Peru | How I Ended Up in Peru

BY MIKA NAGAMOTO

On the morning of our first day of class, everyone in our program met in the dining area of our hotel to enjoy breakfast together. I sat down to a breakfast of fresh fruit, mango juice, scrambled eggs, french toast, grilled sausage with vegetables, and a large cup of coffee. Our teaching assistants for the class met us in the lobby to show us the direction of the university. Brisk morning dew coated the streets as we made our 15-minute journey to the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, our new campus for the summer.

Our professors greeted us at the doors of the university before giving us an overview of the goals of their courses and the schedule for the next four weeks. Our first course would begin with an introduction to global health concepts, important themes of global health, a brief history of global health, and current strategies and actors in the field. The purpose of this course was to give us the context and language that would allow for a critical analysis of the global health interventions we would be seeing first-hand in Peru. The second course for the summer would focus on how diversity and disparities impact health in a global context. To create an in-depth and meaningful understanding of these topics, our group would also take visits to clinics in Lima and Iquitos. These excursions would allow us to apply what we learned in the classroom to the specific cases of health interventions in Peru.

While my professors explained their intentions for the class, I felt my excitement grow as I began to see how truly unique the opportunity before me was. I chose this program because I felt a need to see exactly what global health meant in action. Before my study abroad experience, I found that reading textbooks and learning about interventions in far-away places never satisfied my curiosity. I couldn’t ignore my desire to experience and see what I was learning about come to life in the real world. When I came across the Summer Travel Study Global Health Program, I immediately saw that this was my opportunity to gain unique and meaningful experiences in the field of global health. This was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

Upon my arrival in Lima, I found that Peru far exceeded my expectations. Lima is rich with color, art, music, dancing, incredible food, and extensive opportunities to learn about the history and culture of this incredible country. I realized that this program was much more than just learning about global health. I was learning about a new culture, discovering new perspectives, and experiencing sights unique to the neighborhoods I was surrounded by. All of this gave breath and depth to the academic terms and themes I was learning about. Global health began to take on a new meaning for me as I conceptualized what it means to bring healthcare to individuals on a global scale.

Mika Nagamoto studied abroad in Lima and Iquitos, Peru, in summer 2018: https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/GlobalHealth-Lima/

France | En Route to Paris

BY SHERRY WANG

It’s 6:54AM in New York City where my plane is currently stationed, which means it’s 3:54AM in California. My flight crew decided to let off a disruptive passenger mid-flight, so my non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Paris was delayed with a pit stop in New York. They said one hour, but it’s been about three already, so I figured I’d take this time document all the little things I love about flying besides the thrill of the take-off and landing.

The greatest thing about flying is that it’s different each time—the food, the seat, the entertainment. New strangers with their own stories, a crew with a different dynamic. During this flight, the crew has been incredibly attentive and fun (a few of them are currently singing and dancing to Party in the USA in their plaid blazers and Norwegian accents).

One of the best things to do while traveling is to strike up a conversation with strangers. There’s a lot to be learned through another person’s perspective. Currently sitting next to me is the sweetest old lady who’s originally from Paris and now living in Orange County, California. She’s flying back to visit family and friends. In the row in front of me sits the most adorable, energetic French father-daughter pair.

During the flight thus far, I’ve learned that the lady sitting next to me studied chemical engineering at a graduate institution in Paris and recently retired from a multinational conglomerate. She’s lived in Canada and France as well as California, but she still prefers the Golden State and would not likely return to living in France. One of the main reasons was simple, France’s technology was just not as up to date as California’s, and it was catching up too slowly. The situation made living in France inconvenient. In regards to my trip, she advised me to focus on the food and the sights of France, not the shopping like many tourists do.

Even with random, unexpected delays, I can’t be upset. It’s always possible to fill the time with something enjoyable or productive, and in the end, it’s all a part of the flying experience.

So here I am, stationed and delayed in New York City, feeling grateful for this experience and not at all feeling like I’m going to be in Paris in ~7 hours (7 hours!!). The fact that I’m studying abroad STILL hasn’t hit me, and I suppose it won’t until I’m sitting in class tomorrow morning, a bright and early 9 a.m.

Until next time,

Sherry

P.S. While passing through French customs—which is a quick process unlike in the U.S.—I met some other students in my program. I also met a street photographer with an older model of the camera I recently bought for the trip, and he taught me some new camera tricks. How cool is talking to strangers?

Sherry Wang studied abroad in Paris and Strasbourg, France, in summer 2017: https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/intlbuslaw/ 

France | Attending Class Online

BY SHERRY WANG

LA’s traffic is notorious—going east to west or vice versa can take an hour. Since my hometown is roughly three hours away from UCLA in morning traffic, I wasn’t exactly eager to drive there for the first two weeks of class.

