S: A Scrapbook By Sahil Jhangiani
FC: Paris/ Munich Summer 2012
1: A delicious ham and cheese crepe. It was very salty and the cheese had a stronger taste than the ham. The ham was cut really thinly and the whole crepe was very crispy. Everyone who tried it, seemed to love it. I got the crepe because crepes are what France is known for. There is even a whole day dedicated to crepes called Avec Crepe Day.
2: During the business meetings in both Paris and Munich, I was constantly surprised by how supportive the government is of entrepreneurs and small businesses. I also observed that most of the entrepreneurs focused more on having quality products instead of just focusing on how much they can make. They are willing to put in the time and effort that it takes to create a product that will greatly benefit others.
3: An example of this is the engineer that was doing work with the Carlyle Group. He worked to create a cooling coil that had a positive impact on the environment and saved people money. He was a designer who hand-crafted a product versus a businessman who was peddling a sub par item. There were some differences between the business culture in Paris and Munich. Munich and the US were similar in the fact that everything was really formal. Everybody dressed well and used more formal language, while in Paris everything was more laid back and informal. The presenters didn't dress formally and everybody was running late and it was considered acceptable. In the US that is only permissible on occasion. While in Munich you had to arrive early or you were considered late. In Munich during the presentations, the presenters expected to ask and to receive numerous more questions than the Parisians. One of presenters even looked a little offended when we didn't ask a lot of questions.
4: Being able to go around on the free day was great. We had originally planned to go to Versailles, but everyone was just too exhausted to make the trek. So, we went to the Musee d'Orsay. This was a great idea on our part. The museum was excellent. There were great pieces of art there from Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Sisley.
5: Walking around Paris was so much fun. I've always loved the city and was convinced that I would to live there at some point in my life. There were some really interesting differences in culture in Paris compared to the US. First, people get really angry when people are loud. We know this first hand, having been yelled at multiple times to be quiet. I also noticed that people tend to get very impatient. When I was getting my bags at the airport you had people pushing and cursing at these little kids who were trying to get their bags. I am pretty sure these were Parisians because they spoke in French and seemed to know where they were going. These doesn't necessarily mean much, but I think I'll stick with that assumption.
6: McDonalds- the American food icon. Once we saw one in Paris, we had to go. I much preferred the French version of McDonalds to the US's. | Nicknamed McDo- the French nickname for Micky D's differed mainly in its setup. There were multiple stations for food, quick order stations and overall the facility was a lot nicer than the ones at home. | The food choices were mostly the same. With hamburgers and fries, but there were a couple regional items. Such as the McBaguette- which I ordered and pleasantly surprised with.
9: The Place Du Tertre in Paris was extremely interesting from a business perspective. It's a place where artists come, paint and sell their work. Alongside them you have fresh produce, people selling jewelry and other small items. Back in the States there are farmer's markets and flea markets, but you rarely see something that combines art, food and other small items. Something like this wouldn't be able to work in the US. It would be impossible to find that many vendors willing to work together in such a small area while still competing with each other. That and the demand for the artwork just wouldn't be high enough. I know that the Place isn't necessarily one single business, but I find that the people who work tend to be so similar that they can be interchangeable.
10: On our day off we went to visit the Neuschwanstein castle. This is the castle that Walt Disney based the Cinderella castle on. | Sadly, the castle was under repairs so we didn't get a chance to see the main view. However, the view that day definitely made up for it. My favorite part of our trip there was the train ride home. Being able to see the Alps that close up was something I have never experienced before. It was beautiful. I definitely want to go back and climb a mountain in that area.
13: The Kinder Surprise- only one of the best desserts that are illegal in the US. I have only heard of these delicacies before the trip and made it my goal to try them before the end. I picked a couple up for the dessert challenge. Unfortunately, a few of the other people on the trip got to try them. The ones that were able to though, loved it as much as I did.
14: How do you feel about the German Economy? -I was worried about the rest of Europe at first, but now I've seen that we should be fine. Germany's biggest competitive advantage? -German work ethic. Still think the Euro is a good idea? -Yes. | Petra- age ~25. With friends who were visiting her from the UK.
15: Katrin- age ~21 With family visiting from the US. | How do you feel about the German Economy? -Never have been worried and never will be. Germany is a strong country and we will be fine. Germany's biggest competitive advantage? -German engineering and our way of separating work and pleasure. Still think the Euro is a good idea? -Never thought it was a bad one.
16: Diana- age ~ 28. Works as a nurse. How do you feel about the German Economy? -From what I've experienced here in Munich, we are doing fine. As is the rest of the country, but I really feel that we should stop helping other nations. Germany's biggest competitive advantage? -The fact that Munich is one of the biggest tech centers of the world. Still think the Euro is a good idea? -I go back and forth about it. It really depends on the day.
17: Julia- age ~ 32 and Lena- age ~22. How do you feel about the German Economy? -At least we are doing better than the rest of the world Germany's biggest competitive advantage? -Our inability to accept anything less than what we want. Still think the Euro is a good idea? -Sure.
18: Yvonne- age ~ 24. | How do you feel about the German Economy? -We haven't really been hit that hard by the global recession. So I think we will recover from the couple small set backs here and there. Germany's biggest competitive advantage? -Our beer... And how we do business. Still think the Euro is a good idea? -Yep.
21: MTZ Muenchen had to have been my favorite part of the trip. The center fostered an environment that was perfect for entrepreneurs that were just starting to bring their product to the marketplace. Everything the new business could need was supplied. The facilities were top of the line, the building was green and it was cheap for the small business owners. The owners had access to conference rooms, WiFi, server rooms, kitchens and could receive any advising services that they could every need. Also, since there were so many of them working in the same area- collaboration became a common occurrence. I feel that this is how progress is truly made, by people working in different fields together on joint projects. This is exactly something I would love to bring back to the US. The US used to be one of the best places for entrepreneurism, but over the past couple of years other countries have come to surpass us in this sense. I want to bring something like this to the US. It will be tough since there isn't much government assistance for these kind of programs, but some states such as California might be more susceptible to providing sufficient aid.
23: We met this one girl. She was a bar tender at a place we decided to visit on the third night. Her name was Nina and she was our age. She had moved to Paris from LA. She had gotten sick of the US and wanted to move to Europe. She was there modeling, working at a fashion magazine and at the bar. I will admit, she was gorgeous and that is part of why she is one of the people that I find the most remarkable. However, through talking to her I realized that I am definitely moving out of the US when I graduate. She kept talking about how at first she was really hesitant to leave and in fact a little afraid. However, once she had gotten there- she realized that it was the best decision of her life. Something else that really struck me about her was her dedication to her modeling. Modeling is a tough field to get in to and it can be very tough to make money, while keeping some class to your name. I have been struggling between continuing with music hardcore or going into investing. She showed me that it is really possible to do both. I know that modeling can't really be compared to the time commitment that goes into music, but its the same concept. If you really love doing something you should do it. She was able to live very comfortably while still pursuing her modeling career and she was actually making headway. She looked at life in a very relaxed, yet determined manner. I have not been able to perceive life in the same manner. Through and I talking on Facebook, I have been able to learn about how she looks at things. As a result, I feel that I have definitely grown a lot as a person and now feel that I will be able to create a perfect balance between what I love and what I have to do to survive and be able to provide for my family in the future.