Day 1: Touchdown in France

“Prepare for landing” was the last thing I heard before we touched down in our first stop on our European tour. Landing and being in Paris, France today was an exciting opportunity that I have never had before. Our stay in Paris was shortlived, as we headed out on a train bound for Nancy, France and ICN Business School. It’s only the first day of our trip, but the enthusiasm, expectations, and eagerness are at all time high. Even through the jetlag, we are all ready to start experiencing the culture, people, and looking forwad to finding out how the French people are making the positive change they want to see in the world.

 

ICN Business School

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The main city square in Nancy, where ICN Business School is located.   

Our courses at ICN Business School in Nancy brought a cross-cultural dimension to the material we have been studying so far. We had three lectures and a case study while we were at the school. The topics we discussed were management control for CSR, differences in ethics between the USA and France and cross-cultural communication.  Each topic was tied back to sustainability and the differences between how each culture views the role and importance of it for business. For example, in France, companies that are not publically traded (and have sales or assets of more 100 million Euros) are expected by law to communicate social and environmental results, although there is no penalty for failing to report.  It was interesting to learn about how sustainability is viewed around the world and what cultural differences impact these perceptions. Each country is influenced by past events that, at the surface, may not appear to relate directly to sustainability. For example, Americans are more willing to take risks than the French due to the colonial mindset of our founders.  Also, Americans tend to be action oriented whereas the French tend to spend more time discussing than doing.

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Caitlin discusses how ethics and sustainability are connected during class at ICN Business School.

Visit to European Parliament

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We had the amazing opportunity to spend a morning at the European Union Parliament in Strasbourg, France. We were lucky enough to visit when 16-17 year old students from all of the Europe Union countries were there, and we were able to sit in on part of their session. Students had the chance to ask EU official’s questions about current events affecting their countries. The high school students were especially curious about the situation in the Ukraine, how the EU plans to increase participation in elections and if the EU plans to develop as a military power as well as an economic superpower.  When one student asked about what the EU was going to do help Greece, a panel member listed all the ways that the EU had already helped and suggested that Greece was to blame for their economic crisis and had challenges to address on their own.

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Outside the EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

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Inside the European Union Parliament chamber.