Strasbourg, Week 1: Trains, Football, Castles, And Wine

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For four weeks this summer, I get to study international business, European integration, and French at the Ecole de Management Strasbourg located in the picturesque city of Strasbourg, France. I've been here for a week so far; here's a bit of what's been going on:

For the three weeks prior to this program, I've been studying art with students and professors from the Herron School of Art and Design, so I came to Strasbourg from Vienna rather than Indianapolis. I took an overnight train and in spite of a strike by French rail workers, a two hour delay, and a 5-minute dash to change trains in Munich, I made it to Strasbourg (nearly) on schedule and ended a long day of travel with this beautiful view from the window of my apartment.

I spent my first weekend here getting to know the other students before we started classes. This program is truly international! There are students here from all over the world: Austria, China, Russia, Czech Republic, South Africa, Mexico, Columbia, Argentina, Zimbabwe, Ecuador, Indonesia, etc. One thing many of them have in common is a love of football — conveniently, the World Cup is happening right now, so there's a group going out to catch a game almost every night. I've certainly watched much more of the World Cup this year than I normally would have.

After an orientation day on Sunday, classes began on Monday and ran all week. Our European Integration class began with a history of this process, culminating with the creation of the EU; Business In Europe kicked off with a unit on International Human Resource Management, focusing on organizational culture. (I had quite the advantage, having just finished Dr. Plaskoff's BUS-Z 302 course this past spring.)

On Friday, instead of a normal class schedule, we began our day with a tour of the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle – a 900-year-old structure on the French-German border. It's built on Stophanberch Mountain, and we were rewarded with a great view of the valley once we had climbed to the castle's highest point.

After descending, we visited Louis Sipp Winery for a tour and wine-tasting session. The winery has been family-run for five generations and produces organically grown white wines. The region of Alsace is known for its Reislings; we tasted two in addition to several other varieties of white wine.

It has been a wonderful first week in France, and I'm looking forward to three more. À la semaine prochaine! (Until next week!)