United States is probably the country with the most stereotypes, and after living here nearly five months I can say that they are almost all proved to be true!
First, the dinner time is very different from the one in France, because you must have eaten before 7:30. For those who finish late classes, they can always go buy their sandwich in one of the cafes on campus.
But it is still very unusual for us, French, to eat that early! Therefore we don’t eat snacks at 5 anymore, but go straight to dinner at 6.
Also, I'm trying to break the American clichés and therefore trying to say that yes, you can eat well, healthy, and varied in the US, unfortunately, this stereotype is what is the truest here.
The quantities of food are really big and sometimes the staff serve you, so you cannot choose the quantity that you think you will eat... And concerning the sodas, they are everywhere and unlimited!
At the university’s cafeteria, we were fortunate to have many choices between the "grill" bar, "salad", "entrees" (main course), "pizza and pasta", "deli" ... The menu is usually quite various, but it is still surprising to see the American students eat only hamburgers every day! That is how you really realize that France is the country of gastronomy and we're not used to eat as fat!
This "culture" of fast food is also transmitted through the time they take to eat in the cafeteria. Even then, they cannot take the time to eat slowly. They do not know the pleasure of going to a coffee and sit for more than an hour talking with friends. Even the drinks are all to go! Moreover, most of the small cafes, do not sometimes have tables (or just one or two), or even restrooms for guests, who are supposed to take their coffee and biscuit away!
Ice water is also served at any time of the year in restaurants, it's pretty impressive to see ice in his glass in the middle of the winter! Also, the culture of tipping is fundamental. The waiters doesn’t have a fixed salary and earn money through customer tips that has to be at least 20%! And a tip of 20% is already included for groups of more than 5 persons.
In supermarkets, prices are always displayed tax-free, which is very disturbing at the beginning! Another different thing from what we have in France is that here, there is always a person to put your bought products in the bags! The price of the cheese and sausage is impressive, so we must wait for the return in France to enjoy it again. There is also very little Nutella in stores, which we are used to eat in France, but they have the Peanut Butter in large quantities! About the products in general, they are all in very large portions! Whether the crisp packets, cookies or other food, everything is several times bigger than that find in France! Finally, the most stressful thing for a foreigner is that we can pay with a credit card without entering the code, only with the signature!
Here you can also buy food in a pharmacy, (CVS pharmacy)! Yes, there is no “pure” pharmacy as we have in France, so you can buy there anything and everything! To make a vaccine, you can also do it in the pharmacy and the staff is qualified enough to do it.
I had the opportunity to do an internship at the Office of International Programs of the university, which helped me to learn a little more about Americans and their way of seeing the world. My main mission was to promote the study abroad programs for a year, a semester, or just the summer. It was a real challenge for me, since for many Americans, it just seemed impossible to go abroad! Europe is an unknown land for them, they are afraid to leave US and do not understand why they should try! This mindset is also transmitted in the way to meet with foreigners. I found that American students were often not very curious and open to other cultures. They stayed between Americans only and didn’t really talk to international students and try to discover their country, which is sad for their open-mindedness, although there are exceptions of course!
But the American positive attitude is also very surprising and contagious! They are very friendly people and always cheerful. In stores, we are always greeted with a "Hello! How’s it going?
The other American aspect, much worse for us is the health cost. Indeed, it is essential here to have a good insurance to "survive" the exorbitant prices of doctors! A simple visit to the doctor costs more than $ 100!
Now about everyday’s life, I also noticed several surprising differences with Europe. The way to count the floors is different: the first floor in the US corresponds to our main floor (RDC). The faucets are turning in the opposite direction compared to France. This is quite disturbing at the beginning, but you soon get used to it.
The flow of cars and pedestrians is also different ... For example, cars can sometimes turn right when the light is red. Cross the road as a pedestrian is not always easy, you must first press the button and wait a moment for the little white guy comes on and then go. And then a stressful countdown shows the time, sometimes only seconds to cross large avenues – and you also have to be careful with cars that can turn right even if the light is red, so green (well, white) for pedestrians.
