First Week of Classes

The first day of the new school year has come and gone. We started with a business game and then moved on to HR seminars. And much to my excitement (what can I say? My geek flag flies high) this week marks the first week of our actual courses.

Monday morning started out with back-to-back “english” classes. The first being test prep for the TOEIC. THis is the international standard for measuring English language capabilities and understanding. Luckily, I have been excused from this class. I don’t actually have to take the English test. But I still had to show up to speak with the professor.

This was shortly followed by “Business English,” what is in actuality, a communications class. I think this might turn out to be one of my favorite classes for the year. Our instructor is a lovely drill sergeant from New Zealand. I already know she is going to keep me on my toes.

And to round out the afternoon – an excel instructional class … in, yup you guessed it, French. I like to think I am a fairly technologically savvy and that my French is fairly proficient. But I have to confess I spent most of the afternoon just trying to understand what was going on. Not that I didn’t understand the excel exercises but that I was struggling to keep up with the professor’s step-by-step instructions. (Is this how my fellow French classmates feel when they are trying to keep up with English lectures? Or do my language skills really just need that much work?)

Needless to say it made for a long afternoon. Rounded out by yet another presentation in French – this time about finding internships and understanding the procedures and laws governing these student/business relationships. Apparently in France the length of your internship is limited by the law. Of course there are ways to get around this law (can you say final exams and a two week “revision”) but none-the-less it is actually monitored and regulated. As is the pay rate. The French actually like their students and want to keep them from being turned into free slave labor for the greedy capitalists. Who knew?

Tuesday was awesome! Despite the fact that it was comprised entirely of two 3-hour lectures. The morning started with a very interesting breakdown of the Bordeaux wine distribution system. All I can say is I have no idea how Bordeaux managed to become the most famous wine producing region in the world. It’s a miracle any of the wine gets sold at all – let alone achieves international fame. But it was a great oversight into the system – and filled with lots of great advice – particularly as I will shortly start my internship within that same system.

In the afternoon I had what I think will be my favorite class of the year – Corporate Strategy. Sounds a little boring. But my prof is amazing. He has an awesome background, is a total hard-ass and is going to torture us all with the Socratic method.  I can’t wait. I was 100% engaged in the class this afternoon and am already learning a ton. It’s going to be a tough but engaging, interesting and informative year. I’m looking forward to the next session next week. (And yes I’m aware the geek flag is flying even higher now.)

Today was another set of 2 three-hour lectures. International Marketing and Accounting. International Marketing was an interesting look at traditional marketing strategies including the 4 Ps and SWOT. And accounting was… well accounting. I didn’t exactly enjoy the class the first time I took it but this time I actually understood things. And after class let out early I had a lovely discussion with my professor about international educational standards that evolved into a discussion on politics (local, national and international) and healthcare. (Yes, yes again with the flag.)

All I can say is while it was an interesting week, I’m a little tired. It’s been an adjustment trying to get back into good academic patterns and figure out how best to organize myself. Now, I’m off to have a little dinner before I face a new first: my first day at my new internship. I’m looking forward to getting up at 5:45 and facing the hour plus trek to the office. Keeping my fingers crossed I don’t get lost, all goes well and it’s a good fit.

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