Dr John Donnellan and Dr Wanda Rutledge presented a paper In the UK at the 2016 Cambridge Business & Economic Conference titled ‘‘Lessons from the 2007-2010 Financial Crisis”.
Many new found friendships and a unique culture.
I am back home having survived the first week of school and the new role as Chair for the Management department – buyer’s remorse. Thanks Wanda!
Thus, to sum up my Fulbright Finland experience through words and pictures now that I am home it was a very fun and very enjoyable experience. Fun in that I met new friends and new culture while the enjoyment was the number of lectures with a variety of students. I believe all were satisfied and I think about 40 Finnish students may come to my school as an exchange students once the MOU is completed between SAML and NJCU.
Beauty of Finland
To reflect upon Finland one needs to remember the beauty of the land. Approximately 80% of the land is still uninhabited while about 20% is populated. To put this in perspective the town of Rauma, Finland where I stayed has around 40,000 people and is about 1.1k2 in size while my hometown of NYC has about 8.5 million people and is about .79k2. You can fit NYC into Rauma with room to spare so this city is deserted. That alone is both a blessing and a curse since its nice to have empty spaces but not ALL THE TIME.
My pictures of the town tell the story of Rauma – it’s a UNESCO heritage site with artistic beauty throughout this wooden town. Please see the beauty of this lovely country.
I found that Finnish people are very warm and caring. They are reserved reserved in their mannerisms but are kind and generous to those who they get to know. Since I have a joint project with SAMK, I have been telling my NJCU students that Finnish culture is different than American culture. You must work at a friendship and that is the key. I found this to be the case since I was invited to several Women’s softball games, a new campus inauguration in Pori [btw the arch rival of Rauma], a sauna, dinner, lunches, orienteering, invitation to a hockey game [missed it due to my other job NJCU] and many chats with very nice folks. I had conversations with the President of Finland, President of SAMK, Leaders of Industry and a great group of faculty and students. While in Helsinki I was with Fulbright Finland who presented a well-organized and detailed orientation – they did a great job. So in general it was a time of work, rest and friendship. What more can you ask for in life?
OK we all cant bat a 1000 as they say. Food was a challenge and if I were a cook there wouldn’t be a problem – two large grocery stores in town. Trouble is I left the art of cooking in a past life and I am down to a rather basic eating style. Thus my daily intake consisted of 5-7 cups of coffee [Finland is #1in drinking coffee but its weak- no Starbucks in Rauma], Finnish brown bread, French brie, Italian prosciutto and Polish apples. I love the EU way of doing business since its all member states products and the cost is much less than in the USA. Of course there were the potatoes – a staple of Finnish cuisine. Since I am Irish that was fine and I had many types of cooked, boiled, fried, steamed, scalloped and mashed potatoes. They are also big on meatballs and I felt like I was eating IKEA meatballs – but then again it was actually good. The pizza was not that bad but this is because I am fresh back from China and their pizza is well who knows what it was. Thus the Finnish pizza tasted fine in comparison.
I did have one dinner of salmon that was heaven sent – delicious. But again it’s a chore to cook this so I passed on the many types available.
Many types of chocolate candy and licorice – avoid the licorice is my tip to you since it’s an acquired Finnish taste.
So in general – food isn’t a top reason to visit Finland.
School and Project
I visited and lectured at three schools – SAMK Rauma, SAMK Pori and Winnova. Each of the 7 lectures was different and they were about 1.45hr per lecture. Classes were from low of 6 to high of 40. MANY students want to come to my school NJCU which is a great thing. They love NY which is across the Hudson from NJCU – 15 minute PATH Metro ride to Wall Street.
The project ream is a mixture of US and Finnish teachers, the teams are a blend of NJCU Honors students and SAMK Global and Engineering students. Our MNC is Port Rauma and we will have a cooperative project on a port concern on exporting to Port Baltimore and Jacksonville. My NJCU students will benefit from new friendships and dealing with virtual teams on an analytical problem. The Fulbright Finland program helped to enable this between the two Universities and we expect and ongoing relationship between the universities for many years to come.