Well, I think I described everything about American culture and habits which confirmed well mostly all the clichés we have about them.
For my class of consumer behavior, we had to analyze the behavior of candidates for President of United States and show how they influence the behavior of the population and their decisions. My group and I focused on the comparison of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
The year 2016 is going to be a big year for our country regarding politics. As an election year, there is a lot of pressure not only on the candidates, but also on the people of our country to pick the next leader of the United States of America. Of the many candidates, we chose to examine two of the top runners from each political party. Hillary Clinton and especially Donald Trump have been making headlines in the news regarding their campaigns. As we watch them move closer to the election, we see how important it is to listen to what each of them has to say. The importance of this roundtable assignment is to show the different perspectives between the candidates chosen and bring to light the true strategies and efforts being put into their campaigns.
To start, Hillary Clinton is one of the many candidates running for President of the United States in the 2016 presidential election. She is from the Democratic Party and her philosophy, along with her party’s philosophy is American liberalism, modern liberalism and progressivism. She carries years of experience in the political field. She was the First Lady in the years 1993-2001 while her husband Bill was President. She has had firsthand experience not only observing her husband during his time in office but also her own time as the United States Secretary of State during the years 2008-2013 under Barack Obama.
On the other hand, Donald Trump was a very unexpected individual that chose to run for office. Unlike Clinton, Trump has no previous experience in the political world. He is the founder, CEO, and chairman of his corporation The Trump Organization and also Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts. He is famous for not only his “Trump Towers” in New York City, but also for his television show “Apprentice” and more popularly, “Celebrity Apprentice”. He shows a strong running in the presidential candidacy for being so new to the political world. With being worth 10 billion dollars, he is a very powerful man. The country just needs to decide if he’s the one to be our next president.
Selecting the next president is such an important part and privilege for American citizens and it is best that when making this decision, we understand fully what each candidate is all about. But this election has also a big impact on the whole world because of the globalization.
By living here during a semester, I noticed that compared to France, people are really opened regarding to their politic opinions. Here, everyone is sharing its opinion about its favorite candidate, by wearing clothes, buttons or putting sticker on the cars… Finally, I can say that the presidential election is a real show between two parties that can even separate the country into two different sides.
A week after we arrived, New England was already preparing for us a huge experience: the arrival of the snowstorm Jonas that everyone was feared of. Indeed, last year at the same period fell nearly 70 cm of snow and the classes were canceled every Monday for a month due to the too large amount of snow.
In my class of Consumer Behavior, the teacher even asked us to write an assignment about the influence that this storm would have on consumer behavior. As a French I had no idea of the real impact of Jonas on consumption.
So, here is my work where I compared the situation observed in shops of the city and the behavior of people in France.
Weather affects everyone, every day, and influences our behaviors and decisions. Weather conditions affect consumer demand, and the extreme situations winter snow storms can significantly impact on the consumer buying behavior. The weather can even sometimes have a dramatic effect on sales during the winter.
The arrival of the Winter Storm “Jonas” was very unusual for me, because in Lyon (France) where I live, there is never storms. So I didn’t know how to prepare for this new “experience”.
Friday, the day before the storm, I went to the Stop&Shop. There were many people buying everything and there shopping carts were full of food, that they even didn’t need.
Actually the storm doesn’t even need to hit to change customer behavior. Since the announcement of a storm, people rely on their survival instincts when they see a lot of other consumers taking everything off the shelves. So, we observe an effect of imitation: people follow the behavior of other consumers by buying any kind of products, even if it is not a real need.
Then people make impulsive purchases, compared to usual. They make provisions by purchasing all kinds of products (rather food), even what they will never eat, because they are preparing for the worst.
The storm arrived on the weekend, so that had a large impact on the consumer behavior. Indeed, people could not get out walking, shopping, as was perhaps expected. They simply stayed at home.
For people who maybe wanted to still go out or who needed to go to work, it was impossible, because the public transport did not work and even the cars were blocked.
