Friday, June 6, 2014

Cardinal Business Edge Travels Canada

A Canadian Tour

In early May, five members of Cardinal Business Edge traveled throughout Canada on a week-long excursion. Below are the stories of their travels.

Evan Campbell

The trip to Canada was great and I thought it was a really cool experience. Being in Niagara Falls was cool but it was raining. Later that day however, we made it to Toronto and had dinner with Kavork at an Armenian restaurant. It was good food, good company, and was one of our best nights because of his stories and being able to share his experiences of college and comparing the U.S. and Canada. 

The French influence was increasing with every city we passed and could real tell the difference in Montreal.

Quebec City was the most interesting because of all of the historic language and it was a very new learning experience. The views were very cool and we were able to explore the whole city especially within the walls of the old town.

Ottawa's Parliament building was a good thing to add to the trip and show how the French and English speakers compromised the capital location right on the Province line.

Overall, I enjoyed this trip very much. It was great to be in an area that I am not familiar with and learn about difference culture and experience it firsthand.

Evan at Niagara Falls

Megann Markey

The Cardinal Business Edge trip to Canada was a great experience that allowed me to visit many cities and create lasting memories with my peers. I had never been to Canada before and within a week I had visited Niagara Falls, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, and Ottawa. 

I really enjoyed the effort that we made to eat at foreign cuisine restaurants. The opportunity to try Armenian and Indian food was not something I would seek on my own. I also enjoyed the time that we took to explore the cities and the many cathedrals, government buildings, and stores.

The French language that was spoken and heard throughout our travels was a strong character builder. Not being able to rely on your native language to communicate is humbling. Locating things without using English was intimidating and I quickly found interest in learning directional words and the phrases on road signs.

Traveling in a small group made us depend on one another. By the end we had learned about our families, hobbies, and future goals. 

I would like to thank everyone involved in the planning process of this trip and Dr. Potts for accompanying us on the memory-filled experience. It was my first time leaving the country and it was a trip I won't soon forget.

At an Armenian restaurant trying new cuisine.

Erica Robishaw

Before highlighting the business, economic, and political aspects of my experience with the faculty-led trip throughout Canada, I must first mention the food! Our our first night we ate Armenian cuisine. The meal was served family style, meaning there were many dishes on the table from which we all had shared. After an hour or so of eating and enjoying each other's company, I couldn't possibly have eaten anymore. I sat in disbelief as our host had stated that we hadn't received our entree yet. If our trip had consisted of that meal and back, I would have been content. Following that experience, I tried poutine for the first time, which is a famous Canadian dish composed of french fries and topped with gravy and cheese curds. Why hasn't the U.S. adopted this dish in its entirety?

Highlights of our trip included Niagara Falls, St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, and Parliament in Ottawa. Even though Canada is a close neighbor of ours, there are many distinct differences between the U.S. and Canada. For example, to protect the culture of French Canadians, both English and French are the official languages of Canada. From a business, economics, and political standpoint, both languages must be used for communication - depending on location. While none of us had spoken French, it was fun to practice the few words we did know, and this experience has left me with the goal of becoming fluent in another language.

Courtney Seamon

Overall, I thought the trip to Canada was successful. In six days, we traveled to five different cities with many stops along the way.

We began by traveling to Niagara and saw the falls from the Canadian side. Niagara was quite a site with all of its tourist activities. The coolest part of Niagara was seeing the mist through all of the streets from the falls. That night we traveled to Toronto and had dinner with one of Dr. Potts' friends. He took us to an Armenian restaurant. This dinner was my favorite part of the trip because not only did I like the food the most this night, but the company and conversation was the best. Learning about business, traveling, cultures, and life was a perfect way to begin our Canadian adventure. 

We drove to Montreal the next day and had another great dinner with great company. We walked around the city for a few hours, saw the church of Notre Dame, and happened to run into an event which tried to form a world record of most people in one place wearing clown noses. 

We made it to Quebec City the next day which was my favorite city we visited. It was so quaint with so much history and passion within the walls. 

We finished our trip by driving to Ottawa the last day. We walked around in Parliament and the city. We had Indian food for dinner and experienced our first beaver tails which is similar to an elephant ear.