I believe this is a first form the NJCU School of Business to have a Fulbright Specialist and a virtual project with a Finnish University and Multi-National Corporation so many eyes will be watching this for a positive result.
Visiting the Port of Rauma was a pleasure since we were given a very close up view of the daily operations. The port is smaller than Newark Elizabeth/Bayonne and Brooklyn but it is expanding to facilitate larger vessels. I was given the grand tour of a training simulator at SAMK that trained Captains and Pilots on navigation. It was amazing since each training room looked like the deck of a large vessel and it had very sophisticated equipment just like a real ship. I wanted to take a tanker into the port but that would have been a complete disaster so I wasn’t given that opportunity. Oh well.
I have been championing the Fulbright program on my campus and other universities since it is a great program. The Specialist grant fit my need due to the 3-4 week assignment but there are so many types of awards and I strongly suggest one should take advantage of this opportunity while it still exists. I also feel that Finland is a great place to visit and to take in its natural beauty. Thank you to USA Fulbright, Fulbright Finland, Winnova, Port of Rauma, SAMK and to Marina, Daniela, Annsi, Peter and Vessa. You were all key to this becoming reality and for a long relationship between two countries and two universities.
I have arrived to the beautiful city of Helsinki Finland on an academic journey. I was given a Fulbright Finland Specialist grant to work with the Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) and NJCU on a Business Administration project. This project deals with a Finnish Multi-National Corporation [MNC] and an issue they need researched and resolved for US expansion. This 25 day grant is to set up the joint teams integrating Finland and USA teams while creating plans for this 3+ month project. This Fulbright award was through the strong efforts of Fulbright Finland, World Learning Global Development & Exchange (USA State Department) and SAMK. Without their effort this plan in the pipe for over one year would not have been made possible. A shout out to NJCU for allowing this to happen.
While in Helsinki I spent two days with the Fulbright Finland group and I must say they were fantastic. Training and introductions to the program were done in a very friendly manner. I was told Finnish people are kind of cold but I have not encountered this since everyone has been extremely pleasant and helpful.
On Monday evening we had a very special event at the US Embassy Helsinki. I had a very nice conversation with the President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö and U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Donna Welton. Since this is Finland’s 100 year independence and 65 year relationship with Fulbright Finland it’s very important. Fulbright Finland took many photos and I actually photobombed a few shots – that’s the no manners New Yorker in me – haha. But in closing I did my usual adventures walking all over the city – did not run yet since it’s a bit cold – around 17 c degrees. Sadly I packed for warm weather so looks like I need to buy warm closes.
I have a slight bit of jet lag having left JFK right away after my beautiful daughter was married in Brooklyn New York. An amazing time for another day – best to Mr and Mrs Anthony Salazar
So off to hotel and pack for Rauma tomorrow.
Today was my last day of training at Fulbright Finland since I am expected on the SAMK Rauma Campus Wednesday for training. So the morning session was great at Fulbright Finland and I had discussions with Ms. Terhi Mölsä (CEO), Ms. Mirka McIntire, Ms. Pia Arola, Ms. Emilia Holopainen, Ms. Emmi Jelekäinen, Ms. Maija Kettunen, Ms. Karoliina Kokko and Ms. Suzanne Louis – all very special folks from Fulbright Finland. I also had the privilege of talking to David Yoken, Music Professor, and Turku University of Applied Sciences.
I left the Fulbright Finland office with the kind assistance of Ms. Pia Arola who was able to walk me to the hotel and drop me off at the bus station. A very big shout out to Ms Arola who exemplifies the warmth and hospitality of this great country. Without her assistance I would probably still be in Helsinki.