Lucky for me, the International Business Law & Taxation program offers an online real-time class option for the first two weeks of the program. Last Tuesday, I found myself rolling out of bed at 8 a.m. to attend the first class right at home. With participation counting as 30% of the overall grade, students joining the lecture online are expected to contribute as much as the students in the classroom.

Students who are unable to attend the real-time options – online or in the classroom – can watch a recording of the lecture on their own time. In that case, students must complete an additional assignment to demonstrate their class participation. Given the options, the first two weeks of the program allow you to attend in class no matter where you are in the world!

Like most other video chat technology, the one Professor Freixes uses allows students at home to see and hear him, his powerpoint, and all the other students online. Professor Freixes and the students in the classroom can see and hear everyone online. This way, it is easy for everyone to participate.

I found myself more engaged in this online style of learning than in learning in a live classroom. Furthermore, the Professor often discussed current events and encouraged students to look up information on their own laptops/phones in class.

Like with most 3-hour summer classes, our class got a 15-minute break, during which I turned off my laptop camera and wandered into my kitchen to grab a drink and snack. Super cool and convenient. Of course, if you live close to UCLA or are on campus, attending the class at UCLA has its own advantages. For example, it serves as an opportunity to meet other students and the professor.

I encourage those who decide to enroll in the program to reach out to the students on the Facebook group prior to the start of the program. It’s a great way to meet students to travel with, study with, or even share books with. Understanding what others are doing in terms of travel, packing, and textbooks can be extremely helpful for your own preparations.

A few months prior to the program, I reached out to some fellow travelers, met up at a dining hall, and started getting excited for all the adventures we were about the have abroad. Later on, I found another student to share textbooks with (ebooks are the way to go!). I couldn’t be more pumped for the abroad portion of Travel Study.

Stay tuned!

Sherry

Sherry Wang studied abroad in Paris and Strasbourg, France, in summer 2017: https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/intlbuslaw/ 

England | Differences From the United States

BY SAVANNAH SHAPIRO

Europe is different than the United States. Very different. There were so many things that I was unaccustomed to that I decided to make a list of what was different here in London as opposed to the United States.

Food

Enjoy your nice cheeseburger and side of ranch dressing because this is something that is hard to come by here in London. And if you do by chance find a cheeseburger here, it’s just not the same. I ordered a salad one night at Montague Pyke, a restaurant near the Soho area, and that was the first time I realized food here was very different. The ranch dressing isn’t our creamy deliciousness but instead it is watered down. It’s more acidic and has a tang at the end that I don’t find appetizing. Cafes line the streets and there are cute bakeries everywhere it’s just a matter of finding the one that’s for you. We have stuck to a diet of pizza and I think that’s the way to go! I’m still on the hunt for my go to restaurant.

AC

There is no AC anywhere here. It can get unbearably hot and humid here in London and all you want to do is sit in a place that has air conditioning, but that is very difficult when restaurants, dorm rooms, stores and transportation systems lack AC. Staying hydrated is key especially in the tube where everyone is packed in like sardines in an underground tunnel!

Ice

Unfortunately, London is short on ice, especially when it’s hot outside. Most restaurants here are accustomed to serving room temperature beverages, making you appreciate the nice cold soda you can get from the U.S. Once we started asking for ice, we were finally able to get the cold drinks we were searching for. I found it really helpful to freeze a bottle of water before our walking tours and long day of class.

Trash Cans

Surprisingly, there are few trashcans that line the street like we are used to. In London, they don’t call trashcans trashcans, but rather they call it litter. If you go to a Starbucks or any other café for that matter, don’t be surprised if there isn’t a trashcan. You can simply leave your trash where you are siting and the staff will clean and remove the trash for you.

Smoking

In the U.S. there are designated smoking areas, but as for the U.K. there are not. Many people smoke cigarettes in the street which I found to be an interesting difference from the United States.

Traffic and Transportation

Double decker buses are so cool here! I loved hoping onto a bus and going up to the second floor. The view is very nice from up there, and taking a ride on the bus is very helpful for understanding the streets of London. A double decker bus is the epitome of London. I didn’t think that the buses could get you from point A to point B, and that they were just tourist attractions, but they are very helpful and get you to your destination very quickly. The buses are also cheaper than the tube.

