Coming Home

Coming Home

Getting there was a struggle, so if there was one thing I knew, was that I was not taking a train/bus back to the airport. If I had to pay €90 for an uber, I was ready to do that. My flight was at 10:20AM because it was an international flight, I had to be there at least 3 hours prior. I asked my fellow classmates what time they would be heading to the airport to see if we could ride together to lower the costs. Luckily, some other American girls had a 9:20AM flight on Delta, so it worked out perfectly, because we were flying out of the same terminal. We booked a van for 5 of us leaving the hotel at 4:55AM. I stayed at a different hotel than them so I wanted to make sure that I was there at 4:45AM.

My last night I wanted to make the most of my final hours. A group of us went to dinner then to the Eiffel tower. We hung out on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower until the lights turned off at 1:00AM then we had to run to catch the last bus back to the hotel, which was about 45 minutes to an hour away. I got back to my hotel at 2:00AM, and needed to pack. I made that decision to stay up all night because I had a 10 hour flight, and I knew that it would be easier for me to stay up a few more hours than trying to get up at 4:30AM.

At 4:30AM, I made my way to the other hotel, which was a few minute walk away. I got there with luggage with a wheel that was barely hanging on. There was as guy in the lobby that began to talk to me and ask so many questions, and was very creepy. I immediately called my mom, and I couldn’t be like “Hey Mom, there is a creepy guy talking to me” because obviously he would hear me, so I just said “Hello, huh?” She was so confused, then I hung up lol. I texted her that one of the girls were here. We loaded up the van and waited for the other 3 girls. Another one came down, but the last two did not come, they did not call, they did not text. So, we left. A few minutes into the car ride, they start texting and are pissed. Ashli, the girl who booked the taxi, said “I am not your guardian. It’s not my responsibility to make sure you’re awake.” I’m just so glad that I was on time, and made it to the airport. Our taxi got us there in about 25 mins, when the expected arrival would be a little over an hour. As I got out of the taxi, one of my wheel broke completely. Got on the plane, and made my way home. I landed in Seattle, I picked up my bag and had to go through to customs. As I pulled my bag off the conveyer-belt, second wheel gone. Luckily, I got my bag through and was going home so it didn’t matter. After a 3 hour layover, 6 hour flight, I was home.

Transcripts = DENIED

Transcripts = DENIED

Prior to leaving, my Global Exchange advisers recommended to hand carry our transcripts home with us. Our final presentations were on Wednesday, July 10. My flight was 10AM on Thursday, July 11th. There was absolutely no way I was able to physically bring my transcript home because grades were not yet finalized. I was assured that they would be sent over to my home university.

On June 25, ESSCA sent our transcripts over. The following day, I reached out to my Global Exchange coordinator. 3 days later, she said they received it! They were sending to admissions for processing. YAY. However, on August 1st, I receive an email saying that our transcripts were taken to the Admissions and Registrar’s office on July 18th, but because it was an email, they did not accept it. They have requested for the official transcripts be sent via mail. ESSCA is on summer break until the end of August so, we wait.

Fall 2019 starts on August 26th, and I was really hoping to get everything settled before the semester starts because I’ll be graduating soon. Fingers crossed, it’ll all go smooth.

Fortunately, my Global Exchange coordinator is working to get them to campus as soon as possible.

Point A → Point B

Point A → Point B

If you’ve read my previous post, It’s me, actually in Pari, you would have heard about the difficulty I had making my way from Charles de Gaulle airport to Residhome Apparthotel La Defense in Courbevoie. To my surprise, I was not alone. Almost every single one of my classmate got lost, struggled and felt defeated trying to get to the hotel. Only those who took a taxi or an Uber had a smooth ride but they had to pay an arm and a leg.

Prior to my departure, I asked about transportation, but I was assured that would be handled when I arrived. As I was promised, I was given a RATP Navigo card on the first day. I had to write my name and stick on a passport size photo onto the back of the card. We went to the RATP kiosk to load our cards. We would choose all zones (1-5) for 1 week (Monday – Sunday) costing €22,80 or $25.89. We would need to reload our cards each week we were there.

This Navigo card allowed us unlimited rides on the RER, Tramway, Metro, and Bus. Trust me, I got my monies worth. We were constantly swiping that card any chance we could because we were so tired of walking. We literally felt like our legs would fall off. According to my health app on my iPhone we were doing about 16,000-20,000 steps daily.

We learned that the passport size photo on the card was a lot more important than we had thought. I brought one from home with me but some didn’t. So, they needed to find a photo booth that provides that service. We were so busy they didn’t get around to it, and didn’t think much of it. Well, we were sitting on the Metro and a RATP worker comes around checking our cards. One of my classmates were charged €50. On a separate occasion, another classmate was charge €75 for the same thing.