The bus ride from Helsinki to Rauma was about 4 hours and was done without incident. Sadly when we drove through Turku I was curious why the bus stopped at a market filled with people and flowers. I took a picture not knowing what was going on but then realized as the bus continued. This was the memorial site where a madman killed a women in a Terrorist Attack on 8/19/2017. Finland is still unsure how to deal with this Terrorist Attack since they much like most if not all of the EU are subject to recent crimes that are new to them. When I arrived at Helsinki Airport on 8/20/2017 we all stood for a moment of silence.
On a happier note, I made it to Rauma without incident and was met by my dear colleague Marina Wikman, Senior Lecturer & International Coordinator SAMK. Without her efforts this trip would not have been possible. Also shout out to Daniela Tanhua, Senior Lecturer for allowing NJCU to join her project.
I was brought to a very nice flat that I will have for the duration of this assignment. We also bought food from the local market and I must say the Brie is so less expensive than in New York. That makes John very happy.
In closing – I was hoping for a TV since I enjoy watching the local news and sports wherever I travel over the world…the past 12 months alone I have been to Portugal, India, France, China England and now Finland. But looks like the TV needs a special cable connection that I do not have – so its more school work and blogs.
Speaking of school work a very big shout out to my current NJCU Management Chair Dr. Wanda Rutledge who is passing the torch to me as Chair Person starting September. She has been gently passing over the duties to me 100 emails at a time – only joking Wanda J I will get you a bottle of Terva Snapsi. – traditional tar wood liqueur – yummy.
Talk to you soon
My first day at SAMK was very productive and we were introduced to the project. A short first day just to do two things:
- Visit to SAMK campus Rauma and meeting all staff and Jaana Vase, Dean, Faculty of Logistics and Maritime Technology.
- Orienteering – as I explained to my daughter it’s where you are put into a large forest with a compass and a map. Challenge is, besides staying alive, to go to checkpoints within a specific amount of time. I must admit Marina and I had a fantastic time – this city boy actually did ok for himself having completed the course within 1 hour 20 minutes – 10 check points in all. It reminds me a very dense version of a cross country race.
I will also go to a Finnish Baseball Game on Monday – those who are accustomed to traditional Baseball are in for a treat since it’s a typically Finnish – not like my NY Mets [then again maybe just like them sad to say].
Talk to you tomorrow
Today I had several meetings on the Fulbright Finnish assignments at SAMK. This consists of teaching assignments, entrepreneurial visits on trade to the chamber of commerce and of course the joint MNC project. It was a fruitful day with much of the understandings discussed.
After school I walked around Rauma from the port to a large shopping mall that was similar to a Walmart. I also tried their version of McDonalds called Hesburger. I make it a rule not to eat this type of fast food but tried half a burger that was similar to a Bigmac and fries. It was so similar I got sick just like I do at McDonalds. Memo to file – stick to the traditional healthy food.
I will try to log onto one or more of these now – talk to you tomorrow. Courtesy of Marina.
https://www.katsomo.fi/#!/ You will need to register but it is free of charge (commercial channel)
https://areena.yle.fi/tv you might need to register here as well, but I am not sure (the official state owned channels)
https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/ News in English – you can read, watch and listen
http://www.ruutu.fi/ Several smaller commercial channels
https://netti-tv.fi/ All the possible online programmes combined
I am off to Oxford UK to deliver a paper at the 2016 Oxford Business and Economics Forum at the Saiid School of Business, Oxford University, England. The paper is a strong topic that I have partnered with Dr Wand Rutledge on drafting. The topic is near and dear to my heart ‘’ A Case for RBV in the Banking Industry: One firm’s use of RBV for competitive advantage. “.
I actually flew in from Changzhou University China via Eastern China Airline and it wasn’t such a bad flight for like 15 hours. My friend David Du Vice Dean International from Changzhou University mentioned that flight attendants on Eastern China Airlines never smile and are always serious – he was kind of right.
