Flying Internationally/Arrival in London
Today was my first international flight traveling overseas. I’ve previously flown to Freeport Bahamas, which is only 65 miles away from the coast of Florida. It’s also still in the east coast time zone.
I experienced extreme jet lag today as we arrived in London, United Kingdom. The first flight was from Pittsburgh to Paris where we had a very short layover and barely enough time to catch the next flight. From there we flew to London. I tried my hardest to stay up before departing so that it would be easy to sleep during the flight. However that did not work distracted by noise on the plane and satellite movie entertainment resulted in me only being able to sleep for a total of 3 hours.
Sunday morning we arrived in Paris on Mother’s Day and from there we had to quickly get to the other side of the airport to catch our next flight. While walking around the Paris Airport Charles de Gaulle I noticed the many clothing stores that was there like Gucci, Prada, and Givenchy. I did not find this surprising since Paris is considered one of the fashion capitals of the world.
Once we boarded our plane to London it was announced by the Pilot that our flight was delayed due to weather. The delay resulted into being late to our city tour of London. After we arrived in London our tour manager Vincent Lauferon who was accompanied by Janet who was a local tour guide greeted us. Janet was with us for about an hour and a half as we rode a bus throughout Westminster and Central London where she gave us a lot of information about the city.
After the city tour Vincent guided us to the Tower of London, where there was a lot of history about London and the Monarchy government. After seeing the different exhibitions at the Tower of London, we finally made it to the Hotel and still didn’t have enough time to sleep because a few hours later we had to prepare for our neighborhood walk and group dinner. The neighborhood walk took place around the Camden and Russell Square neighborhood. While sight seeing we saw the University of London and British Museum.
Our busy day was not over yet we had dinner at Thistle at Bloomsbury Park. The food was really good. The vegetarian meal I ate included bread, Caesar salad, meatless spaghetti style pasta and crème brulee. London treated Point Park University well and made us feel welcomed on our first day. Media visits starts tomorrow where we be meeting with a BBC Sports Researcher and having an academic lecture from a City University London Barbara Schofield.
Today was my favorite media visit while in London and sadly it was the last. We previously met with BBC Sports, The Guardian, and other Public Relations and media professionals. Bloomberg London, a financial institution that reports national finance and business news, was where we went today. Before visiting Bloomberg I did not know much about the company but have heard of it.
Bloomberg is headquartered in New York, N.Y. Michael Bloomberg, who later became mayor of New York City, founded it in 1981. They also have 192 worldwide offices with more than 15,000 employees. The office in London was amazing unfortunately they did not allow photography or video. Carly Stewart who’s the News and Media Recruitment Coordinator, was our host and talked to us about the recruitment process and how she got started with Bloomberg.
The London office was very high tech and urban. We had to get our photo taken to receive a visitor’s pass and go through security. From there we went up the escalator and was treated to coffee, tea, frozen yogurt and other treats in their free café. The colors of the office were vibrant and consistent. The walls between the offices are glass to show the unity between the workers. The office has many fish and sea animals such as eel and coral because of Michael Bloomberg’s wife according to Carly. It’s actually the world’s largest private collection of fish. It looks like a mini aquarium.
When Bloomberg started the company his wife bought him a fish and he would keep it on his desk. He later bought a fish for everyone who joined the company. The office was getting filled with fish so that resulted in the large fish tanks.
After Carly gave us an introduction of the company and what she does two of her colleagues Sarah and Toni spoke to us about broadcast and print journalism and their roles with the company. Both Sarah and Toni were interns with Bloomberg before becoming full-time staff. They both also come from different places and backgrounds. Sarah who attended the University of Kansas started at the New York Location and moved to London in January. She did not find it hard to adapt to a somewhat new environment. Most of the work she does is still the same. Toni, a South Africa native, said that she’s surprised how the Brits are obsessed with celebrity and it was a bit of culture shock moving to London.
I found it interesting that most of the employees at Bloomberg were women. That’s something different from what I’m used to seeing in the states at such a big company.
When Toni and Sarah were done with the presentations Carly gave us a tour of the office. We were able to see people at work in editing rooms and filming. It was really cool visiting Bloomberg London. I had an amazing time at Bloomberg. Today is our last day in London and we’re off to Paris tomorrow!
