Hello Beautiful Belgium!

Amber Harrison, a student at ECU, took an adventure to Brussels in Belgium where she experienced a very different atmosphere than she did in the Netherlands. From the change in scenery, to the language barrier, Harrison describes an experience that she will remember always! She writes…

July 2nd, 2011

“Brussels Belgium is a place I will gladly recommend to anyone who visits Europe! I had the time of my life today. I took a train into Brussels, and it was difficult at first but we caught on fast. Three of us girls from the trip and some of the guys all rode together which made things a little easier. It was an experience seeing the country side from the train window. Buildings looked so ancient, and it was a normal occurrence for the people from Europe riding the train for transportation.

When we walked off the train into Belgium, I automatically noticed a significant change in scenery and people. I heard French left and right when I was so use to hearing Dutch. People were shorter and of a different ethnicity. They almost looked Turkish and many I believe were from France. The buildings were huge and complex in structure. The cathedrals were so handcrafted and detailed. I felt like I just walked into New York City but in a different country. There was no simplicity about Brussels. People also drove some very nice cars and there were plenty of tourists.

The first thing we did was find something to eat. We found a very nice Belgium restaurant. The waiter spoke French and it was difficult for him to speak English. We had a man come buy playing an instrument for us and we ended up tipping him. I noticed a lot of poor people begging for money in the streets. Some of the women were holding their babies begging for money. I just could not fathom how it is such normal occurrence for beggars to be in the streets like that.

I ran for the first Belgium waffle place I found at a vendor and it had white chocolate with strawberries on top. It was some seriously rich chocolate. I have never tasted anything like it. People here take their time in making their food and it is so natural to do so. When we spoke English people stared hard because we for the first time were the minorities. Walking the crowded streets I had to clutch my purse close because a man warned us about the stealing. After the indulging of chocolate we saw the famous statue of the little boy urinating. People crowded and took pictures of the statue that was dressed in a little outfit. I guess they wanted to put humor by putting clothes on the statue but I felt as if it took a lot away from the statue.

The girls and I went into little shops and found that clothes are much more expensive in Belgium rather than the Netherlands. I found a dress I could have bought for twenty dollars in the United States and instead it was a good fifty Euros. Then when I did decide to buy something it was so hard trying to converse in English. The language barrier was much harder in Belgium. They were definitely not as fluent in English as the Dutch people of the Netherlands were. All in all I had the time of my life and experienced so many different things. I will take this with me for the rest of my life!”

Flowers Flowers Everywhere! Student Explores Stock Exchange of Flowers!

Marisa Melchiorre, a Junior International Business student at ECU, got a chance to experience FloraHolland, an incredible stock exchange of flowers in the Netherlands. Marisa, from Pennsylvania, writes about the enormous gathering of flowers at the auction and her observations throughout the experience. She writes…

“When our trip schedule for Friday July 1st was available and directed us to be on the bus at 5 am to head to Amsterdam, I was not excited about waking up at 4 am. The night before our bus was to leave, I could hardly sleep. I could not wait to see the busy city life and the beautiful canals that curved in and out of the city.

