COBA in Oxford: June 18th by Michelle Lytle
The much anticipated “free” travel weekend is official upon us! Group travel is over and students are going out to places with smaller groups of friends such as; Budapest, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, London, and more. We had class this morning with Dr. Lytle and learned that SERVICE MATTERS.
We talked through how great customer service is common sense but strangely rare and hard to accomplish without the correct vision, values, and leadership set in place. Next, we split to our different classes after lunch and were only there for about an hour so students could head out to their anticipated destinations. Traveling in Europe is a whole new ball game and we are all learning/trying to maneuver it in the most efficient way possible to maximize our time and minimize the amount of money we have to spend.
The majority of the students hit the road this afternoon, but there are a few of us holding down the fort tonight and getting up way too early to catch our flights!
We are so blessed to be here and excited to see what the Lord teaches us through experiencing different cultures and seeing His world from a whole new perspective. Thanks for letting me be historian of the day!!
COBA in Rome: June 19th by Morgan Mosley
On June 19th we started out the day at a hotel near the Rome airport. Our small group had what the hotel called an American Buffet breakfast with bacon, sausage and eggs with coffee. Soon after, we left the hotel by riding the Leonardo Di Vinci express train into the main city at Termini Station. We were so excited to get into the city and see the different sights! I got off at the train station at the stop right near Vatican City.
We learned that Vatican City is actually a separate country inside Italy. We walked around St. Peter’s square and got a great view of the Vatican! We kept walking a short distance until we arrived at our rented apartment during the duration of the trip. It was hard navigating in the streets at first, but we quickly learned our way. We left the apartment shortly after arrival to walk around our town, called Aurelia. We found a meat butcher shop and bought some beef and chicken to cook for dinner.
We also grabbed some pasta and other items to cook dinner in our apartment. On our way back to the apartment we grabbed some Gelato at a café and headed back to cook dinner.
Yes. We had dessert before dinner, and it did not spoil our appetite. We made dinner, and then had a quiet evening all together in the apartment.
It was a great 1st day in Rome!
COBA in London: June 20th by Temi Ogunleye and Spencer Woolfolk
What a fun Saturday in London! Spencer and I started our day early trying to find the London Zoo.
After roaming around for about an hour we found it but decided that tickets were a tad bit too expensive for our liking. We then decided to walk to the Big Ben/Hyde Park area to have lunch and explore.
My favorite part of Hyde Park was an area by a lake where there were a bunch of pigeons, herons, and geese. We concluded our excursion by going to the Sherlock Holmes Museum and walking across Abbey Road.
After this, we took the tube back to Oxford and headed home.
COBA in Oxford: June 16th by Jake Linn
Today we had study hall/class at 8:30 while some of us visited Oxford Analytica. During study hall we worked on a case study dealing with targeting a certain sector of consumers or the “bottom of the pyramid.” Once the Oxford Analytica students returned we had a guest speaker, Jason Lepojarvi, give a lecture on C.S. Lewis and The Four Loves.
It was very interesting to hear Mr. Lepojarvi break down the different types of love that C.S. Lewis wrote about. For me personally, the most powerful part was learning about how a person’s character determines how they love. The more positive virtues a person portrays, the greater they love on others. At 2:00, half of the group went on a tour of Magdalen College, where C.S. Lewis studied, followed by the rest of the group at 2:30.
After the tours we had time to relax at the house, work on homework, and read for our quiz tomorrow.
COBA in Oxford: June 17th by Cody Luttrell
Today we started off by having a group of students go to Oxford Analytica while the rest of us had time to catch up on homework and get ahead on projects. When the students returned, Professor Golden talked to us all about information technology and all the different reasons how and why we market and grab others’ attention.
She introduced us to The STP Process, which is segmentation, targeting, and positioning, which is how we are going to go about marketing our product.
We broke for lunch and then the class split with half going with Dr. Lytle and the other half going with Professor Golden. Professor Golden talked to our half about the customer as a whole, their behavior, decision making process, and the different strategies we can use for different customers. We got the rest of the afternoon and night off to work on homework, our journals, and start some new projects. At night, a group of us went to to see a movie at the local Oxford movie theatre, Odeon, which was a great time!