How to pay at a restaurant

It is a little different here than the U.S. If you use an American debit or credit card, which most people in the program did, the waiter/waitress brings out the ATM pin pad and inserts your chipped card to pay the bill. You pay the bill directly at the table, and are not obligated to pay tip. If you eat with a large group then you may see a service fee added to your bill, which is just the same as gratuity in the U.S. If you want to leave a tip you always can, but it is not mandatory nor do the workers expect it. Also after paying, you must sign the receipt in which they check your license or the back of your card to make sure your signature is the same.

 

Drving and crossing the street

I’m still trying to understand how the rules on the road work here in London.

Cars are on the opposite side of the street, drivers drive on the opposite side of the car, and when you cross a cross a crosswalk you look left, right, left. Cars usually do not stop because it is not pedestrians right of way like how it is in the U.S. Also, stop lights work a little differently. The light changes from red to yellow, which allows the stopped cars to slowly take off. It is important to make sure you clear the crosswalk in time, before the cars start to take off. Because crossing the street can be a little intimidating at first, make sure to find zebra crosswalks which are indicated by the black and white striped poles that have a large yellow bulb at the top. These crosswalks function as our stop signs which allows the pedestrian the right of way. Cars stop for you, but make sure to look both ways before crossing at all times!  

Escalators

Believe it or not there are two lanes to an escalator! Although it’s a normal escalator the crowd divides into two sides: the right side is used for standing, while the left is used for walking. Because there are a lot of commuters who are rushing to get to their destination, it is important to move to the right side if you want to stand. If you are in a rush to catch a train or the tube, it would be best for you to use the left side and walk down or up the escalators with the rest of the rushing commuters!

Gas Stations

You would think that in a packed city with many cars there would be multiple gas stations, but we found it very interesting when we could barely find any. There is a gas station called BP within the city, and the only one we’ve seen by far. Good thing we take those buses!

Toilets

In the U.S. you can use public restrooms practically anywhere you’d like. However, in London, not everywhere restaurant or store has a restroom to use. Some public places that do have toilets require you to pay to get in. I suggest to ask a restaurant kindly if they have a restroom, which they actually refer to as toilets, and they will more often than not allow you to use their restroom.

Savannah Shapiro studied abroad in London, England in summer 2017: https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/English-London/

France | The Program Curriculum and Professor

BY SHERRY WANG

Writing this post from my hometown Starbucks feels completely surreal. Just last week I was traveling in Taipei, Taiwan. A few days ago I attended my first Travel Study real-time online class. Yesterday, I was in downtown LA attending a business leadership conference.

The length and structure of the Travel Study International Business Law and Taxation program (2 weeks at UCLA/online and 3 weeks abroad) truly allows you to create the summer you want. In addition to the flexibility, the program is taught by an amazing professor and consists of an engaging curriculum.

PROFESSOR

Gonzalo Freixes

Adjunct Professor of Accounting, Associate Dean of the Fully Employed MBA program. “A native Cuban, Freixes and his parents immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1960s as refugees of the communist regime in that country…”

CLASSES

(1) Management 109: International Business Law

(2) Management 127C: International Taxation

(3) Optional research

Directly from the UCLA Accounting Minor Program courses page:

Management 127C: International Taxation (4 units) Only offered through the Travel Study Program

Recommended requisite: course 127A. Study of two principle areas of international taxation from U.S. regulatory perspective: taxation of American citizens and companies conducting business in international arena (outbound transactions) and taxation of foreign nationals and companies who invest or conduct business in the U.S. (inbound transactions).  

Management 109:  International Business Law (4) Only offered through the Travel Study Program

Recommended requisite: course 108. Study of international business legal environment, including general overview of international laws and organizations and comprehensive review of U.S. regulations of international business transactions. Special emphasis on international litigation, commercial transactions, regulation of investments, multinational corporations, and international banking.

RECOMMENDED REQUISITES

While it is recommended for students to have taken Management 127A and 108 before participating in the program, it is not required. Professor Frexies provides an overview to U.S. individual taxation and U.S. corporate taxation in the first Management 127C lecture. He breaks down the basics in a simple yet comprehensive manner—it requires no previous knowledge to understand.

CLASS MATERIAL

Professor Freixes provides PowerPoints and note outlines on UCLA’s CCLE website. You truly have everything you need to succeed in the course provided you study before and during the program. Professor Freixes highly, HIGHLY recommends reading the textbooks ahead of time. After all, who wants their nose buried in books and head swimming with tax codes when they could be exploring the sprawl of Paris?

EXAMS

There are midterms and finals for both classes. The exams are take-home AND open-note (just not open-friends). The first midterm will be distributed on the first day of class in Paris, two weeks after the first official class at UCLA… so we will see how that goes. I will be sure to reflect on the pace of the course and how to best manage your time abroad following the program.