When I arrived in England the immigration line took 2 hours but I eventually took the bus from Heathrow to Oxford and was in my tiny flat by 12am. Very long day up over 24 hours.
This afternoon I presented at the “Strategic Issues” breakout session to a very supportive audience. Many of the below Universities were in attendance and several suggested strong ideas to enhance the paper. They were:
- Bogazici University
- Central Michigan University
- Chinese University of Hong Kong
- Georgia State University
- Hong Kong Shue Yan University
- National Institute of Construction
- National University of Laos
- Open University of Hong Kong
- Penn State
- Saginaw Valley State University
- Seton Hall University
- Skyline University
- SUNY FIT
- Texas Southern University
- The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin
- Trinity College
- University of Alberta
- University of Colombo
- University of Hartford
- University of Texas Dallas
- University of Western Australia
I also got into an argument with a very opinionated professor from Hong Kong that was out of line in his criticism of a student from University of Texas. The New Yorker in my jumped in and let just say it was awkward.
I stayed around town for a few days in my very tiny flat right down the street from Christ Church College. I only ran one day and it was great to run within the grounds of Christ Church
Oxford University is comprised of over 38 Colleges:
I have enjoyed the age of Oxford and it was similar to my Cambridge trip last year. I felt it was a young town with many tourists and students. But I did see a problem in that at night the shop entrances became “homes” for a very large homeless population. Many of these people has visible issues mostly alcohol which was very sad. I saw a trend similar to my trips to other European cities recently in England, France and Portugal. There is also a very large population of “street people” congregating at night apparently homeless as well. They are young and the majority are male – I have not seen this as consistent in major US cities such as New York, Philadelphia of Newark. I am not sure if this is associated with the open immigration policy that is within the EU but it looks problematic – many young folks out of work.
I am off again to China and to see my “Chinese Daughters” Amy and Molly. I have missed them since last year and look forward to seeing them at their graduation from Changzhou University. I am proud of them and believe that Amy will continue her education at UCC Ireland in Masters of English studies. I believe Molly will go to Georg-August-Universität Göttingen Germany for Masters of English Literature. I know I will visit Amy and my family in Ireland and hope to visit Molly in Germany.
I am staying at Changzhou University for 1 month teaching Marketing and Marketing Research. I then will travel to the UK and present a paper at Oxford University. I love to travel and hope to continue to Finland in August on the Fulbright but the funding from Finland isn’t clear at this point so it’s a long shot. I have contacted my friend Stan Hart at the UDLAP Mexico and might go there instead.
China is a very fascinating and beautiful country which I truly love. The people are proud and very generous when they like you. I believe that China is a true friend to the USA and we need to nurture this relationship. It is very important for Americans to understand how strong China is and the need for friendship is critical at this point in time.
I look forward to seeing my friend David and listen to his stories of travel and adventure. He is the most western Chinese administrator that I have encountered in China. He would fit in perfectly within the USA. I also look forward to seeing Chen who is the dean of the school. She is very well versed on American furniture and her home looks like it was furnished with Ethan Allen design – simple yet meticulous in form.
I plan to take the girls to Disney Shanghai if that is at all possible. My schedule gives me a window between Saturday and Monday to travel so we shall see. It’s about 2 hours to SH via bullet train. Only problem is that I am not sure where to stay if we want to visit the park on two separate days. Maybe we can crash at Amy’s family since her mom, uncle and cousin live in SH.
On my flight over via the horrible United Airlines I was pleasantly surprised at having a very articulate young lady sitting next to me. At the start of the trip she received a meal that her mother ordered in advance and I simply said “it’s nice that mom takes care of you”. 15 hours later we were still chatting and we talked nonstop for 15 hours. She is a very talented young lady and goes to UNC – Tar Heels. Upon my arrival I was met by the schools administrator Saki and we had the schools chauffer drive from Shanghai to Changzhou about 2.5 hours. When we arrived I met my two mentees Amy and Molly and I was so happy to see them and we talked non-stop. It is a pleasure seeing them and Changzhou University again.