This next entry is chronologically posted out of order, but so important. We hope it inspires you!
COBA in Normandy: June 14th by Kyle Kennedy
On June 6, 1944 the allied forces invaded the Normandy beaches, a 90 mile stretch of northern France. These forces were predominantly made up of American, British, and Canadian troops each invading five separate beaches in order to liberate territory under German occupation. The Allies took the beaches through amphibious and airborne assaults, but not without much difficulty and many casualties.
Throughout this infamous day, over 4,400 brave men lost their lives, 2,499 of which were American soldiers. Today, our class had the honor of being able to see where these American troops laid their lives on the line to defend the freedom of people all around the world.
After a few stops on our tour we arrived at Utah Beach, one of the two beaches invaded by American infantry. An astounding 23,000 American troops arrived at Utah Beach on June 6th and overtook the German regiments in only a few hours. A couple of stops later we arrived at Omaha Beach, the second of the two American invaded locations. Standing on these two beaches was a very interesting feeling. Imagining what took place only 71 years ago, while looking out towards the ocean clearly brought feelings of sadness, but also a sense of pride. Visioning these Americans that risked and lost their lives to liberate others reminded us of how grateful we should be to live where we do. Our last stop was one that I’m sure none of us will forget. We finished our tour by seeing the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial where 9,387 American men and women are buried as a result of World War II.
Seeing rows upon rows of crosses lined up for hundreds of yards was such a powerful image. It is hard to find the words to describe the feelings that accompanied all of us while walking through the grounds. Overall, getting the opportunity to see such monumental parts of the world’s history is an experience we will all remember for many years.
We ended the day by gathering as a group and giving thanks to God for the various blessings that come with freedom, and giving the utmost gratitude to those who have sacrificed their life to defend it.
We’re back to the blog after a brief hiatus. It’s time to check back in on our COBA students and their adventures!
COBA in France: June 11th by Reese Herring and Zack Horton
Today was probably the busiest day we’ve had thus far on our trip. At 4:30am this morning the coach picked us up at our houses in Oxford and took us to the Gatwick airport in London where we took a 45 minute flight across the English Chanel to Paris, France.
When we arrived in Paris we got on a coach and traveled about an hour and a half outside the city to a town called Amiens.
We immediately drove to Amiens, a few hours outside the city, and visited a tech company called Appleton who is owned by Emerson Electric.
After lunch they gave us a short presentation over the heat and extreme weather resistant electrical products that they provide for those customers. Following the presentation we took a tour of their factory where they were manufacturing all of their products.
After we left their factory, we rode the coach into town and toured the Notre Dame cathedral of Amiens, which is twice the size of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, to put it in perspective. The cathedral was built in the 13th century.
At about 6 o’clock we left Amiens and took a 3 hour coach ride to Paris. When we arrived in Paris we checked into the MIJE Hostel, ate dinner and walked around Paris for about an hour. It was a big day packed full of activities and driving all over France!
COBA in Paris: June 12th by Ellen Johnson
June 12 I was the historian of the day! We had the opportunity to explore the city of Paris on our own before a bike tour. We rode about 8 miles and were able to see awesome historical sights. In the morning we got up and went to a French bakery for breakfast, walked to the Louvre and ended at the Eiffel Tower.
It was so much fun getting to see different landmarks that I have heard about since I was little but had never visited. It was crazy trying to communicate with the people of Paris via hand signals and the broken French that our group knows. It was also hard to differentiate between cultures because they looked like us but it was weird to think that they could not understand us at all. On the bike tour, we were able to see more of the city where we hadn’t walked and learned a little history about everything we saw.
COBA in Paris: June 13th by Chelsea Johnson
Saturday, June 13th, we had free time to explore the wonderful city of Paris! I woke up and decided I wanted crepes for breakfast. I then proceeded to city Ladúree to get a whole box of macaroons.