Underneath the city lies the catacombs of Paris

CURRICULUM

As for the curriculum, it is complimented by day trips and walking tours in Paris, Normandy, and Strasbourg. Not only will you be learning international business law and taxation, you will be learning about French culture, history, and its ties to Europe’s own development. There will be trips to places like chateaus, the Catacombs, and museums (less related to the course, but there is still much to learn) and the European Parliament (more related to the course). So in addition to learning about international organizations, you will have a chance to see them in person!

The integration of classes, culture, and site visits will be an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience…so, take the leap and study abroad with UCLA Summer Travel Study!

Until next time,

Sherry

Sherry Wang studied abroad in Paris and Strasbourg, France, in summer 2017: https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/intlbuslaw/ 

England | Tube and Transportation

BY SAVANNAH SHAPIRO

The tube, also known as the London underground, is the essential rapid transit system within London. The tube is fast and speedy, allowing you to get from point A to point B throughout your day. The tube is very easy and simple to use, you just need a few tips to help you get started!

  1. Buy yourself an oyster card! You can think of an oyster card as a bruin card. You load money onto the card, which allows you to tap and go on transportation systems throughout London. You can purchase oyster cards at tube stations as well as stores all throughout London. Once you buy your oyster card, you load money onto your card. Once you are about to run out of money you “top off”, which means you simply load more money onto your oyster card. Majority of the time when you tap into the tube or bus station, the amount remaining on your card will show on the screen, so you will always know what your balance is. Taking the tube costs £2.40, while the buses cost £1.50. If you ever need to “top off” your card, there are always stations within the underground that allow to do so.

2. Navigating a tube station is the next step! At first it might seem intimidating and overwhelming, but at the end of the trip you will be a true London commuter. When I first started navigating both buses and the tube, I never knew which station to go to, which line to take, or which direction to go. Luckily there is an app called City Mapper where you enter your starting location and end destination and it gives you the cheapest and fastest tube or bus routes to take. Not only that, but City Mapper will explain which bus or tube to take, what direction, and what stop you need to get off at. Throughout our journey our study abroad program group always travelled together, so you are never really alone. There is an alternative to using City Mapper as well, you can always find your way around by asking the workers or daily commuters.

3. Platform signs and directional signs are your best friend! Throughout the station there are multiple signs that explain what line you are taking, what direction you’re going, and what platform your tube will arrive at. Also on that same sign, there will be a line with dots marking each stop that you make.

4. Don’t worry if you miss your tube because there are multiple tubes that will take you to your destination within approximately 3 to 5 minutes. This is good to keep in mind if you are travelling with a bigger group. It is safer to wait for a tube instead of running on and leaving people behind.

5. When you enter the tube make sure to sit down or hold on to the nearest handrail because the tube will take off with sudden force. The seats can be very comfortable after a long day of walking so make sure you don’t fall asleep and miss your stop!

6.  Last but not least, MIND THE GAP!

Savannah Shapiro studied abroad in London, England in summer 2017: https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/English-London/

France | Taking the Leap With This Program

BY SHERRY WANG

Welcome to my first blog post! I hope you have had a chance to read the “About the Author” page and gotten a glimpse of who I am and what I hope to accomplish with this blog. For my first post, I would like to give everyone a bit of insight as to why I chose this study abroad program (and why you absolutely should take the leap if you are considering it!). Without further ado…

TOP REASONS TO CHOSE UCLA’S INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS LAW & TAXATION PROGRAM

(1) If you’re minoring in Accounting or interested in tax and international business law. 

The courses Management 109 and 127C are both upper division electives and applicable to the UCLA Accounting minor. Additionally, the course units go towards your education requirements for CPA licensure.

From an open-top boat on the Seine River.

(2) Live in PARIS! And another city of Professor Friexes’ choice—this year it’s Strasbourg.

This one is huge. Who wouldn’t want to live in such a romantic, dynamic, and culturally diverse city?

It can be as immersive (or not) as you want it to be. Extend your visit an extra week or six. Go where you want. In your free time, explore different lands, peoples, and cultures.

(3) It is shorter than a quarter with 2 weeks at home and 3 weeks abroad.

No space in your schedule during the school year to study abroad? Go during the summer!

(4) It is FLEXIBLE.

The structure of the program allows you to “do it all!” You can study abroad, and if you choose, still attend UCLA’s Summer Session A, take on a job, and/or travel with family and friends before and afterwards. The program is relatively easy to fit into your schedule when compared to semester long study abroad program.

For the two weeks at home, there is the option to attend class in-person at UCLA, in real-time online, or online at any time with an additional assignment.

