Dress to Impress

Dress to Impress

Paris is the city for fashion, especially with Men’s Fashion Week going on while we’re here. Some really dress to impress while some days other go the more casual route.

Despite if you want to show off your new fit or relax a bit, it can be difficult choosing your outfits in Paris. The weather fluctuates so much. When I arrived, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday was pretty hot. Which we heard the previous week was all rain. I has so fortunate to hear that we just missed all that rain. But I may have spoke too soon because it rained Thursday morning as we were heading to our luxury tour. By the afternoon, it was hot again. This morning, freezing cold. Actually all day has been pretty warm, low of 54 and a high of 73. What I am dreading is next week when we have a high of 102. Omg, I don’t know how I’ll survive. The weather is pretty unpredictable so you really need to think about what you hear wisely. A tip I got today, was to wear layers. Like an onion, you can peel the layers of through the day.

Fendi, Gucci, Prada

Fendi, Gucci, Prada

First visit for our International Luxury Brand Marketing class, check. We did a Luxury Quiz, where we had walk both, the new, Avenue de Champs-Elysées and the old near the Place Vendôme square answering questions about the history, products, etc. We walked non-stop for over 3 hours, which may not seem like much but after walking around Paris for the past 3 days, our legs hurt.

Despite the long walks, it was incredible to see all these luxury fashion houses here in France, all while learning the history. When our teacher talks about Coco Chanel living at the Ritz Paris and working right across the street at Chanel Paris Royale, we know exactly where that is and what she’s talking about.

After the the luxury quiz, we make our way to campus and pick up some lunch at a small grocery store. We all can’t speak French. One girl speaks Spanish so she could help decipher what something’s are, but we kind of just grab one and hope for the best. We’re standing in line and one the Spanish-speaking girl pull out her Google Translate app to find out she got a goat sandwich, she immediately ran back and got something else. She was trying to help translate for us but not for herself lol.

Following lunch, we had our lecture and had to create our target luxury shopper. We split up into our region groups, so America for me. Our target consumer’s name is Kat, who is a 19-year old Kylie Jenner wanna-be and USC student who loves driving her Mercedes Benz and wearing her Gucci slides. She also promotes Flat Tummy Tea and get $1M+ per IG post so she is able to purchase all the luxury goods.

Immediately after class, we head to our boat tour. We had an hour long tour and got to see so many beautiful buildings, bridges, and of course the Eiffel Tower.

Spot the Difference

Spot the Difference

Hawai’i is often called the melting pot, because we have such a diverse population. There’s so many cultures on our islands. I like to think that I see snippets of different types of people just by living in Hawaii. But being around 60 international students, it’s fascinating to me how different things are. Just as simple as the vocabulary we use or our accent and the way we pronounce things. College vs. Uni, Vacation vs. Holiday, etc. There are students in my program from Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, Canada, Australia , Scotland, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Mexico, Brazil, Philippines, Israel, and much more that I can’t remember from the top of my head.

We all come from such unique places and are so interesting in learning / hearing about what their home is like.

I know that America is strange, does things weird and doesn’t always make sense. But it’s still shocking to hear. For example, our educational system. In the UK, they have Primary School and then 5 years of High School. After high school, they need to take a 2 years of A-Levels before heading off to university. In Australia, they aren’t allowed to leave the first and 30 minutes of class At UH Hilo, people may come and go as they please.

With international students, most speak at least one other language. I find that so cool, and am kind of jealous because it would be so useful to have the ability to speak another language. While getting a SIM card, the worker didn’t speak English. We all don’t speak French, but the worker did speak Spanish. So, one of my classmates was able to communicate with her in Spanish.

Our program really encourages us to meet new people. A lot of students came in groups from their university. So, our program tries to split them up as much as possible. But they still manage to stick together. For us soloists, we have no choice but to step outside our comfort zone and meet new people. That’s the only what we’ll know anyone. By talking to them, I learned that we shared some of the same struggles come here, getting lost, etc.

I look for to meeting new people and hearing their opinions on topics we may discuss because I’m sure our point of views are all so different.



So bright and early at 9:00AM, we meet to head over to school for the first time. We attended a welcome meeting where they introduce everyone and go over the program and we get a brief tour of the campus. We eat lunch, which was interesting. Not bad, but most of was cold. I noticed that they drink their beverages room temperature. I really like some ice, but that’s just me. After our one hour lunch break, we go to our first class: International Luxury Brand Marketing. The lecturer is so nice, funny and wants us to enjoy our time here. She went over the the course materials. All really exciting and fun stuff. In France, their grading scale is 0-20, you need a 10 to pass. Wow, sound great. 2 absences are automatically equals in failure. Being 5 or more minutes tardy is equivalent to an absence. She continues to explain how we’re graded. You come to class, you get a grade. If you don’t, you don’t get a grade. We have a few case studies, field visits, a presentation and a group project. We were placed into groups of 5-6 for a research project. My group got Hermès. I’m so excited to learn more about it. So classes are typically set in two-3 hour blocks each day. After class at 4PM, we immediately head to our evening activity.