Photo by: Adrien Olichon

In Case of Emergency

In Case of Emergency

Insurance was something I didn’t even think out. But ESSCA required the we had health insurance for the duration of our stay.

Medical Insurance

I went to my medical insurance office to become aware of my benefits, which is little to none when you’re overseas. I purchased the GeoBlue Travel Medical & International Health Insurance. It was the Voyager Choice (Single Trip) Plan for around $60 USD.

Travel Insurance

My Global Exchange coordinator highly recommended getting the International Student Identification Card. This not only serves as an ID but can get you discounts at list of places. It was $20, they mail you a physical card but you have access to a digital version on an app. I also added the basic travel insurance for an additional $5.

Before getting the ISIC card, I booked my flight and added the Deluxe International Trip Protection II from Allianz Global Assistance via Delta. This was around $140 USD.

The Gilman Scholarship provides all their recipients with International SOS.

Luckily, I didn’t have to use any of these, but if I did I would have been well covered.

Young & Hungry

Young & Hungry

We often hear of kids going off to college and eating instant noodles because #brokeCollegeKid. Since I stayed home for college, I didn’t experience that… until now.

My program did not include meals, so all the food costs will come out of my pocket.

People I’ve talked to before coming on the trip told me Paris has some good food. But like where? I don’t know any French food that is amazing. I’ve not been eating good since being here.

First night, we went to Fratellini, I had pasta. Very bland. With so many visits, we are often on the go so many days we pick up a sandwich from the supermarket and call that lunch. I’ve been to a Vietnamese place and Chinese place a few times, pretty good. Aside from my dinner cruise, those places are probably the best meals I’ve had. I’ve had two home cooked meals, burgers and spaghetti. Then, our fridge stopped working, so it’s hard to eat in. I bought a bunch of microwaved dinners, they all suck.

I’ve gone to McDonald’s and Five Guys. But it’s way expensive compared to back home. A McChicken is less than $2, here a plain ‘ole McChicken is almost €4. Honestly, I tried going to McDonalds a few times but every time my card gets declined there as well as everyone I’m with.

My friends & I went to a place called Le Brevant, beautiful place, kinda expensive. BUT THE SERVICE WAS SO TERRIBLE. They literally ignored for an hour when we wanted our check. I shouldn’t say ignore. Sometimes they’ll make eye contact then look away, other times they will acknowledge us say okay then never return. The food was also the worst. People here are so rude. They have a “it’s your problem” type of mentality.

When I get home, I can’t wait to eat some goooood food. Also, to be fair they pastries are delicious. Croissants, macrons, eclairs. YUM

Tonight, I opted for some UberEats, yummy crepes.

UPDATE:

I am home now, but my roommate and I were determined to eat good food. I made good use of Uber Eats. My roommate & I then ate at so many AMAZING restaurants towards the ending of our trip. We ate pasta at Vapiano’s, Burgers from HBK. I’m a picky eater and basically eat like a 5 year old child but I stepped out of my comfort zone. I ate duck breast and foie gras ravioli at Comptoir de la Gastronomie. We enjoyed delicious French onion soup and Veal at Le Suffren.

Bad + Boujee

Bad + Boujee

Taking Luxury Marketing, we’ve been learning about value based pricing, the exclusivity of the products, and the quality of materials and craftsmanship that goes into it.

The more we dig deeper the more I want it, which is a problem for my bank account. So, I’ve been eyeing a YSL wallet for a few months, but I could never justify paying the price for it. While doing research for my class, I learned that luxury brands often use the geographical pricing strategy, making the products cheaper in France than in America due to shipping costs and taxes.

After complicating, I pulled the trigger today. Ahhh, I’m so excited. Now, let’s see if I can control myself and not buy all the things before I leave lol

WORK WORK WORK

WORK WORK WORK

People often forget that I am in France for school, and not just a month-long holiday. With school comes, homework and assignments.

You may be wondering what it’s like studying in a different country, especially one one which over 98% of the students are international exchange students. And even more specifically one that is only just 4 weeks.

As you know, I am taking 2 courses.

