The Week in Headlines

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Including:

  • Marketing Project Piques Organic Curiosity
  • Weekend in Normandy Heralds Historic Reflection
  • Don't Stress Out, Career Building is for Americans

Shadows

The Cold War exhibit, the Caen Memorial, Caen, Normandy.

Marketing Project Piques Organic Curiosity

NANTES, France - Two American students interviewed a member of the Chamber of Agriculture this week, hoping to shed light on the role of institutional intermediaries in the growing market for organic food products. Part of an independent research project for the course International Marketing, Bennett Chabot of Olin College and Lisa Yochelson of University of Redlands hope to understand the past, present, and most importantly the future of organic agriculture, a trend currently visible in their case study nations of France and the U.S. Tentatively entitled "La Paradoxe d'un marche biologique international" (The Paradox of an International Organic Foods Market), the 15 page French report, scheduled for completion in April 2008, will examine the macro environment, producers, and consumers of the organic agricultural market. Early findings suggest that the desire for environmentally sound food production practices are in tension with the desire to have unlimited food variety at any time of year. The pair plan to follow up the Chamber of Agriculture interview with conversations with organic farmers and consumers in the organics market.

Weekend in Normandy Heralds Historic Reflection

Wreckage left behind.

Iron rebar gripping rubble that was once a German bunker, Point du Hoc, Normandy.

CAEN, Normandy - Despite having visited the D-Day invasion beaches some 2 winters past, the significance weighs heavy on a young American man standing on the sacrificial sands of a 64 year old battle field where so many just like him gave up their lives for something. I left Omaha beach and the Caen Memorial wondering: What do I believe in enough to die for? What do I think is so important that I would kill for it? WWII looks pretty noble from where I'm sitting; Would any war ever look as "just" at the time?

Don't Stress Out- Career Building is for Americans

Fire on the wind

A French "Eolien" (wind turbine), somewhere north of Nantes.

FRANCE, MASSACHUSETTS, COLORADO, and BEYOND - For a third year engineering student, looking for summer work can be as intense a process as one allows it to be. The summer before senior year can seem like a microcosm of career searches to come. Searching for summer employment is frequently inspired by the desires for professional development and financial security, the latter of which can be particularly elusive for a study abroad student on the short end of the telescoping Euro-Dollar exchange rate. My recent activities of tracking down potential internships has varied from inspirational (ref. Terracycle, growing startup company that makes the greenest of products exclusively from waste and packages them in waste) to downright inconvenient (ref. hours spent by the author in front of laptop writing applications in English at the chagrin of his language compartment).

This student has decided that summer vacation should be seen as an opportunity to live in new places and learn about fields of interest. I'm encouraged by the number of opportunities to simultaneously employ and develop engineering skills in the name of environmental sustainability: I have perhaps put more effort into narrowing the scope of my search around this field, rather than in broadening my perspective to match all my possible interests, which are numerous. I think I'm making some progress on figuring out where to apply my energy in a larger quest to improve my world and make myself content.

I took this picture just for this post. Because I care.

The author in the study with the optic mouse.

I stand against the notion that summer activities should be driven by an external motivation to develop one's professional competitiveness. What could feel worse than the pressure to do such and such with a summer vacation for fear of being less able to find a job later on? As one of a growing number of students with broad interests and broader aspirations for global impact, I'm searching for satisfaction in the knowledge that the chance to experiment in any position will inform the quintessential question of "What to do this summer/year/life?" the next time it comes up. Planning for the future should never outweigh appreciation of the present. Between seeing my fellow American exchange students scurrying for their internships/etc and some choice conversations with brotherly figures in my life, I've realized how much I don't want to stress out about this process. I'll reach for the things I want to achieve for the summer, but I refuse to lay awake at night worrying about. For the time being, I'll get another app or two in the email and get back to the fromage and croissants that are demanding my attention.

A la votre-

Bennett

3 Comments

Caught up on all of your posts today, Ben! I love reading the blog of such a gifted writer! It sounds like you are definitely making the most of this wonderful time abroad. Continue to enjoy and soak up as many experiences as possible as it really will shape your views and opinions of the world for a lifetime. Can't wait to hear that new French fluency once you're back!
Tous nos souhaites,
Patrice et famille

That picture of you at your desk is pretty awesome.

I agree with Nikolaus, that photo of you is very good, I like the illumination a lot. I'm Jenny from Venezuela, by the way.

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