We walk to the Park of Saint Cloud and hang out. We start talking and our program student helpers use WhatsApp to communicate with everyone. But some of us aren’t able to use What’sApp because we can’t receive SMS Text Messages (Green Bubbles for iPhone users) with only WiFi. So, all us no SIM card folks, make a 40 min walk to the SIM card place. We get there and it’s a small machine in a convenience store type shop. The woman there doesn’t speak English. Our student helper talks to her briefly and lets us know that he has to head back to the other group. So, there we are left to get our SIM cards and find our way back in our own. I get my SIM card and used a girls earring to open the SIM card port. Just when I think everything goes smoothly. SIM not supported. It was currently 6:00PM, which means it’s 6:00AM back home. I call my mom for help. I need to get in touch with AT&T to figure out how to unlock my phone. & of course, my mother saves the day and my phone works. She was able to add the AT&T passport to my plan for the next 30 days. So, now I can get What’sApp.

I drop by the grocery store to pick up a case of water. I purchased six- 1 liter bottles of Evian (because it’s the only brand I recognize) for about €3,50. If you see my IG story, you’ll know that one of my classmates paid €9 for a small bottle of water from the vending machine on campus.

Later, in the night, my roommate and I head over to room a few floors up to where some students were making burgers. So delicious. We just left at around 11:30PM. Which is crazy because we all have no sense of time with the sun setting at 9:30PM


It’s me, actually in Pari.

It’s me, actually in Pari.

Bonjour friends!

I apologize for the delay in posting. Let me tell you the jet lag is real. But ya girl made it, alive and well in this beautiful city of Paris. Let me catch you up to speed on the craziness that went on. So, last you heard the Delta flight attendant was in relaxing in the spa. Great news, she showed up (pretty quick too, must I add) the crowd applauded as she made her grand entrance. That was Saturday night. Aside from that small hiccup with the flight attendant it was pretty smooth. I sat next to a nice lady and her daughter, who were so grateful to be sitting next to me, instead of some creepy person. (I felt that same way.)

We landed in Seattle, where I had a 7 and a half layover at would normally be 2:00AM for me. Shoutout to SEA-TAC airport for their curved couches that create the perfect place to sleep, but of course I’m too paranoid. There was too many times where I fought myself to keep my eyes open. I pushed through and we started boarding at 11:50AM for our scheduled departure at 12:46PM. We begin to taxi then the captain comes on, letting us know there is an issue with the thermometer and that needed maintenance. So, we sat on the plane with no movement for the next hour and a half. The 10 1/2 hours flight felt the longest ever. If I learned anything on that flight is that you survived an almost 11 hour flight by getting drunk LOL. Just kidding, but 5 people around me constantly ordered drinks all night.

Arriving at CDG airport at 9:50AM, was when the nerves started to kick in. I need to make my way to my hotel all by myself. So, I go through customs, super easy and painless. Then my luggage came pretty quick. I, then, headed to a single stall restroom to reorganize my bags due to the previous overweight luggage fiasco. While being in there for just a few minutes the janitor started pounding on the door and yelling at me in French. She continues this for at least another 3-4 mins as a finish arranging my belongings which is taking me longer because I feel pressured with her yelling at me.

I need to look for the information desk. I see it through some glass windows and I approach a large door that says “EXIT” in green letters. Naturally, you think green means go. I was mistaken. A woman stopped me and said “no” as she pointed to a sign across the room that says “Sortie” in blue letters. I follow that sign and turns out sortie means exit. I make it to the information desk where I pick up my portable WiFi pack and I ask the guy the easiest way to get to my hotel. He gives me a map, circles the trains I need to take and lets me know that there is a 10 minus walk from the train station and my hotel.

I make my way to the train, a lady sees Im confused and said “for train go straight, go straight and then down” then hands me this paper in French so I don’t understand. She said “donation” and I said “oh, I’m so sorry. I can’t.” She rips the paper out from my hands and continued on.

