Our COBA in Leipzig group has been there for almost three weeks now. They’ve been traveling around to Paris and Berlin since we last checked in with the students. We asked senior marketing major, GW Shaw, to answer a few questions for us:
1) What’s business class like in Germany? How is it different than in Abilene?
First it’s not at one set daily class schedule like it is back home and we’v ended up having class outside several times. We have class in the morning then in the afternoon we take a trip to see what we talked about in action instead of just hearing a lecture. One day we discussed how cars are manufactured, where the parts come from, and how plant locations are selected based on taxation and distribution then we took a tour of BMW to see it all in action.
2) What’s one thing you’ve learned about how marketing is different in Germany vs. America?
In America we love our choices; “have it your way” “mix and match” and other sayings marketers use to grab the attention of consumers. Here the choices are limited – even in American restaurants in Germany the menus are less than half of what they are at home and the employees are usually not willing to make changes to the menu. For example, there is a crepe stand in the train station were I have been trying to get a strawberry and blueberry crepe with vanilla sauce for over a week now and she refuses to make it because it is not on the menu even if I offer to pay for 2. Since then I have started making my own crepes so I could “have it my way”. BMW was one exception to the limited choices rule; our guide told us that they would do anything to the car as long as the customer was willing to pay.
You might remember when we told you about our students in the Digital Marketing class having the opportunity to do a market research project for ROOTS, the Canadian based apparel company. At the end of the semester, the students presented their findings to the VP of E-Commerce, Digital Marketing and New Media for ROOTS. You can read our blog entry about it here. And we were thrilled to see a nice write-up about the class, presentation and findings in the ROOTS Summer 2011 magazine. Click on the magazine cover above and a window will open on the Roots article about the class.
Our second study abroad summer session is underway in Leipzig, Germany. The group of 28 students left last week. Beth, a Junior Communications Disorders major, checks in with us, sharing a brief update of the trip so far:
Our Leipzig adventure started at DFW on July 11th. Our plane left around 5:35 pm and after a long sleepless (at least for me) flight, we arrived at London Heathrow airport where we had just enough time to grab some breakfast and stretch our legs for a bit before catching our plane to Berlin. From Berlin we took a bus to Leipzig. Honestly I don’t remember much of the bus ride because although they encouraged us to try to stay up as long as possible in order to combat the jet lag, my body couldn’t fight off sleep any longer. I remember looking out the window In Berlin, and trying to take in this unique huge city, and the next thing I knew I woke up in Leipzig.
We received our room assignments, and moved into our flats, which will be our home for the next month. I love the flat! There are three girls in my flat, and it is the perfect size. The Shewmakers (who were the professors here last semester and at the beginning of the summer) had pizza for us that night which was delicious considering my hungry confused stomach (poor thing couldn’t keep up with the time change), and afterward we went grocery shopping and walked around the neighborhood. Just grocery shopping in itself was quite the experience. I have never been to a country like Germany where I can’t at least guess at some of the words like I can with Spanish.
My roommates and I found ourselves receiving help from the Shewmaker’s daughters when it came down to picking out the right kinds of lunchmeat or jelly when we couldn’t read the labels, or make out what was on the picture. The neighborhood our flats are located in is quite nice. It is easy enough to get around, and there’s a park nearby with huge trees. Everything is different over here. The cars are much smaller, the streets narrower, and the people are much different than back home. Not to mention the weather is has been around 70-80 degrees and feels wonderful compared to the brutal heat of Texas.
The next day we slept in a bit before walking to the tram station that took us to the train station, which we found out is also like a mall, and then to downtown where we walked around some more. The buildings are beautiful and detailed. It’s crazy to think how old they are. We got to see the church of St. Nikolai where huge groups of people met before the wall fell. It was surreal to think how much has changed since then, and yet the church building has remained the same. We continued to walk around and ended up getting some delicious (cheap) ice cream downtown.
For dinner that night we had durams at a local place near our flats. The only way I can think to describe them is to say that they are similar to gyros, but in my mind they were better. The classes that are being offered are International Business, International Marketing, and Strategic Management. We did some group work last week comparing different advertising strategies here to the ones back home. We will have more class activities starting tomorrow.
I have so much more to write, but I just got back from my weekend trip to Rome, and I must get some sleep!
Beth in Rome (first weekend excursion from Leipzig)
And stay tuned for a wrap up of Global Apprentice: Oxford!