I also want to point out that the peace and security of China at times justifies the rather strict control the government has on its people. Looking at today’s news with more terror in London and death almost everywhere it’s a choice that is worthy of debate. Security at the cost of ones rights – a tough choice.
I have met a fellow NJCU professor Dr. Yufeng Wei – Chemistry department. We have has a rather nice time chatting and visiting Starbucks for a nice break. His class is freshman and about 15 students strong. My two classes are Mark Research and Organizational Behavior. The research class are my former students from last year and they are about 12 strong. I enjoy having repeat students since I know their names and styles. The Org Behavior class is sophomores and they are new to me. Sadly the level of attendance is bad with only 7 of 21 attending. I mentioned this to the administration and it’s not a concern with them – so its fine by me. My teaching philosophy is to talk in English with students, talking about cultures in other countries as well as the subject matter. It’s the old Kiss philosophy in action.
My friends and mentees Amy and Molly have taken care of me as usual and I want to take them to Disney in Shanghai for their graduation gift – I look forward to seeing them graduate shortly. The ceremony is very different than the two I just witnesses – NJCU and Hunter College [Daisy]. The President, Party Secretary and a few dignitaries talk and then it’s over. Students are not in robes for the ceremony but prior so pictures can be taken. The students are actually in their schools “tee shirt” color and one can see the differences based upon Red, Pink, Yellow, etc.
I was very interested in watching the British election and PM May looks like she is in trouble. The Tories are short for majority and Labor now can block many decisions. So I mentioned that to students and not many have a view of the global environment. Not good since it will impact China in one way or another.
The city of Changzhou continues to grow and I have visited numerous shops and so many restaurants. When I do have time I tend to explore the neighborhoods. But I am rather busy with my students even though they are a rather small group. I have about 3-4 lectures per week from Monday to Friday thus my Saturday and Sunday are left for running and shopping.
I have been attending a colleague’s lecture on Chemistry and the students appear to be engaged on the topic. My university has a 3+1 program so after 3 years in Changzhou the students go to NJCU for their last year of studies.
I have been quite busy with school as well as other assignments from the university. I have also had the pleasure of meeting my mentees on a daily basis and discussing their master’s degree plans. I have also been going to dinner with them on a daily basis and must have gained several pounds – the downside of China. So much food and its rather heavy in nature – lots of oils and starch. I continue to run daily but it’s a losing battle at this point so its diet time when I return to the USA. I average about 6 miles a day running but it isn’t working – sad to say.
I was invited to talk with the Hau Lookeng Honors Students and they were very interested in asking good questions. We are thinking of forming a partnership with them and my school – a collaborative agreement would be great. I met Ms. An Ning – Party Secretary Changzhou University and Dr. Xu Shuling who were very interested in having me back for further lectures.
I have been very busy with Amy and Molly and have had many adventures. In honor of their graduation I took them to the Shanghai Zoo and to Disney Shanghai. It was fun going via the bullet train and it took about 1 hour. The metro in China is very clean and very crowded. If you are near an empty seat you run the risk of getting slammed by someone who want to sit down. Amazing how important sitting is to some folks.
The zoo was very nice but it was set up on a smaller scale than say the Miami Zoo. The animals tend to look bored and a bit stressed. Seeing several pandas was so much fun but again one just kept walking back and forth so it looked like they were stressed. The elephants were in small cells and had chains on their legs. I felt very sad but this was a better zoo than many sad to say.
The day we went to Disney rained straight through and it was a mess. The park was still crowded with young children and parents. Average wait time was 3 hours per ride and it was very expensive. Fun times…fun times. Let’s say it had the same amount of visitors but 1/3 the size of Orlando Disney. But it was fun.