All in all, it was a fabulous trip with great company.

Tom Sutherland

We spent Saturday afternoon in Niagara Falls. While there, we viewed the partially frozen falls and ate lunch at Planet Hollywood. We continued to Toronto where we ate an authentic Armenian dinner with a friend of Dr. Potts' from Bulgaria.

Sunday morning we drove to Montreal and walked around the city for most of the afternoon. We saw Notre Dame Basilica, the Old Port, and a cancer fundraiser (known as Néz pour vivre). We met with another one of Dr. Potts' friends and went to see Saint Joseph's Oratory. After, we ate dinner in Chinatown Montreal. 

On Monday we drove to Quebec City. We spent the next day and a half walking around the city and practicing our French. Some of the highlights were seeing the Château Frontenac, the Museum of Civilization, the Fort, Basilica of Notre-Dame de Quebec, the Parliament Building, Laval University, and Old Quebec. 

Wednesday afternoon was spent exploring Ottawa: we saw Chinatown, Little Italy, the Canadian War Museum, the Parliament Building, the Peace Tower, the Supreme Court Building, the Château Laurier, the Rideau Canal, and the By Ward Market. We finished the day with an Indian dinner.

Before this trip I often thought of Canada as "the 51st state"; however, after experiencing the culture firsthand, I have a completely different view on Canada. It was a fantastic experience and I am very grateful for Dr. Potts, Dr. Puia, and everyone else who worked to make this trip possible.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Vlogging from Prague

DAY 5: Magna and Skoda

We had a long and exciting day. We visited two companies, Magna and Skoda. They were both in the auto industry. Magna is an auto parts supplier for BMW, VW, and other European cars. Skoda is a subsidiary of Volkswagen. We walked through the manufacturing facility and were able to watch the robots assemble. It was very interesting to actually see what goes into an assembly line and see all of the things companies do to improve the efficiency of production. 

The Skoda plant was massive and was like a small city! We had a nice tour of the history of the company and how the cars have changed. We then moved to the actual assembly building and watched the car be assembled. Made for a very educational trip with many pointers about how supply change management is done in impressive European companies. (Brendan Tully

DAY 6: Fitness, Antivirus Software, and a cooking class---This is Prague!

To begin the day, we met with Ms. Natalia Folbrycht. Natalia is the Chief Operating Officer for World Class International Fitness, and has also worked with Daymaker, which is a company that seeks to increase customer satisfaction by measuring customer experiences in stores, as well as through phone and online systems. Her experience with Daymaker inspired her to increase customer service quality at the World Class Fitness locations, which is Europe's most comprehensive fitness network. Natalia has not been with World Class for very long, but has already been successful in her implementation of higher quality customer service. Some of our students visited a World Class facility during the stay in Prague and were very satisfied with the customer service, as well as the facility in general.

After the visit with Natalia, our group visited the AVAST headquarters in Prague, where we met with their marketing manager, Mr. Milos Korenko. AVAST is the world leader in the security software industry by offering free, yes free, antivirus software that outperforms the paid-for software offered by their competitors. AVAST can be downloaded in 41 different languages, including Pirate Talk. The word AVAST conveniently means "stop" and the goal of the company is to stop computer viruses.

We ended our day as a group at Cocina Rivero where we cooked a traditional four-course Czech meal together. You can see a video of our experience below! (Heidi Vogel and Charlotte Wong)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Phones, Planes, and Hockey oh my!

DAY 4: T-Mobile and Skyleader

Today we visited T-Mobile. We met with Mrs. Martina Kemrova who is the senior head of corporate communications.

We also visited Skyleader, which is a company that makes lightweight aircraft. We also got to experience taking off and landing a plane with their simulator.

Part of the group went to a KHL hockey game at Tipsport Arena. The other group of us wandered around shops and got to watch a street performer. (Hailey Paruszkiewicz)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Education and Cosmetics

DAY 3: The Civic Institute and Manufaktura

Today we met with the Civic Institute in Prague. We were able to learn more in depth about the economic and political status of the Czech Republic. The Civic Institute provides college aged students with the proper education to promote the ideas and principles necessary for free and stable democratic societies.