To those recruiting for public accounting summer leadership programs (SLPs), this program does not create a time-conflict. The SLPs end before the Travel Study program. (I personally was able to travel with family, attend the SLPs, and relax at home!)

Omaha Beach in Normandy, the landing area used by the Allied forces during the WWII D-Day invasion.

(5) Taught by UCLA faculty.

UCLA’s Travel Study programs are taught by UCLA faculty rather than by foreign professors.

Professor Friexes is a fantastic professor who strives to integrate the curriculum with the travel aspect of the program. Not only will he prepare his students to leave France with an understanding of international business law and taxation, he encourages students to learn through exploration of our destination. For this program, he’s planned walking tours and day-trips to immerse students in the history and culture of France.

These are just a few of the reasons why the UCLA Travel Study program for international business law and taxation is a must-experience opportunity. Stay tuned for more informational posts!

Our class at the last destination of our last walking tour in France, Sainte Sulpice Church.

Until next time,

Sherry

Sherry Wang studied abroad in Paris and Strasbourg, France, in summer 2017: https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/intlbuslaw/ 

England | Weekend Trip to Ireland

BY SAVANNAH SHAPIRO

Ireland became our little home for the weekend. Our three days that we spent traveling to Ireland was spontaneous and it was the first time in my life where I can now say that I understand what the word traveling means. There are few times in life where you can say you went to Ireland for a weekend, and I’m still in a sense of shock to say that I can now say that.

After class on Friday, three of us went to Euston station to catch a train to Chester. From Chester, we transferred trains and took our last train to Holyhead. Our final connection was from Holyhead to Dublin on a ferry which was more like a cruise ship.  Over the course of a weekend, we spent 19 hours traveling. We took a bus, two trains and a ferry but managed to get Ireland

We arrived in Ireland at 12:30AM and got to the place we were staying which was in Seapoint, a cute little suburban town that is nestled next to the coast.

On Saturday morning, we attempted to do as much as we possibly could do in our one full day. We went to the beach in the morning which was right down the street from where we stayed.

After the beach, we learned how to take Ireland’s public transportation called The Dart. We took The Dart, which is just a train, across the coast to a town called Bray. There was a large street fair and a big green cliff looking out toward the ocean. We hiked up the hill and I was able to live my dream of standing on a cliff in Ireland. I dropped half of my caprese sandwich on the way, so the view made up for the tragedy.

We went to the center of the city in Dublin to go see Dublin Castle. The castle was fun, but it was hard to hold a flame next to Windsor. Windsor still takes the cake and is my favorite. To get into Dublin Castle, it is around €6.00 with a student ID card.

We made our way down to the Guinness Storehouse that everyone recommended us to go to. We learned how the craft Guinness beer and the process of brewing beer. The Storehouse was like a museum and they turned beer making into an art. For students, the tour cost is €18.00.

We ended the night in a pub and restaurant called O’Neills. What made my trip so special was this pub. We are at the Carvery which serves you an entire chicken if you wish that’s garnished with a sprig of rosemary smack dab in the breast. The restaurant is similar to buffet style in a way, but I was struggling. I must have looked confused and because an Irish woman nearby asked me if figured it out how to order. I said no not really and she said me either actually. She told me that you just have to get people’s attention here and tell them what you want. It was nice to finally have help and it was the first time that someone explained that there’s never really a system or line to a restaurant.

We stayed at O’Neills to watch the Irish band and River dancers perform which easily became my favorite moment of our trip. We were crammed in a little pub and I couldn’t believe where I was. Irish Dancing is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen and I may or may not have cried in the pub. It was such a small moment in a small little pub, but it made everything about our long weekend of traveling worth it.

On Sunday morning, we got up early to go see the Trinity College Library which was one of the prettiest libraries I’ve been to! It was €10.00 to get into the library but it also included the Book of Kells.

We ended our short but sweet trip in Stephens Green a park located right in the heart of Dublin. We sat on a bench and laughed thinking about our journey that we took and how great it was. It seemed crazy, but there’s not one moment where we regret our tiny little getaway to Ireland. We wished we had more time to soak up everything that Ireland has to offer, but we left satisfied with what we did.

Traveling Tips

Find yourself a sister who makes you an Ireland playlist!

Pack light! Put on a backpack and grab some headphones, you’ll be good to go!

They are on the euro in Ireland don’t forget!

Euston to Chester / Chester to Holyhead / Holyhead to Dublin

Dublin to Holyhead / Holyhead to Crewe / crewe to Euston

Savannah Shapiro studied abroad in London, England in summer 2017: https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/English-London/