Then we took a cab to the catacombs, but the line was wrapped all around the corner of the block so we were unable to view them. Instead, we decided to have pizza with chili oil (my new favorite pizza accessory).
Next, we headed back to the hostel and then took a 4 hour bus ride to Normandy. Once in Normandy, we ate at a cute little seafood restaurant right next to the dock and then hiked up the mountain to explore, enjoy the beauty of the city, and watched the sunset. The end!
COBA in France: June 14th by Chris Kirklin
Today was our last day in France.
We began the morning with a nice breakfast at our hotel followed by a bus ride to Mont St. Michel. Mont St. Michel is an island commune, which was built before the year one thousand.
Over the centuries since it was originally built, there have been many additions to make Mont St. Michel what it is today. Twice a month, the tide engulfs the area around it, making Mont St. Michel one of the most beautiful places in all of France. Unfortunately today, the tides did not reach the castle but from the pictures and postcards we saw, it looked to be a beautiful sight.
The style and architecture was exquisite and I think it reminded everyone of Hogwarts.
After the tour we set off to Dinard Airport to catch our flight back to London and finished off the day with a bus ride back to Canterbury Road!
Today’s blog is brought to us by Chase Hamilton.
Today, we finally got back on a normal schedule and spent the day here in Oxford. The morning started at 8:30 where a group of us got some much needed time to work on class projects and study for an upcoming quiz. Dr. Lytle took a smaller group of students to Oxford Analytica.
Oxford Analytica is a global advisory firm that provides analyses of worldwide events for governments and businesses across the globe. In the next few weeks, each of us will have a chance to listen in as these businesspeople share their thoughts on what is happening across the planet. After our first hour and a half session, we took a thirty-minute coffee, tea, and crumpets break.
We then dove into a lecture about what marketing really is, and how the external environment drives how businesses should present their products to consumers. Assistant Professor Golden gave us a very helpful metaphor: businesses can pinpoint their “target market” just like a bow and arrow. The consumer is the bull’s eye while the bow represents the tools a company can use to reach their customers (the 4 P’s; price, product, place, and promotion). Lastly, the metaphor presented outside factors that can affect how firms reach their buyers which include ethics, environment, data, and consumer behavior.
After the lecture we watched an eye opening video on World War II in preparation for our visit to Normandy, France this weekend. The video concentrated on the death tally of the war and really showed the class just how much the war impacted so many different countries. The most shocking fact I learned in the video was how many Soviet soldiers and civilians were killed throughout the war, totaling around 15 million. I loved the video because it made me contemplate how many lives were lost during the war and how I am so thankful to the men and women that have given their lives to protect people in our country and countries around the world. After the video, we came back to the houses for a quick lunch before our last class session in the afternoon where we went over different marketing strategies and learned the SWOT model. Despite not doing anything monumentally exciting today, we definitely learned a lot from both a marketing and historical standpoint. We ended the night gearing up for the weekend trip to France.
COBA at Mini Cooper: June 8th by Ashton Darrow
Overall, Monday was great and full of Mini Coopers, marketing, and meeting people! We started out bright and early for the Mini Cooper factory tour just a few miles out of town.
After taking pictures of the vintage Mini Coopers we toured the manufacturing plant. We were able to see the start to finish line of the cars being manufactured.
We were all amazed at the quick precision of the robots in the factory that replaced human hands. After seeing the engines being built, we went to the portion of the factory where the car was painted and assembled in it’s entirety. Watching the custom-designed cars come off the line was fascinating.
After the tour of the manufacturing plant, we headed back to Oxford for a debriefing of all that we had learned. As a group, we discussed what we have learned about marketing from a real-life and global context.
Much of the afternoon was spent researching Asda and gathering market research on the streets. As a group, we learned how to approach people and discuss marketing in the real world.
COBA at Asda: June 9th by Bridget Fuessel
Today started with an early morning drive to the Asda store in Coventry.
This particular store was a concept model where they are trying out many different things to improve their customer’s experience.