I also went to my student’s graduation and it was great. This university had every school in a different tee shirt and students cheered when their school displayed their shirts. My students were in Pink [English] and others were in dark Blue [International]. There were about 4 thousand students and the senior leaders from the university were the only ones wearing robes. In my school all professors were their robe to the ceremony. But in general it was a great day and my mentees were very happy.
Received great news from Finland that the US State Department has approved my Fulbright project to SAMK. I have wanted a Fulbright for many years and now its here – lesson in life is never give up.
I am at the end of my China travels shortly and Molly has been an amazing friend to me. We have gone to so many places, talked so much and just had fun. I will miss her greatly but appreciate the time we shared together since it was fun.
As I wrap up I did a draft of my final thoughts on this year’s students and I must say they are a bit disappointing. They tend to not really care that much and basically look incredibly bored. Back in USA I have changed my teaching approach and actually ask for student involvement in class design and if class sucks I can change it on the fly. The worst thing to read on WeChat is seeing my picture in class posted by a student saying she is so bored. Thus I will rethink my approach if I come to China again since I am at a disadvantage due to the poor technology. Nothing on-line works.
My approach to teaching here was to expose students to a native English speaker, have them work in teams for a common goal and then talk about the subject matter. In the USA it’s reversed and the English comes into play from guidance within written and oral communication. I just did not feel the students were at a level to comprehend the subject matter without a large amount of English. Maybe next time I will not be so sensitive to their comprehension of the English language and just plow through the material just like in USA. But something tells me that might not work either. We shall see.
I bid farewell to China not sure when I will be returning again. My two students will be off to Ireland and Germany for post graduate work where I will visit them both. China is a wonderful and beautiful country with very warm people. I truly loved my visits and the friendships will last a lifetime. I should now have enough data to finish my research on the different pedagogy styles between USA and China – thus I will have in writing my thoughts published for all to see.
April fools to all. Well I am now off to France and that is now joke. I am on route to Montpellier School of Business in Montpelier France and will be there for a full week lecturing over 470 graduate and undergraduate students. My first stop is lovely Amsterdam for a short stop over than direct to the lovely city and school.
So this is the first of my 2017 journeys as I will be going to Changzhou China for the month of June to lecture at Changzhou University and see my to students Amy and Molly graduate then on to England and Oxford University to deliver a paper at the International Finance and Economics Conference around July 4th and then to Finland via my Fulbright award for work with SAMK toward the end of August. I will of course end the year in Mumbai India at RA National School for the third year of NJCU’s competition in the International Economics Conference. So lots of blogs to publish this year.
I must admit I am a bit apprehensive teaching to such a large audience at Montpellier but it is a pleasure being their first NJCU professor to act as a ‘good will ambassador’. I have done that for all my journeys in China and India and it’s been very rewarding to me and the school. Thus, when I am asked why I left Wall Street for academia – one of the main reasons was for the travel. I still work crazy hours, drive an eternity but in general this fine.
I had the pleasure of meeting the dean of the French university, Dr Yvon Desportes, and he is rather well versed and educated. Apparently he is a Latin scholar and has taught me a few words that now make total sense when defined. I also know a bit of what to expect from the students from a cultural standpoint. But as I have found in my travels all students are basically the same. They all have dreams of success, anxiety and fears. Some are very academically strong while others are not really suited for this lifestyle. So I bet my French students will be the same.
I hope to be able to sneak off to the French Riviera but it looks like a bit of a journey from school so I shall see. My plan of course it to run in France as part of my ‘run the world’ goal and it will be accomplished. But of course it would be nice if it were near the water since I have come to feel comfort by the ocean or large inlets of water. My only void in running has been India but maybe I will have the opportunity in Mumbai this year. So far I have ran in North America, South America, Asia and Europe. I am actually working on a plan to have NJCU join University of the Artic so yes I will run their in a few years. That only leaves Africa and Australia. I am sure my school will have an opportunity to send me to maybe Egypt when things calm down but I will need to go down under on my own. Not a problem.