(( Later I found the front zipper of my backpack open. I can’t remember if I left it open on accident or if she trying to pickpocket me with someone behind me. Luckily all my bags have locks on them. Execpt that front pocket, which I kept empty for that reason. Or again, maybe I’m just paranoid. ))

I finally get down stairs and need to buy my train ticket. I go to the information desk for help. I needed a one way pass to La Defense. She tried to convince me to get a Navigo RAPT month card. I explained to her that I don’t need one. I just want a one way pass. She tells me I need the month pass as it would be more cost effective. I say okay and walk away. I find another information help person and he, too tried to get me to get the month pass but he finally explained to me how to get a one way ticket. I purchase my ticket and I’m off.

I get on the train. I just want to say and huge thank you to Dr. Kim and Dr. Luke for teaching my how to use the trains in Japan. Because if not, I’d still be at the train station trying to figure it out. I make it to my last stop and I’m in a food court mall, and don’t know how to get out. And again, my favorite thing, I go to the information desk. The lady tells me it would be easier and faster to take bus. 5 min bus ride, 3 min walk as opposed to 15 min walk. (The last guy told me 10 min walk, but okay) I purchase my €1,90 bus ticket and wait and the bus station. I get on the bus and it looks like I’m only 3 stops away. After the first two stops, I suddenly realized we’re going in the opposite direction. We go to all the stops and the driver announces this is the last stop, your ticket expires here. I ask him about Léonard Di Vinci stop, that’s where I need to go. He tells me that we are on the other direction, but he tells me I can stay and he will continue around in 7 minutes. My 5 minute bus ride turned into a 2 hour bus ride, but I made it. On a positive note. I got my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower while on the bus (as you see pictured) I arrived to my hotel and went to the front desk. I let her know what program I am from and tell her I will be staying here but I need directions to a neighboring hotel to meet my program leaders. She said “no, keep going” So I continued to walk and I found the other hotel. Met with my program leaders, was provided with that Navigo RATP month train pass everyone was trying to convince me to buy, and we go to check into my hotel. The guest service agent sees me with the program coordinator and apologizes for turning me away as I was correct. As I head up to my room, my program leader says we will be meeting at the other hotel at 4:15PM to go on a tour. That gave me 10 mins to get to my room and change.

I met with my roommate, she seems really nice and we both headed to the tour. We were shown where the trains were, grocery stores, shopping mall, etc. We ate dinner, grabbed a few things and called it a night.

Probably the most stressful day of my life. It doesn’t help that I don’t know a single French word. But my hopes are still high, and I hope to really enjoy this crazy ride.

Got Money?

Got Money?

When you think study abroad, you often think there’s no way I can afford that. But anything is possible. Fortunately, for this program, ESSCA: School of Management’s Angers Program, they partnered with UH Hilo, and had a grant for students who studied there. When getting accepted into UH Hilo’s Transatlantic Mobility France Program, I was awarded $2,000.

However, as I browsed ESSCA’s website I saw they offered other programs, and offered different classes. (Read more about that here) I made the decision to participate in the Paris Program, instead of the Angers Program that my classmates are attending. Because of this I had to defer the $2,000 scholarship.

The costs that I am responsible for include:

So, how do I pay for this? Well, for me, everything kind of just fell into place, and I am so beyond grateful for how things came together. Before I even knew I was accepted into this program, I was called in for an interview for a student assistant position through my university. I used a brand new checking account for my second job, and every cent I’ve ever made at that job for the last 6 months was saved for this trip. Having a separate checking account for it really helped reduce the urge to spend that money.

But I didn’t stop there. My biggest tip is to APPLY for SCHOLARSHIPS. There are thousands of scholarships out there. Yes, the application processes can be tedious but it all will be worth it in the end. Check out some of these study abroad scholarships:

I have been blessed with being a recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Which is the reason for this blog. As a Gilman Scholar, we are responsible for a service project to share our study abroad experience and in hopes to encourage other students to study abroad too.

Also, always check to see if your school has their own scholarships, and always apply for financial aid. I never thought I’d actually be able to pull this all together. It took a lot of work, but it is totally worth it.

Photo by: rawpixel.com

Taking Off

Taking Off

Today’s the day for departure. Packing my suitcase and carry on to the gills because of the uncertainty of what I’ll need my month away.

I purchased a luggage scale and weighed my luggage’s periodically and it was less than 50 pounds. This morning, I continued to add some last minutes things and didn’t weigh it again.

I arrived to the airport, checking in and the lady tells me “81 pounds.” I’m not willing to leave anything behind so I ask “how much for the overweight fee?” She says she needs to call her supervisor.