In France, this type of situation (almost) never happens. Consumers have therefore a completely different behavior, and are not used to do provisions like this.
The snow was falling during the whole weekend and everything became very white and beautiful on campus.
It also was very cold, that’s why our mentors gave us “hand warmers” to survive this cold. They had even offered it to us the first day that we arrived, to show us that I will be very cold!!
During the storm no one dared to leave home to even eat at the cafeteria. It was then time to order at the pizzeria, Chinese restaurant and other places to stay warm and safe at home and still eat.
Finally this experience of the storm allowed me to discover beautiful landscapes of Newport under the snow, because we still had snow many times, so the last time was in March!
I mainly chose marketing courses for this semester, because I am more and more interested in this area and I wanted to find out if these courses are very different in the US. So I took classes of Consumer Behavior, Principles of Marketing, Business Research and Management.
The management course is a basic course, which resume some notions seen in the first year at ESDES. The course of marketing also includes what we learned in the 1st and 2nd year in France but with a better deepening. In this course we will also have to create a new product for a company like what we did in the 3rd semester of ESDES for the company Lustucru. In Business Research, we learn the basics of investigation and research in marketing. Throughout the semester we will conduct a market study for a local company, as we also did in the first year in Lyon. I will, for example, work for a tourist guide in Newport by doing a survey for seniors to see if they would be interested in the different offered tours. Finally the course of Consumer Behavior is for me the most interesting. We really study how people behave and their motives. This course make me question and reflect on my own personality. This is more a course related to psychology and so much more "personal" than others.
Now, the courses themselves are quite different from those in France. Here, students can get up and get out of class to go to the bathroom at any time, without even telling it to the teacher, and even during an exam. Late students are still accepted, time is not so controlled, but the students are still respectful. Most courses last 1:15, but often the teachers let us out early if the day's program is done. Finally the teachers are very organized. Each establishes at the beginning of the semester a schedule to follow, with the program for each day. So all the students know in advance the homework for each course and what will be done during the class. The teachers are also highly qualified and have studied in very prestigious universities as the Yale University.
For most of the courses, reading the book is part of the daily homework besides other written work. Thus, during the class, students may sometimes feel like wasting time, because the teacher re-explains the chapters, all the important notions and complete with practical exercises. But finally, I think that I prefer the American system than the French one, as students look more involved in the class, as they have already read and thus more or less learned the chapter that will be treated in class, but in a different way.
I also found an internship on campus in the office of international programs. I am responsible for the promotion of studying abroad as an exchange student myself. My mission is to tabling with brochures, posting information on social networks and to inform, reassure and inspire students to study abroad through my own experience and my tips.
Living on an American campus is almost like in the movies: everything is done for students and it's like a small city.
Every student can practice any sport he wants, early in the morning or late in the evening.
Everyone spends time in the library or in cafes studying.
The library is even open 24/24h during the week of final exams. I find that it is still different from the studies in France. French students do not have this “habit” to stay and work at the library until late at night every day. They do that only for the final exams. Whereas here everything is based on continual assessment and exams are only 15 or 20% of the final mark!
Students also have many places where they can relax, spend time playing pool between classes...
On campus, any problem is supported by the omnipresent campus’ security and when it snows, they clear it.
Living on campus is a real experience! It’s to benefit from the good atmosphere in the “houses”, have access to a great gym, a cafeteria with lots of choice (locals are however complaining about the lack of variety), a Starbucks, all doctors and even a university shuttle running after 8 p.m., when the city bus stops circulating.
Everything is here, within a few hundred meters.
Finally, as on any American campus sports teams are one of the main "attraction". Students choose the university mostly for the beauty of the campus or for its sports teams. Athletes are also very recognizable on campus because they never leave their caps, even in class or at the cafeteria!
At Salve, the campus is unique: students live in historic homes, which include several rooms.
The city of Newport is also very beautiful and original in its way, because there is no other place with this type of architecture, even small shops have a particular style.
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