to drop box. Franzi also pointed out to bring adapters and converters for any electronic gadgets and appliances that we were bringing with us to Germany, lest they get fried when they get plugged directly to the electrical outlets there! Very good reminder!

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The first leg of the presentations followed soon thereafter. Check out the highlights below:

Nate and Ming presenting on “Doing Business in Germany”:

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Monique presenting on RWE:

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Xuan and Rojmary presenting on “The German Consumer”:

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Before breaking for lunch, the team quickly filled out the class evaluation forms. We couldn’t believe it was the last day. It seemed only days ago when the class first met to plan the trip. Wow, time flies!

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...and some good quality time with one another! We all couldn't help but get really close during all that time together!

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After the yummy lunch and our appetites satisfied, the last leg of presentations of company profiles and business briefs resumed:

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The class wrapped up with a group picture (courtesy of Professor Bhargava’s camera and Indah’s car as a tripod haha!). We made it through the very long, challenging process of planning the trip, team! A big celebration in Germany is in order! :)


"The ordinary method [of education] is to imprint ideas and opinions, in the strict sense of the word, prejudices, on the mind of the child, before it has had any but a very few particular observations. It is thus that he afterwards comes to view the world and gather experience through the medium of those ready-made ideas, rather than to let his ideas be formed for him out of his own experience of life, as they ought to be."

~ German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer

We hope you enjoyed it today, dear readers! Our next story will be coming to you straight from the land of delightful castles, fine beer and fast cars! :)

Take care and may your week start off well! Hugs!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Class Meets To Plan Study Trip (countdown starts now!)

The IST team met again early this morning, 8/11/13, to continue planning the trip to Germany. We leave in 4 weeks!

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We invited a guest speaker, Kay Peters, to tell us more about the culture in Germany which he happily did so! He shared with us acceptable and proper German work etiquettes, directness of Germans (they use "NO" more often than Americans do:D), made some good dining recommendations - like what good food to eat (German sausages for breakfast, yum!), how to tip (5-10% tip is acceptable - this is less than here in the US because in Germany, servers are paid real wages instead of minimum wages), no coffee refills (sorry, coffee drinkers!) and it’s cheaper to get beer than soda (shocker!). He also shared tips on how to save on train passes (like getting the “Happy Weekend Passes” and booking tickets in advance). He also recommended the use of debit cards to go around the cities over credit cards to avoid huge charges. He advised to look for “maestro” sign on your debit cards as they will be accepted everywhere you go.

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Lastly, he shared some beautiful spots in Cologne, Copeland, Rhein and many others that we absolutely MUST visit during our stay in Germany :)

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The extra time we had left was spent getting updates on where everybody was with contacting the companies we’d like to visit in Germany and finalizing some logistics (e.g. the exact number of hotel rooms to book while in each city..etc.). Our calendar is getting full! Some also used the time catching up with one another and arranging how to meet up once we all land in Munich. Wow, this is going to be a great trip!

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Before the class left for the day, we were reminded of priorities to take care of before our next live meeting on 8/25 (give a copy of all travel documents as well as profile bio and pictures to Inger; submit travel insurance; prepare business briefs and assigned company profiles to present in class.. etc).

Until then, dear readers! Have a great week ahead of you!