Just like that, we were facing our last week here at La Rochelle Business School, studying ‘International Management & Global Leadership’. It surely felt like yesterday when we walked into our first class. In the two previous weeks we had nearly completed half of our overall assessments– what a good feeling it is to keep crossing them off!
To start off our last week: Obviously the technology was having a bad case of the Mondayitis and was not our friend in class today. It seemed that every time we switched PowerPoints, something would happen – gotta love how reliant we are on technology working. It made the 9am-4.40pm day a bit longer, but it was good to be learning a new topic, International Management Organisation. I loved this topic because it heavily correlated in to what I am currently studied (and gives me an advantage this semester for my international HRM course!).
Tuesday meant market time and our last French class! This time we had a list of fruits, vegetables, seafood, and cheeses that we had to translate, take photos, and check off the entire list within an hour. The task was a lot easier as we had become accustomed to translating menus (plus translating has become a lot easier these days with our friend Google). The big difference I found to the markets in La Rochelle was that they weren’t self-service like the Australian markets. Here they would serve you just like you were at the deli in a supermarket.
That afternoon we had our last company visit to Centre de Tri. The company services the La Rochelle district and collects, sorts, and compresses the recycling. For most of us it was the first time to witness the process of sorting through the recycling. Once we got our heads around if the government funded and controlled the company we continued to learn about what they are able to produce with the recycled items – even rain jackets! It’s incredible how delayed France has been with their approach to recycling- it seems like second nature to us to separate our rubbish from the recycling. The plant in La Rochelle has only been operating since early the 2000’s.
Thursday brought us our last class here in La Rochelle :(. It was a very relaxed class where we finalised learning about strategy and did a quick 5-minute presentation in our pairs of a company that we visited while being here in France. It was also our last opportunity to grab a coffee from the vending machine – one aspect of France that I am going to miss, their 0.40 Euro cent coffee!
Over the past 3 weeks we had heard many people recommend one of the neighbouring islands. So we all hopped on a bus and visited Ile-de-Ré, which is an island just outside of La Rochelle that is only accessible by a 3km bridge. Just like our luck had it, we chose to go when it was raining. It was safe to say that it was disappointing not to see the island in all of its glory, but regardless it was great to see the beach and the little towns within the island. We were all stunned at the houses that they had on the island as the majority of them were brick squares with little windows, a big difference to our airy beach houses.
That night we headed out into the city centre and found a restaurant to celebrate the past 3 weeks and the newly formed friendships. Ben was able to use his trademark line one last time, ‘May I please have the bill’ in French. Over the past 3 weeks we had become accustomed to each other’s common phrases and of course left each other in stitches. We also tried our luck at the Casino, and it must have been the luck of our last day because no one left with less money than when we arrived!
All but two of us travelled off to Paris on Friday. I decided to stay in La Rochelle until the next day. It was such a nice dry, sunny day – if only we had gone to Ile-de-Ré that day! I took the last opportunity to walked along the streets of La Rochelle and do my last ‘touristy’ shopping. La Rochelle is such a beautiful place that has kept their history and I would have loved to see the city in its full beauty in the summer time. It’s going to be weird not living along a harbour, and of course hearing everyone speak in French!
It has been a great 3 weeks and it truly feels like yesterday since we all met each other. Until next time La Rochelle- Au Revoir!