International Luxury Brand Marketing

My teacher has set up 5 visits for us:

  • Luxury Quiz (I mentioned in a precious post)
  • Printemps (Department Store)
  • Galeries Lafayette (Millennial Concept Store) + Mystery Shopping (Hermés)
  • Fragonard Perfume Museum + Mystery Shopping (Masion Margiela)
  • Yves Saint Laurent Museum

So far, my team has been working on our Luxury Brand Project for Hermés. We did intense amount of research about the History + Heritage, Brand Identity + DNA, Marketing Mix, SWOT Analysis, etc which lead up to a 10 minute presentation. This was the main project for this class. Other groups has Louis Vuitton, Dior and Christian Louboutin We only have a few classes left and will be doing smaller assignments regarding retail.

This course has been so much fun. It taught us a lot about the luxury industry and how different and unique it is from any other industry. These visits are so awesome because we get to take the classroom outside and see it first hand.

For example, we read about Hermés, it’s values and brand identity, but it wasn’t until I walked into the store and got to see the products first hand and experience customer service was when I really understood what I read.

For our perfume unit, my group was assigned the Replica perfume by Maison Margiela and had to create a new fragrance for millennials, in which we had to include describing the base, middle, and top notes, the 4 P’s, product, price, promotion, and place.

International Business Management

So, this is where it gets weird. We have 2 classes for this topic, with 2 totally different teachers.

The first we are focusing on a start up where we evaluate the target market, the risk, as well as other factors we may need to consider.

My group is working to start a Currency Exchange Machine that will have 4 different currencies. For example, if you arrive at the airport late and the currency exchange counter is closed, you can insert your USD and get Euros. They currently have Multi-Currency ATMs but they require a debit card and doesn’t not allow you to exchange cash for cash. Same goes for when leaving and returning home, you can exchange your unused currency for cash if your home country. We are looking to start this company in Hong Kong and expand to the USA and France.

This week, we had a guest speaker who is a 25-year old French Entrepreneur, who shares with us his story and gave us tips on what it takes to get your start up off the ground. We dove into unicorns, start ups that have made $1B+ and discussed different types of funding and incubators. He, then, took us to visit his office at Le Tremplin, which is an incubator for the sports industry.

For the second, International Business class, we’ve only had twice so far so I’m not exactly sure what we’re focusing on, but I do know that we have 6 page dossier due on July 9th followed by an oral presentation. We aren’t having this class again until July 4th so it’ll be crunch time. My group mates and I decided to research Uber in China and explore why Uber decided to enter the Chinese market, the risks it faced and why it decided to leave.

We will also be visiting the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Again, not too sure what we’ll be learning there but our teacher makes it sound like a big deal, lol.

https://titatakesoff.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/uber-in-china.pptx

So far, the classes have been great. It’s a lot of group work (which I usually hate) but for the most part my teammates have been really good. Always great discussions and I’m learning a lot. We do a lot of activities that makes it fun. I’m not looking forward to the essay but other than that I’ve really been enjoying my courses.

Most Magical Place

Most Magical Place

Hi everyone!

The past week or so has been so crazy for me. Literally go go go non-stop. Not a bad problem to have. But it does make me so exhausted. Wanting to make the most of my time here but still need to remember I need rest as well.

On Sunday, I went with a few friends to Disney Paris, to both the Studio & the Park. It was so much fun. My favorite thing ever was the fireworks. It the most beautiful firework show I’ve ever witnessed.

She Stole My Money

She Stole My Money

A slow start to my Saturday, but I met up with a friend to go on the Seine River Dinner Cruise. The food was delicious, the service was excellent and the view was beautiful.

There was a photographer on the cruise and his colleague came around selling the photos. €20 for the photo, so I purchased one. She gave me the receipt and she charged me €40. I tried getting her attention and she ignored me and walked away. The photographer came by and I mentioned it to him and he said he would get her. The cruise ended and she was no where to be found.

I got back to my hotel and told my friends what happened and they were so sweet. They said “The paper is really glossy and good quality.” “You’re makeup looks bomb in the picture.”

Technical Difficulties

Technical Difficulties

After a long night exploring the city, I decided to stay in on this Saturday to do laundry, possibly get some homework done and start to get ready for dinner this evening.

I go down stairs to the washing area and follow the directions but the machine won’t take my money. Not too long after, one of my classmates come in and we begin to struggle together. He tries everything to mess with the machine. After about 20 mins of us fussing, we hear a coworker around the corner. He goes to ask the worker for help. Turns out we need to put our coins into a change machine to get token and the token is what goes into the machine.

While I wait an hour for my clothes to wash, I figure I’ll start straightening my hair. I plug my hair straightener into my outlet converter and let it heat up. A few minutes go by and I hear a ticking noise and smell something burning. I immediately unplug my hair straightener and noticed I accidentally plugged it into the single voltage slot as opposed to the dual voltage! UGH. So, my hair straightener is down & out for this trip.

Enjoy some pictures from yesterday: