Tag Archives: Paris

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Finding Inspiration at France 24

I’ve enjoyed several of the professional visits with Forum-Nexus, so it is difficult to choose an absolute favorite. For various reasons that I’ll explain, my favorite visit was to France 24. France 24 is an international news corporation that broadcasts in several languages and mediums, including both the Western and Eastern spheres. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect going into the visit, but I emerged feeling more enlightened and purposeful about my studies and my work than I had before. As for my own backstory, I graduated from Creighton University last year with English and journalism degrees; additionally, the entirety of my past work experience has been within marketing, communications, and editorial internships, so it was fascinating to witness in person how a major newsroom operates, as well as learn the various facets of the company.

Soft Edit WM-IMG_9722France 24’s initial presentation was relevant not only to my general interests but also to my experience within the journalism field and my journalism classes during undergrad. France 24’s multilingual, multicultural approach was especially interesting to me, and I found myself asking our guide by the end of the tour what would hypothetically give a new applicant an edge over other candidates. As the tour went on, I could easily envision myself working in that environment, which excited me—that is, as long as I learned to fluently speak French beyond the very little I currently know. While economics and business are interesting to me as an outside perspective, France 24 was one professional visit that directly applied to my own experiences and aspirations. Furthermore, our tour guide was kind, thorough, and informative, walking us through the various elements of the company within several departments and levels. We got to peek into rooms with control panels as well as some of the informational centers in which story assignments go out. It was intriguing to see the endless elements that go into producing reliable new content, whether that be from technical, editorial, or communicational angles. The experience overall was a neat convergence of broadcast, technological, and editorial efforts.

I think I was mostly taken aback by the company’s immensity and complexity in its operations. Other than the tiny newsroom for my university paper, I’ve never seen the workings of a newsroom firsthand, so the tour and presentation definitely expanded my interest in some of the present functions of journalism, as well as its current and future trajectory. Journalism and communications are rapidly metamorphosing fields, requiring consistent functional alteration within companies and businesses. It was interesting to see France 24’s means of keeping pace with ever-changing communication mediums—as well as their means of connecting to various audiences across various countries, within rural or urban areas.

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As for my personal experience, I’ve worked pretty much unilaterally toward my Masters in English for the last year, prompting me to neglect some of my journalistic work and interests. France 24 reignited my passion for journalism, and acutely reminded me why I studied and worked in the field in the first place; I found myself considering several times throughout the professional visit the various post-graduate jobs and careers I could pursue within journalism or communications. As I previously mentioned, France 24’s dialectical multiplicity was a key point of interest, as well as their current endeavors to expand that international presence. Ultimately, I would like to work in a company similar to France 24 at some point in the near future, even if only for a little while—even if only for the rush and experience of it all.

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Courtesy of Claire M.

By:  Claire M., Forum-Nexus 2017 Alumna

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A Weekend in Paris

While every city that we visited this month was incredible in its own way, my favorite city was Paris, France. My best friend Julia and I decided at the last minute to book a weekend trip to this magical city with a group of students who we had met the week before. To start, it was so wonderful to meet so many amazing students who quickly convinced us that the Paris weekend trip was a must. Soon after, we had our flights booked as well as a (surprisingly cheap) hotel room in a historic Parisian hotel.

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Photo courtesy of Allie M.

Following Friday class in Chamonix, our group piled into a van and made the trek from Chamonix to the Geneva airport in Switzerland. After an easy one hour flight from Geneva we arrived in the beautiful city of Paris, and it is safe to say that it was love at first sight. Further, my first impression of Paris was pure awe. As an iconic location that I have seen in pictures and movies for my entire life, it was truly a dream to be standing in the middle of it all. I soon realized that Paris is by no means overrated, but rather upholds a beauty and romance that cannot be portrayed in pictures or even described in words. More specifically, when walking through the streets, almost every building holds its own history, with monuments left and right. I also found that, in general, the city felt very clean, safe, and romantic. In addition to seeing many of the most famous monuments including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Tuileries, I enjoyed some of the best meals of my life! For two and a half days I maintained a steady diet of croissants, macaroons, steak and frites, baguettes, cheese, and of course, the occasional French wine pairing. Specifically, our typical French breakfast at the world-famous Laduree was one of the best meals of the trip!

To add to this wonderful experience, Julia and I met up with our friend from our university at home who was studying abroad in Paris for a whole year. This was a great touch to our perfect weekend as we had our own personal tour guide to bring us to locations not frequented by tourists. This part of our trip really helped us get the flavor of the city through the eye of a local while seeing as much as we could in a short period of time.

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Photo courtesy of Allie M.

In this experience, I was pleasantly surprised to break some common stereotypes or misconceptions about the city. More specifically, while many warned me that Parisians dislike Americans and can be very rude, my experience actually proved the opposite. In my short trip, I met many friendly locals who were more than welcoming and willing to give recommendations and or directions.

Overall, my weekend in Paris was a wonderful experience that I would recommend to anyone taking this program in the future. In one short weekend I would recommend a picnic at the Eiffel Tower (with meats and cheeses from a local market), a walk through the Louvre, walking around the beautiful streets of Champs Elysee, taking a boat tour on the Seine river, and finally getting lost in the indescribable city with new friends!

By:  Alexandra M., Forum-Nexus 2016 Alumna

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Photo courtesy of Allie M.

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Destination 4: This is Paris!

Next, we’re sharing all about the fourth destination on the Forum Europe Summer 2017 itinerary and one of the most iconic cities in Europe… 12045794_10153086113137633_1622570489038539032_o

There’s a reason why Paris, France is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world; it’s everything good you’ve ever heard and more. Paris is the pulsing heart of French culture, politics, and business. The architecture, beauty, food, and glitz effortlessly captures the admiration of each visitor. To say the least, a real European excursion isn’t complete without a stop in the city of love.

So what’s a week in Paris like with Forum-Nexus? Read past accounts from our own alumni.

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Paris can cater to the desires of any traveler; there’s great shopping, art, museums, attractions, nightlife, food, and activities. While staying in the city of love, students will be able to stroll along the Seine river, visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, say hello to Mona Lisa at the Louvre, and snap a picture of the Eiffel Tower, of course! Paris is home to several influential companies and international organizations, as well. Students will have the opportunity to participate in professional visits to places such as Le Cordon Bleu, OECD, and UNESCO. And don’t forget about classes, which will be held on the campus of the American Business School in Paris. On the weekend, students can participate in an optional Forum-Nexus day trip to the famous castles of the Loire Valley, or take an independent excursion to Amsterdam or London.

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Follow along on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more about this beloved city and our Summer 2017 program.

Like they say, Paris is always a good idea!

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An afternoon at the OECD

It’s hard to choose a favorite professional visit from my time with Forum-Nexus because they were all amazing and I learned a lot from each visits. I found them all to be extremely useful to my education. However since I can only choose one I will say that the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) visits was my favorite due to the fact that I am a business major and I am interested in politics.

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The OECD taught me a lot about how the European Union (EU) government policies are implemented. I learned that the OECD plays a big role in the EU, ensuring that governments do not pass policies or rules that can potentially be harmful to the citizens of their  nations. I learned that the OECD receives its funding through the members of the EU, and that they contribute according to their country’s GDP. I also learned that the OECD has placed mechanisms throughout the European Union that monitor behavior of government officials to ensure that the amount of corruption is reduced significantly or is absent. At the OECD visit we listened to multiple representatives give us their input on the current EU situation. I learned from them that Germany has a big influence on the EU commission because they are the largest contributors to them monetarily. I also learned that the United States of America has a big influence on the international monetary fund also known as the IMF. The OECD works with both the IMF and the EU commission to implement healthy government policies in the European Union countries.

Before coming to this professional visit to the OECD I knew nothing about it nor had I ever heard of it before. I think this is largely due to the fact that I am from the United States and we don’t really focus on what is happening in the EU because there is a lot happening in the states; however I am so glad that I was given this opportunity to learn about it because now I am able to understand government policy and economics on a global scale.

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My visit to the OECD relates to my major in that all of the knowledge I have gained from this professional visit along with all of the other visits can be applied to my global business thinking. I would recommend any business major to take this opportunity to study abroad with Forum-Nexus due to the fact that they take you to professional visits that are extremely good for developing a global business mindset. After visiting the OECD I am motivated to do more research on this organization and understand more about the European Union.

By: John Kassab, 2015 Forum-Nexus alumni

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Bon appetit from Le Cordon Bleu!

You know when you walk into a restaurant and something smells amazing, but you can’t quite put your finger on what it is? All you know is that all of a sudden, you are incredibly hungry. Well, that is exactly the feeling I had when walking inside Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School. Of course, I would expect nothing less walking into the most famous cooking school in the world.

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It was our third day in France, and I had already experienced some of the best cuisine of my life. After all, one of the best parts of traveling is getting to try a lot of food every day! No one can argue that France isn’t one of the most well-known places to get a great meal. Crepes, croissants, baguettes, escargot, chocolate mousse — the list goes on and on! Now, I have always been a rather picky eater. When I was young, I had Kraft macaroni and cheese just about every day because it was all my mother could get me to eat. Nowadays, I still love my mac and cheese, but I have broadened my diet to pasta, chicken, red meat, chocolate, and ice cream. Not the healthiest, I’ll admit. When I walked into Le Cordon Bleu, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t like what they made for us. We were going to watch a cooking demonstration of a Mediterranean dish, which to me meant one thing…vegetables. You see, veggies and I have never gotten along very well, so I knew I was in for an interesting experience. However, the first whiff of those vegetables sizzling in the skillet had me changing my mind. The vibrant colors and fresh scents were enough to make anyone’s mouth water. I watched the chef effortlessly toss the ingredients into the air, while adding a pinch of salt here and a dash of pepper there, and it was one of the most impressive things I had ever seen. Some people have a knack for cooking, but I am not one of them. Everything that I touch in a kitchen either ends up burning or on the ground. The chef taught us some valuable lessons about cooking that evening, which gave me hope that my future family may be able to eat more than grilled cheese and warmed up chicken tenders!

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Still, my favorite part of the evening was yet to come. One of my personal goals in life is to learn as much about wine as humanly possible. I find it to be a fascinating subject, and to my delight, a wine connoisseur came out to help us pair the perfect wine with our Mediterranean dish. He put a lot of thought into his choice, and he took the time to explain to us why he chose exactly what he did. He chose a white wine over a red because our food was lighter with more fresh flavors. Normally, I am a dry red wine kind of girl, but I surprisingly loved this white wine! After  the chef completed his crafting of the samples, everyone was given a small portion to test. Every piece looked like a masterpiece. The chef took great pride in making sure that all the food was presented in a way that made the clients hungry with their eyes as well as with their stomachs. I sipped my wine to cleanse my palette and took a bite of the chef’s creation. The pesto sauce complimented the veggies and cheese mixture perfectly, and as soon as it was gone, I was craving more. The chef beamed from ear to ear as he watched us enjoy our food, and you could see the passion for cooking in his eyes.

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I enjoyed every second of our professional visit to Le Cordon Bleu. I even considered applying to their wine program in the coming years! Overall, it helped me learn to broaden my horizons and try new things, even if I am skeptical in the beginning. Thanks to this visit, I am now determined to keep trying new foods and eventually expand my diet! Paris is commonly called ‘The City of Love,’ but in my mind, it will always be ‘The City of Amazing Food!’

By: Kristi Yazvac, 2015 Forum-Nexus alumna

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Paris is always a good idea…and time

Before I began my journey with Forum­-Nexus, I had a feeling that Paris would be my favorite city. It sure did not disappoint; I fell in love with Paris! Exiting the train station on the bus ride to the Eiffel Tour, I got my first glimpse of the city. The French/Victorian style architecture is something that I had never really seen before. Sometimes you just do not realize how young America is as a countryin terms of architecture, and though I have traveled some within the United States, growing up in South Dakota doesn’t exactly make me architecturally cultured or cultured in general.

