Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Where next?

I can't say enough great things about BCN. It's young, hip, fun, modern, stylish, sexy and clean. I'm so glad that I didn't visit earlier. I would've been easily seduced and tempted to do an exchange program at IESE or ESADE. Instead I opted to attend a school outside of Europe.

I must confess that, at first, I was vying for a spot at a top U.S. school to get a taste of the American experience - great people, amazing campus life, top notch facilities and strong ties with the corporate world. But after considerable thought, I decided to apply to a school in a non-English speaking country. The exchange program is after all an opportunity to live in and adapt to a different environment.

I had to withdraw my first pick, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, due to the timing. Classes start in January with a summer break in February and then resume from March to June. My main concern was coming back to Europe in the summer looking for work (in case I don't find a job before I leave on exchange) as July and August are not ideal months for job hunting in Europe. In fact some companies in France shut down in August.

In the end, I will be wrapping my MBA in the winter term in Tokyo at Keio University. I now have four months to learn some Japanese and appreciate raw fish.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Summer vacation

Like many of my classmates of the January intake (those who started in January), I am not doing a summer internship. Since the first half of the program ended in mid-July, working for two months in Europe with many people on vacation is not an interesting experience. Instead, I'm in Barcelona for two weeks and am staying at an amazing place near Sagrada Famila.

Since the place is new, I wasn't able to find any reviews on it. The lower price (63 euros per night) and the pictures were enticing enough to try it out for 3 nights. After walking into the apartment, I realized that it was a steal. The apt is 70 square meters with two bedrooms, two balconies, a spacious living room, a kitchen, and air conditioning (woohoo!). Right away, I went back to the guy at the reception and managed, with my little knowledge of Catalan, to extend my stay until the 16th. (I actually understood everything he said until he mentioned m'entens.. which as I found later meant do you understand)

Since I put all my money in accomodation, I'm debating whether I should take Spanish classes and hang out with foreigners all the time. For now, I've joined Dir, a cool gym near Plaça de Catalunya, with the hope of meeting locals.