My ETA is tomorrow afternoon in France and I will get to the hotel and settle down then see the world of culinary heaven. My friend who is big on eating would make for a good companion since I am not big on eating and actually thinks it’s a waste of time. But I will give it the old college try then have a nice run around the hotel. I also need to familiarize myself with the metro since its that method of travel all week for me. But I will figure it out like I always do.
Talk to you soon
I arrived safely to Montpellier and managed to get a cab right away to the town proper and got to my apartment safely. I unpacked and immediately went out looking for a place to run. Sadly I was told that the French Rivera is about 3-4 hours by car so no luck running there. Instead I found a nice canal that had many runners and have gone there instead. Its about a 2 mile walk so I walk, run and walk. It’s a good thing that I do this since all I have been eating is amazing bread, cheese and pastry. This place is a culinary paradise – if I drank the wine would be flowing since this is also wine country.
My first day of class was an adventure with the “Grand Ampi” as my classroom – it holds over 1,000 students with a very large stage. The first day on the ground was find everything on my own since my two contacts decided to take a week holiday each – nice warm welcome feeling. But my philosophy is just wing it and I jumped right in.
The students are all juniors and they have a few “Frenchisms” about them. They avoid the first 20 rows of seats and they are noisy. I tried to set the ground rules but coming from a NJ Culture that is very PC it is not my first instinct to yell at the students – which I ended up doing. But going to a top 10 French Business School as the first rep from NJCU is special and I enjoyed everything about this trip.
The dean and an English professor too me to lunch and I enjoyed the company. Since they wanted to switch to talking Spanish and not English I was able to keep up for a bit but realized my Spanish isn’t that great so they went back to English. I do speak to many in Spanish during the day but when we get into the deep part of the conversation I tend to get lost – I regret not fully learning this language. My Chinese student Amy and had a video conference vi WeChat and she said a funny joke “A person who know 2 languages is called Bi-Lingual, a person who knows 3 languages is called Tri-lingual and a person who knows 1 language is called an American” – hahah
Much more to come tomorrow.
Teaching 6 hours per day is hard but I have found a kindred spirit – let me explain. French business schools are stand-alone schools and not attached to a University. Thus it is not unusual to have a Business Language department within the business school. Since the administration wanted me to teach business communications I was aligned to the Language department which is run by a battle tested chair of 40 years’ experience teaching at the US, England and now French school systems. She went ballistic when the administration didn’t set up lunches or evening events for me and I have become her pet project. She is as tough as nails but 100% behind the success of students and has very little time for administration – sounds like she works for my school. She did a surprise audit on my class and told me point blank to throw out students who to not follow 100% of what I say – again something that I am not used to doing in NJ. In general her students all say I am a nice teacher and she said to hell with being nice – lol.
The chair is taking me and two colleagues out tonight and it should be fun to chat for a bit. The light stays up until about 9PM but there is a downside to France. Security is tight with army patrols walking up and down the streets with assault rifles and there is a very large population of men between 21 and 30 living on the street with dogs as well as a major drinking problem for much older men and women again living on the streets. So since this is a warm part of south France and there are many tourists – it is a great place to do whatever they do. Sad situation since so many you men are just up to no good on the streets and lack of social programs for the mentally ill. Granted each night I see many volunteers providing food and water to large queues of street people – more mental health programs as well as jobs for the young wandering men are needed. Thus, 9PM isn’t the best to be walking around in a suit. Now I tend to dress way down and kind of fit in to a certain degree. So this is what France looks like??
So the next 2 days are full classes and I have a signing ceremony with the Dean of this school Dr Didler Jourdan. I hope to bring back the papers to NJCU on the joint agreement between our schools. Then we can start to exchange students and start the ball rolling.
So in the end my team won the following:
- Best Critical Thinking
- Best Team Contributor – Maurice Outlaw
- Best Team Presenter – Maurice Outlaw
- Professor Contributions Award
But we did not win the big prize since our team country was India and the judges were from India – tough to win. So its back to the drawing board and lets see if we can do it in 2017. BTW one of the judges, Nobel, has become our team’s friend and we saw him at airport last night. A start of a great relationship.