Fashion US vs. London/Paris
Fashion in the United States is very different from Europe. I’ve never seen so many people dress so nice before in my life. Parisians and Brits styles are very similar I think because of how close they are geographically. As I mentioned before from the moment we stepped off the airplane in the Charles De Gaulle airport I noticed high-end designer stores, which is already making a statement for the city.
Both London and Paris have major fashion weeks, which consist of designers and model from around the world. Many celebrities, press and media outlets visit the cities during fashion week.
A lot of the men wear modern fit style suits to work. I think that business casual doesn’t really exists here as much as it does in the states. Women in Paris wear clothes that I usually just see in a magazine ad. For example designer shoes, watch, a nice coat and bag. The fashion magazines and ads also differ from the United States in London and Paris.
In the French GQ very similar to the United States men’s fashion magazine you can find less casual clothing being advertised and more suit and tie apparel. The magazine also comes out quarterly in France which I found interesting compared to the monthly distributed in the America. The magazine is also accompanied with a sports section, which focuses on the world cup and also has a fashion editorial spread on French football (soccer) player Thierry Henry.
Sunglasses are also something I noticed in French and British fashion. Even on a cloudy you can still find men and women wearing designer sunglasses such as Tom Ford, Ray-Ban, Prada, Dior Homme, and Burberry. I think that since the weather is so unpredictable in London the people there never know when they will need a nice pair of sunglasses.
Sex appeal is something that’s heavily used in French advertising especially in fashion. Although the United States use the method as well because sex sells it’s on a different level in France. You can find women wearing little to nothing on street ads and magazines.
Although I did not have much time to shop in London I found some interesting fashion districts while in Paris. Le Halles is a trendy area in the heart of Paris in the 1st district. You can find affordable clothing stores that many young Parisians shop at such as H&M, Levis, Footlocker, C&A, and much more. Another area where many tourist shop at and some Parisians is on Avenue Montaigne. You’ll see high end designers such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Lacoste, and more there. Avenue Montaigne is one of the most expensive streets in the world along with fifth avenue in New York City.
Many fashion designers and models also come from the UK and France. Cara Delivigne, Noami Campbell, Louis Vuitton, and Yves Saint Laurent.
The Fashion in the United Kingdom and France both have influences on the United States. Since most of the designers are based in Europe I think this might have something to do with it.
Stay trendy America.
Using the Metro and Tube
While in Europe I did not find it too difficult to use the “Metro” in Paris or “Tube” in London. Both cities have many tourists so I think that the British Parliament and French government have put that into consideration. I’ve never been to a big city like London or Paris so riding their Mass Transit Systems was a learning experience.
London’s Underground Tube was much easier than the Metro in my opinion. Mainly because everything was in English from signs, to the intercoms, it was easier there to be aware of what was going on. In Paris I had to use the very little French I know to communicate and get around. The Tube is also the oldest rapid rail system in the world opening in 1863.
We used the Tube and Metro to get around to both our cultural and media visits. This way was more efficient rather than taking a cab, bus, or driving a car. The traffic in Paris specific is insane. Walking out of the Metro station to the street you will see cars flying down the street and motorcyclist driving really fast. Our Tour manager Vincent mentioned that pedestrians are the stop signs and we have to make on coming traffic stop.
Something that I found surprising was the time the Metro stopped running in Paris. Sunday through Thursday it stopped at 12 midnight on Friday and Saturday it runs til 2:00 am. The Tube in London had very similar hours of operation.
The rail system I’m most familiar with is the MARTA in my hometown Atlanta Ga. MARTA only has 4 different rail lines and a total of 30 stations compared to the Metro’s 16 lines and 303 stations. Paris is very fast-paced and populated it was difficult at getting our whole group on one train because they were so crowded.
The ticketing system on the Tube and Metro were very similar as well. You just insert your ticket before entering the station after you pull it out the gate/ doors will open. London citizens who use the Tube daily can purchase an Oyster card that they just tap and allow them access into the station if the correct funds are there.
Today we visited Disneyland Paris it was amazing! This was my first time experiencing a Disney park. Before we went to the park some professionals who work in Public Relations there spoke to us.