The supervisor comes and was very nice but says 70lbs is the maximum weight for overweight bags with $100 fee. I needed to reduce 11 pounds. How in the world? On the ground at the ticket counter, I unloaded numerous pairs of pants, shoes and snacks. 70 pounds on the dot. So, I checked my luggage through and carried my clothes to the curb, where I gave ONE pair of pants to my mom. Then stuffed my 2 carry-ons with my clothes and took a reusable bag and put my snacks in it.

So, there I went with 3 carry-on through security. Got to the other side successfully. My plane is full so they offer to gate check as many carry-ons as possible. So, luckily I got to check in one of my three carry-ons. Boarding is at 7:33PM, I’m ready to go. At approximately 7:30PM, I hear an announcement, that one crew member is not present and will not be boarding until that crew member arrives. This lady was at the spa, like are you kidding? LOL. It is current 7:59PM, my flight should be taking off at 8:13PM, but doesn’t look like we’re boarding for another 30+ mins.

…and the adventure begins.

Choosing Classes

Choosing Classes

UH Hilo partnered with ESSCA: School of Management for the Angers Summer Program. This 4-week program begins with three weeks in the beautiful Loire valley city of Angers, then moves to Brussels for several days, with the final week in Paris. It is a perfect opportunity to be part of a multi-cultural student group, learn about Europe and gain credits. The courses for this program is set, and includes 5 courses: European Politics, European Economics, Brussels Field Seminar, Intercultural Communication, and French Culture, which in total is equivalent to 6 US credits.

As I browsed ESSCA’s website I saw that they offer other summer programs with different class offerings, in places like Shanghai, Budapest, Paris, and Angers/Bordeaux. I looked into and found interest in the Paris program. The Paris program had 3 course pairing to choose from:

  • PAIRING 1 : International Luxury Brand Marketing & International Business Management
  • PAIRING 2 : Business Intelligence and Strategy & Digital Culture, Innovation and New Market,
  • PAIRING 3 : French Language & French Culture and Civilization

I chose Pairing 1 because I felt that this would be perfect for me as my concentrations are in Management and Marketing. I feel like it would be really awesome to learn this in Paris. I was able to talk with my Global Exchange adviser as well as the Department Chair for the College of Business & Economics. The department chair agreed that the courses I chose would fit well into my graduation plan and it was transfer back to UH Hilo as 6 Upper Division Management electives.

IS 393 Orientation

IS 393 Orientation

IS 393: Pre-Departure Orientation was so beneficial. We had our Global Education Adviser as well as a number of Student Assistant Advisers to help walk us through the process and help prepare us.


We learned that culturally its a huge adjustment to go to another country. It will take some time to understand and to become comfortable with their new environment. Different isn’t always bad. It’s an opportunity for growth and expanding your mind.

The Classic 5 Stage U-Curve Model
  • Cultural Diversity: The existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society.
  • Culture Shock U-Curve: generally moves through four different phases: honeymoon, frustration, adjustment and acceptance.
  • Adaptation: the process and time it takes a person to integrate into a new culture and feel comfortable within it.

On the first day of class, we played a game. We couldn’t speak or make gestures. We had 4 groups of 4. We each read the instructions and played the card game. At the end of the game, the winner moved to the next table clockwise and the loser moved to the next table counter clockwise. We played another round of the game with 2 new members. Still not speaking, it was clear, we all were confused and didn’t have the same understanding of the rules of the game. We continued this two more times. Some students would just follow along adapted to the rules of that table, but others tried to make their table play by their original set of rules. After 4 rounds of this, we learned that each group had a different set on instructions. This was to teach us that at home, we have cultural norms and a way of doing things. When we travel internationally, we will see a different way of life. We have two options, to be stuck in our ways, and force them to adapt to our lifestyle OR being respectful of their culture and learning what its all about. We need to remember are visitors in their home. How would you feel if someone came to your home and tried to force their rules on you?


  • 4 Article Reviews: an article that relates to the political, economic, or social situation in your host country
  • 4 Country Briefings
    • Politics
    • Economics, Environment and Population
    • Education
    • Daily Life
  • Cross-Cultural Interview
  • Classroom Presentation
  • Final Report and Presentation


Once accepted in the UH Hilo Go Global program, we are nominated to our partner school. But we still need to go through the partner school’s application, which I’ll discuss in a different post. For UH Hilo, we are required to submit the following forms before the last day of IS 393 classes.

It was extremely helpful and less stressful to have a group of people that are in the same situation as you, that you can share your experiences and get suggestions from others. We also get advice from students who already walked in our shoes and wants to help ease the process for us. I really think all study abroad programs should have this course.

Throughout the semester, we also worked on getting Visa/Passports, Financial Insurance, Flights, and much more. Stay tuned as I dive deeper into those topics.

Photo by: The CEO Kid