The visit included an informational meeting, tour of the facility, and a short reflection and discussion time. In the short information meeting we learned the history of Asda and the external threats facing the brand and the UK grocery industry itself such as the high living costs consumers experience and the desire for efficiency in everyday life. After that, we got a tour of the store and learned what they are working on to bring more traffic inside and to make the consumers enjoy the time they spend doing their shopping.
To finish out our time at Asda, we had the opportunity to share our ideas, thoughts, feedback, and opinions with corporate managers who carved out time in their schedules to meet with us. And lastly, our day excursion ended with a group nap on the bus ride home. Today was much better than I expected and it was really cool to see how retailers do business and make decisions here in the UK!
It’s been a busy few days for our COBA students and faculty. In keeping with our desire to have them narrate the blog, you’ll see posts throughout today highlighting several different authors. Read on to see what our students have been up to. Cheerio!
COBA in London: June 5th by Danae Basye
Yesterday was such an exciting first day in London for the COBA Study Abroad team! We began by visiting FitchRatings and ExxonMobil.
It was such a benefit to hear from the businessmen themselves about how they run their global businesses successfully. We were treated with hospitality from both businesses by being provided with refreshments and having the ability to ask questions and talk with them one on one. After our business visits, we had the incredible opportunity to see Les Miserables in the Queen’s Theater.
Yesterday is a day that will be hard to forget. We are growing more and more every day by seeing global business models first hand and this is only the beginning!
COBA in London: June 6th by Zachary Bealmear
Today was a great day for everyone traveling around London. There were three to four groups who stuck together and toured around. Most everyone stayed overnight in a hostel. For quite a few it was their first time. At least two of the groups took tours by bus. One of the great notes about today was a few of the groups got to see a parade at Buckingham Palace. It was the Royal Guard’s rehearsal for the Queen’s birthday next week. It was quite a show.
A few of the groups took a cruise down the River Thames. Narration was witty, the sights were beautiful, and the air was brisk on deck.
One thing that caught my eye was a small chalk drawing being made in Trafalgar square.
It was fairly simple group of world flags. I do not know whether the final picture was supposed to be flags of the world, EU countries, or former British colonies. Either way, it definitely was a great reflection of how London is a true cultural hub. Peoples of all nationalities come to London not just to tour, but to work, to trade, to live.
Overall, everyone got to see a piece of London. After everyone got back to the Oxford House, by train of course, we all shared a wonderful supper of delicious lasagna. It was prepared by Jackie, but of course she humbly said it was a group effort. I think after that meal, which of course was much needed after a long day of travel, they all deserve a big thanks. Unfortunately, as meals so good rarely last long, no picture is available.
COBA in Oxford: June 7th by Lakin Carpenter
Today was our first Sunday spent in Oxford and it has been an absolutely beautiful day. We got to sleep in this morning, which was so nice! The highlight of today was being able to go to Christ Church and experience their service, as well as look around the breathtaking grounds of the church.
As you can see in the picture, the church was gorgeous, both indoors and outside. My favorite thing about the service was the choir, and all the adorable little boys who had incredible voices! The church staff was so sweet and welcoming to our whole group.
After church a small group of us went to a cute little café for paninis and sweets! We also did a little shopping and bought some Oxford gear. Kaitlyn and Jamie tried a “macaroon frappe” from Paul’s which they highly recommend everyone try! (It was AMAZING)
Once we were done with church, lunch and shopping, a lot of people headed home to start on our hefty workload for the week. It was cool to reflect back on what we learned on our London visits, as well as to begin looking into Mini Cooper. I’m excited to tour the factory tomorrow!
We ended our day with 9 @ 9, and a lovely devotional.
It was nice to decompress from our eventful weekend and spend time in community with each other. Being on this trip, I am constantly reminded of how truly blessed we are to have this opportunity. We get the chance to further our education, as well as travel across the world and learn about so many different cultures, which not many people (especially this young) get to do. Week one is coming to a close, and I’m ecstatic to see what the next three weeks hold for us!