We then went to tour the Manufaktura factory. Manufaktura is a popular cosmetics company in the Czech Republic. We gained knowledge of how a small company that was started just 20 years ago has expanded to have locations all around the country and moving into Slovakia. Their products are unique and diverse because they use beer, wine, and other natural ingredients.

We've been having a great time and have recovered from the jetlag quickly. The whole group is looking forward to learning more about how business is done in Prague throughout the rest of the trip! (Emily Korn and Ashley Davis)

Monday, March 3, 2014

12 Hours Later and We're in Prague!

DAY 1: Arrival and Our First Dinner

After 12 long hours of traveling from Michigan to Paris to Prague, the Vitito Fellows arrived. Our first day was spent getting acclimated to our hotel and the immediate area around it. After a short introduction meeting with our colleagues at ISP we were given time to relax and then we were off to our first event, a traditional Czech folklore dinner.

The food and drinks were delicious and seemingly endless and we all got to enjoy music and dancing from our hosts and they even invited some of our students to join them in dancing.

After several hours we were all extremely full and just as tired after adjusting to the time difference and headed back to the hotel to prepare for adventure the next day to the Prague Castle and a scavenger hunt. (Nick Anderson)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fourteen Days with The Fantastic Fourteen

From the Desk of Dr. Misra

I had a fabulous journey to India with fourteen fantastic students! It was the first time many of the students traveled outside of the United States and the first time I led a study abroad group. This trip was part of an international collaborative program where U.S. students get the chance to mingle with Indian students and get involved in various activities including an academic project, cultural programs, traveling and shopping. It was an amazing opportunity for me to watch them grow in an international setting. It definitely takes a lot of courage, motivation and adaptability to take part in this type of program. I enjoyed observing their non-academic activities as well and found some of them to be persevering bargainers, crazy shoppers and inquisitive travelers. Many will not become international travelers after this one trip, but I do know they will be much more prepared for their next international trip should they decide to take one.

Moreover, it was great to meet and get to know a lot of talented Indian students and I can't imagine this program without their intensive help. In addition, this collaborative trip would not be possible for me to conduct without Dr. Yelkur and Dr. Pierce. A special thank you is in order for Rebecca Griffin, whose continuous help made this trip comfortable and enjoyable for all of us. Another thank you to Jaime Leyrer in the College of Business & Management at SVSU for handling the blog while we were away. Congratulations to those students who are graduating this semester and good luck to those who are continuing their education here at SVSU. I would highly encourage all prospective students to participate in at least one study abroad program to complement their education before they graduate. All the best!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Back to the States

DAY 14 : Farewell India

Today was the end of our journey in Incredible India. We started our busy day packing and getting ready to head to SRCC campus for various activities prepared on behalf of the students.

They had a Bollywood dance workshop and a puppet making workshop. They divided us into two groups and we each went to one of the workshops, where some of us danced with SRCC with Smith (a professional dancer and current senior at SRCC) and others made puppets with the help of NGO representatives.

By 2 PM, we had an award ceremony, where we received the program certifications from the principal of SRCC. They also announced group Green as the winner of the presentations done from yesterday. Few of the students performed a short cultural show, which included some dancing and singing. Shinman played the flute and sang; his performance was magnificent. Shortly after, we received our lunches and headed to the traditional dance show, but we didn't get to watch it entirely because we were running late. However, it was very interesting.

We said our goodbyes to all of the amazing people we met during these two weeks in India. We made a great circle of friends, whom we all hope to meet again someday. We headed back to the international guest house, finishing our packing, weighed our bags and got on the bus to the airport.

Dr. Yelkur quizzed us on the way to the airport with some of the historical and cultural facts we learned during this trip. We were all excited to go home. Our group got through security and customs very smoothly and we got on our 14 hour flight to New Jersey. We made it on American soil, and in a few hours we will reach our final destination in Detroit!

A sincere appreciation to our Dean Dr. Yelkur and our professors Dr. Misra and Dr. Pierce. Our trip would not have been successful without their hard work and effort. (Nadine Sleiman)