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Though I had a good feeling about Paris, I was a little nervous because many people say that it is a dirty city and that the people are very rude. Sure Paris had some trash on the street, but I did not think that it was that bad. . In terms of the people, I maybe came across one rude person. I found that as long as you greeted them in French and asked if they spoke English, they were willing to help you with directions or whatever you needed. Maybe I just coincidentally talked to the right people. Whatever the case may be, I was very impressed. You could maybe even say that I was inspired. I have a friend back home who is from France, and I am going to see if he will teach me some more intensive French.

One of my favorite things about Paris was, of course, the shopping. The first evening, we went over to the Champs Elysees area by the Arc de Triomph. Though the shops were mostly all closed, I saw the Louis Vuitton flagship store. I knew that I had to come back and get my very first designer handbag. I did indeed come back to the store and was pampered for about an hour until I finally picked out and purchased the bag that I wanted. Though it may sound a bit superficial, this is a dream that I have had, and I am so glad that it could come true.

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Other highlights from Paris include the Moulin Rouge, seeing the Eiffel Tower at sunset and sparkle after dark, the Love Lock Bridge, the Palace at Versailles, and strolling through the streets with no agenda other than looking at the boutiques and shops.

The food in Paris definitely lived up to expectations. From street crepes and croissants to macaroons to onion soup, I tried it all and loved every bit of it. The famous Laduree Macaroon shop not only had the best macaroons that I have ever had, but also the best espresso that I have tasted, and I have tasted a lot of espresso!

In Paris, I learned about the rich history and culture of the French, but more importantly, I learned this: life is about the chances you take—yes you have heard it a million times, but it is true! You may not always have a plan, and even if you do have a plan it doesn’t always work, but you just have to have a little faith and take a chance. I was really inspired by our host from OECD, Andrew. Coming from a Midwestern town in Indiana, Andrew thought he had a job in Paris though when he got there it turned out he didn’t get the job. He stayed, however, an even better opportunity came along, and he has lived there ever since. Some might not see that as very inspiring. But for me coming from a small South Dakota town of less than 800 people, where most kids go off to the state university and come back to take over their family farm or follow in the footsteps of their parents, this is inspiring. This is what life is about. Not being afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, take a risk, start an adventure. That is what Paris taught me and I will forever be grateful. Thank you Paris. Until next time!

By: Samantha Knecht, 2015 Forum-Nexus alumna

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Behind the scenes at RATP

On our second full day in Paris, some of us had the opportunity to visit RATP (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens – English: Autonomous Operator of Parisian Transports), the headquarters for the metro system in Paris.

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While of course most well-known for their operation of the Paris metro, RATP also works on buses, trams, rapid transit, and inter-city rail services all over the world, spanning over every continent except for Australia and Antarctica. In the U.S., they manage Open Loop New York (hop on hop off tours), Sun Link in Arizona, McDonald Transit Associates which includes Washington D.C. and Austin, and the Fullington Auto Bus Company in the northeast.

The buildings for the headquarters was pretty neat! Out front, they had an old Metropolitan sign that used to mark the metro stops around Paris (and some can still be seen around town today!). Inside, they had a huge fountain with a sand map of Paris. They also had a variety of old train carts, showcasing some metro history.

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The presentation for RATP was incredibly interesting. They gave us free DVDs with a movie about the metro which was cool!

At this visit we not only learned more about the RATP’s involvement in different transit systems across the world, but we also learned about new technology being implemented in the trains. There are some driverless lines being added to Paris, and the conductors of those trains can choose to either work on a different line, or work at the headquarters managing the trains from a computer. Many lines are getting new barriers to prevent people from falling onto the tracks, increasing safety of the metro. A lot of the trains are also getting video cameras in the cars, so if there is an emergency and a person presses a button, they would be able to video chat with an actual operator who can see the situation and help out.

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Especially since we used the metro so much in Paris, it was great being able to see the inner workings of the headquarters. I was able to point out so many random metro facts afterwards, and it was really cool knowing the technology behind the scenes of the transportation network. I am glad I got the opportunity to go on the RATP visit, and would highly recommend it!

 By: 2015 Forum-Nexus alumna, J. Michelle Abuda