As many of you remember, I started this blog when I studied abroad and lived in Argentina for a month my junior year of high school. Since then, I haven’t really gone out of the country for an extended period of time. I went to Costa Rica for a quick trip before college started. But I was excited to get to Europe and get out of the United States for a few weeks. I was really ready for something different in my life.
I actually went on this trip to receive a three hours credit towards my International Business minor. The class that I was taking was called Global Business Perspectives. I wanted to throw in some of the course description and objectives so you can kind of get a better idea of what this class was about.
Understand Global Mindset framework, unique characteristics of the global trade environment, globalization of the economy, the role of culture in global cultural experiences, and financial regulatory implications for global business
Determine how culture impacts the negotiation process in a global business setting
Understand and evaluate management strategies involved in global business transactions
Engage in a cross-cultural experience
To engage in this cross-cultural experience, we actually went to Greece and Germany. If you know anything about the European Union or those two countries… there is not a pair of countries that contrasts more than those two. Before heading over to Europe, I really did not know anything about the Greece economic crisis or what was going on in Europe. I honestly thought of Europe as one giant place that was all the same, like a giant state… kind of like Texas.
But I was wrong! We first started in Greece where we got to talk to the locals about the challenges they are facing with their country. For anyone who does not know, I’ll give you an ultra-brief high light of what is happening in Greece.
- A while ago, the country of Greece was admitted in to the European Union
- Essentially, there were some sketchy things going on with their book keeping that made the Europe Union believe they had an economy sufficient enough to enter
- Greece went into a major amount of debt due to bad habits of government spending (you could seriously take some time learning all of that)
- This left the people in Greece without any money and essentially hopeless
- To relief their debt Greece has reached out other countries within the European Union and abroad to help relieve their debt
The last point is pretty much where the country is at today and honestly all that you’ve been hearing on the news about Greece for the past year. The technical side of what happened is still pretty above me and some of that information is not close to 100% accurate or the whole side. But it’s the briefest overview that there is.
Once we learned that, I definitely had my idea of what I though Greece would be like. I was expecting a run down place with extremely lazy people. Although it is extremely run down, that was the only part of Greece that held up to my belief. The people of Greece are extremely hard working. We actually visited a couple of businesses that helped us further understand what it was like operating a business in that country. Greece is really just lacking resources… business owners just can’t get people to buy their products and they don’t have the money or the means to take their businesses abroad. We actually found out that it costs you almost double as a company to have an employee on your pay role due to paperwork and taxes. The people of Greece are really just hopeless at this point and just hope that they can rely on other countries to bail them out. While in Greece, we actually got to talk to an Ambassador that was living in Greece. He pretty much explained that the country of Greece was going to crumble this upcoming July. None of us knew that was happening, no one was frantic or even talking about how to help themselves or change it. He essentially put it to us that the people of Greece are so sad and frustrated… they just don’t want to talk about it.
Since there is no money, and literally NO jobs this is causing a major domino effect for the future of Greece. Young adults that are finishing college are all leaving Greece, causing a brain drain in the country. There are just no jobs, so everyone is going elsewhere. This really effects Greece because now they are missing a generation of people to populate the country and settle there. Missing this generation can have some pretty long term effects on the country.
In a complete contrast was visting the country of Germany. I fell IN LOVE with this country. If there was one place in Europe I would want to live, it would for sure be Germany. There is such a rich history and culture here. It was really fun for me to learn about World War II my whole life and finally put places and stories in my brain at a first hand view.
People keeping up with the economic crisis of Greece are aware that Germany is the country they are relying on to bail them out. Germany has put their foot down and refuses to help Greece. They believe by supplying them with this money they are solving their problems without Greece having to learn from the mistakes that they have made. Germany is seriously dominating the European union. The second we stepped foot in this country it is very apparent it is different. Both countries have rich history and historical buildings…Germany takes care of the buildings. The people around Germany really carry themselves in a more serious manner. Everyone is in a suit, all the time. Even our Uber drivers all wore suits. It is a very structured country.
Unfortunately, we never got to visit a business in Germany, as BMW actually canceled on our tour. But the motivation and the history on how they have bounced back from a major pit fall has really driven and motivated the people of Germany to make their country a place to be proud to be living in.
So that was my trip in a nutshell and a lot more of the educational side than you were probably bargaining for. I’m going to include pictures of all of the places we actually went to, and then my photo galleries will be up soon!!
Chania, Crete, Greece