The conclusion is this – so we had no money, and no hot water, and were in the sticks – the experience for our students was priceless. Seeing a beautiful culture surviving in a tough environment is a great lesson for the students. They learned how to deal with black swan events without panicking or feeling sorry for themselves. Simply put – Americans are very resilient and able to handle with a crisis – going to plan B, plan C and plan D, if necessary.
So the trip may not have been a victory but the students did win. They experienced the enlightenment of a different culture and country. They won from seeing a world different from where they live and this lesson will be with them always. Lastly they learned to be humble in a country that had the ability to deal with adversity on a daily basis. I also think each of us was able to look internally and reflect on just how good things are in the USA. It might not be the greatest place at times but smelling fresh doughnuts and coffee the minute we entered Newark airport this am was priceless.
We also will learn to be victorious in 2017 – third times a charmer right?
Today the weather is dry and around 85 degrees during day and 65 at night. The streets are filled with students and workers as well as too many cars. The traffic here is the worst I have seen and the fact people aren’t killed every 5 minutes is amazing. You have pedestrians, cars, trucks, scooter, bicycles and dogs coming at you in every which way. Its something you cant describe but it functions. From today forward we will work on the presentation for Saturday delivery. One fast observation that I see is the location of CHM is in a more rural location than in 2015 with HR College. To put this in perspective it’s a very rural location that we were not fully prepared to handle. My students and Dr R are managing but the beauty of India is masked be sever pollution in the air, water and streets. Sadly garbage is either burned in streets or just left there while the local water inlets are impossible to describe – stagnant water that basically stinks.
There isn’t any comfort food for students and the nearest mall is 1.5 hours away. We did go there and had a nice time and were with students from 2015 HR College – we did not form a similar relationship with CSM students. So basically we were on our own.
The country of India on 11/8/2016 declared a demonetization emergency and changed 500rs and 1000rs notes to new modern notes. On the surface a great idea to reduce illegal liquidity in the market place. This is a case study of what appears to be a good thing can turn into a bad thing fast. New result to my team – NO INDIAN CURRENCY. So we spent the entire trip with a grand total of 600 US dollars that were converted by me through the black market. I had the transaction with some guy in a restaurant and in a back room. Amazing that we were ok in the end since there was nothing to spend it on.
Final thoughts to come.
Competition at XXIV International Economics Convention
CMH College Mumbai, India
We have a unique opportunity to compete for the second year in a row at the International Economics Convention, Mumbai India. Last year we finished second with a respectable win but did not take the big prize. This year expectations are very strong for success. We really need to win big prize.
The team of Dr Rutledge, Maurice, Kaylee, Erica, Jamie and I left on Monday 12/5 and landed on Tuesday at Mumbai after 14hrs of a relative calm flight. But our goal this year is tough and we need to be strong – our country is India and our hosts are India – tough situation.
The host university is more on the outskirts of Mumbai and that’s like saying its out of the safety of our comfort zone. We are in India proper with its full view of poverty, unmaintained buildings/roads and lack of sanitary conditions on massive scale. Garbage is strewn everywhere and there is an inch of dirt on almost every inch of ground. This is so sad since the beauty and hospitality try to shine through this cloudy perception of a unique culture and country.
Our hotel is very Indian and not Western friendly. We as a team are subject to a great experience but must adjust since this is more of an urban setting than 2015.
The host college brought us to their school and prepared a typical Indian meal which was very nice and not that spicy. Unfortunately one of our students is picky at food so we need to keep an eye on her so she doesn’t get ill from lack of food. But in general the food was very nice and simple, the school is an old 1965 style building and the Economics faculties are very kind. No teacher is over 60 since they are forced into retirement – similar to China.
More to come on our first full day.