Irma Smits who’s in charge of the Press and Production at Disneyland Paris was our host for the visit and met us at train station at the Park. We then caught a shuttle bus to Disney University where we met her other colleagues and team.
There are currently four Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Disneyland Paris is the number one tourist destination in Europe. The Park opened in 1992 as Euro Disney Resort and has changed their name to better market the company. The other locations include California, Florida, Tokyo and Hong Kong. In 2015 Shanghai Disney Resort is expected to open in China.
Stephane (pronounced Steh-fahn) Cunnac a member of Irma’s Press team is the Senior Publicist and spoke to us business solutions and marketing. Cunnac has been apart of Disneyland Paris since it opened in 1992. He told us about how the company started and progressed to where they are at today. Cunnac also told us how the Public Relations team at Disneyland Paris works with the media on press days.
After the lectures from the Public Relations team at Disneyland Paris we were able to enjoy the park. Although it was raining I had a lot of fun. I felt like a little kid again. Going to a Disney resort/ park was something that I always wanted to do as a child but never had the opportunity. Being able to go for the first time in Paris was amazing!
One of the rides I really liked was Space Mountain: Mission 2. It was really thrilling and fun. The ride is inside and it’s very dark. It goes in loop and sometimes feels like you’re going to fall out. At one point I thought the ride was going to end but it continued for at least another minute.
Another attraction I enjoyed a lot was Pirates of the Caribbean. It reminds me of the movies you feel like you’re Captain Jack Sparrow himself. Through the whole ride you’re on top of water and might get a little wet. I would highly recommend this ride to anyone who’s a fan of the movies. You see a lot of interior design from some scenes while riding.
The trip to Disneyland Paris was an excellent way to conclude our stay in Paris. Tomorrow we’re headed to Normandy while there we’ll visit Omaha Beach, and the American Cemetery where many World War II soldiers were buried. With Memorial Day coming up I think this is a great way for us to show respects to those who have fought for our country and still are.
Au Revior Paris! Hope to see you again soon.
As I get on the bus and head to the airport I can’t but to think of the amount of memories and friendships I’ve gained from going on this trip. Not only have I had so much fun I’ve learned so much about Paris, London, and Northern France.This trip has been absolutely amazing I couldn’t have asked for a better turn out. It’s something that I will never forget and has made me want to travel abroad more.
From the moment we landed in London we were kindly greeted by our amazing tour manager Vincent. He is so knowledgeable of both France and the United Kingdom. He has made this trip great for me and I’m sure many others would agree. The Burgundy France native kept us entertained with his witty jokes and humor. Always leading the way Mr. Vincent gave us good recommendations of places to shop and eat during our free time.
My fellow classmates on this trip also helped made this trip a wonderful experience. During the Spring 2014 semester we only met once a week for an hour and a half and didn’t have much time to talk due to lectures. I got to know 16 brilliant students who one I only knew prior to the class. I’ve learned so much about them and traveling with a big group a people. Everyone was cooperative in difficult situations. I made great friendship from this as well and plan to keep in contact with everyone even those who graduated.
The professors on this trip Aimee-Marie Dorsten Phd., Helen Fallon, and David Fabilli were incredible. They all worked together to help make this trip happen. From contacting other colleagues to speak and arranging media visits for us, to supplying a Travel Fund to students to help differ the cost of the trip. This trip wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of these three individuals. I really appreciate everything they have done.
My favorite media visit was definitely Bloomberg London. Although I do not have much interest in working at a financial television institution, I learned so much from the ladies who spoke to us. From the vibe of their office, to the rapid growth of the company, and hearing each individual’s story on how they obtained their position was very interesting. It also makes me consider working abroad whether it is just for an internship or career.
Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time when we arrived in Paris was by far my favorite tourist moment. It is such a classic landmark and beautiful piece of architecture that many people dream to visit and only see on television. The whole time I was in Paris I felt like I was in a movie or walking through a museum, it was so surreal. Between Paris and London I enjoyed our time in Paris the most because of the city’s beautiful architecture, culture, and fashion. I would love to live there at some point in my life but first I need to learn more French.
I really enjoyed my time in Europe and wish I could stay longer. From the media visits sight seeing, getting to know an awesome group of students. Leaving Europe and going back to the United States is bittersweet. However I will definitely be back soon. Until next time…