We all loaded onto the bus and quickly fell back asleep. When we woke up, we were in Amsterdam! Buses whipped past pedestrians, not hesitating to run over someone. The streets were swarming with bicycles everywhere and people crowding the streets. The first activity on our agenda was to visit Flora Holland, the stock exchange of flowers. With over 3,500 exporters and wholesalers and 125,000 action transactions every day making it the world’s largest flower auction. It is made up of three export centers in Aalsmeer, Naaldwijk and Rijnsburg. We started our tour of the Aalsmeer center with exploring the facility that is over 500 soccer fields! The facility was lined with rows and rows of beautiful, exotic, and vibrant flowers from all over Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Belgium. The employees drive little vehicles to transport the flowers all around the facility. With the quality of the flowers at risk, the employees drive the vehicles so fast they bump into each other like bumper cars. We continued our tour and visited the auction room.  The room was filled with hundreds of computers and a huge auction clock that instead of increasing in price as the auction continues, the price actually decreases making the auction process a lot faster. Auctions are also available on the Internet for customers that are not able to be present in the auction room. The flowers pass through each auction room so buyers can see the flowers’ condition before making a final purchase. The auctions normally last from 6 AM till about 11 AM. While watching the auction, I noticed that all of the auctioneers were male. I was informed that most auctioneers are male because they must wake up very early in the night to prepare for the auction and females are usually taking care of the household and watching the children. The auction is a very complex process and takes over a year to learn. We then headed to the testing center where all of the flowers are tested for the internal quality of the plants and to test existing and new varieties of plants. The floricultural chain consists of the enhancer/breeder of flowers then transported to the growers. After the growers grow and pick the flowers, they are again transported to the auction then to the exporter. The exporter is responsible for transporting their product to their retails then finally sold to consumers.  Holland is very proud to be able to provide an assortment of flowers for all over the world and has made the flower auction a strong, successful business.

Our trip to Amsterdam continued with our canal tour through the canals that gave us a stunning view of the buildings and the architecture. The tour took us under bridges and past the churches. The houses along the canal were small and connected because in the past, the population was extremely high and housing was needed to provide shelter for the people. On the houses hung striking flowers that complimented the natural colors of the houses.  We past the Anne Frank house, where the story of a young girl named Anne hid in a house to escape the Nazis and wrote a journal of her experiences. Along the banks of the canals were docked numerous floated houses where many residents of Amsterdam live. The houses were very small but most of them had gardens on the back of them! The canal tour was a great way to see the city from a different perspective and was very relaxing. The Dutch have so many things to be proud of between all of the monumental artifacts from the Anne Frank house to the long canals throughout the city. Some students and I are planning to go back to Amsterdam in the next few days to explore more of the city. Next on my agenda for Amsterdam is experiencing the Van Gough museum!”



A Student Blogs About Her Adventures in Amsterdam!

Ashby Brame, a student currently enrolled in the MBA program at ECU, explored Amsterdam and the Anne Frank Museum on July 1st, 2011. From her travels, she writes…

July 1st, 2011

“We cannot change what happened anymore. The only thing we can do is to learn from the past and to realize what discrimination and persecution of innocent people means. I believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to fight prejudice.”

“So reads a memorable quote from Otto Frank, written on the display cases of the Anne Frank museum.  How fascinating to discover that much like the world has come to know Anne Frank through her diary, her Father also discovered the secret heart of his youngest child.  The displays at the museum say that he was amazed to discover the Anne he experienced through the pages of her diary as he read them after her death, in comparison to the Anne he had known as his child.   The museum in Amsterdam that we visited today is located next to, and is connected with, the original office building in which Anne and her family hid for so long during the Holocaust.  Along with preserving the historical aspect of the site, the museum is also dedicated to using Anne’s words and memory to remind us of the consequences that follow hatred and discrimination.

I, like many other students, have read The Diary of Anne Frank.  I remember clearly wondering what it would have been like to remain indoors for 2 years.  I remember trying to imagine what a life in hiding would have been like; to never be seen, to never be heard, to know that your very existence depended on your ability to not exist, to hide yourself from the outside world.  But, as the museum tour reminded me today, Anne’s diary is not simply about the trials of living in hiding.  The diary is really about the trials of the human spirit.  Anne’s words and reflections show a sharp mind seeking understanding in the face of baseless hatred, reason in the face of chaos.  Anne often talks of her dreams, goals, and personal ambitions.  And I marvel at her audacity to maintain vision.  What courage and strength it must have taken to have hope in a life so full of fear and uncertainty.  It gives me the courage to have hope that tomorrow will be different than today, and that the fears and prejudices of the modern world will someday be a part of the past.

Along with the Anne Frank museum in the afternoon, our day trip to Amsterdam included a visit to Flora Holland, a canal boat tour of the city, and an on-your-own lunch excursion that the girls managed to turn into shopping.  Flora Holland is the premiere market for buying and selling flowers in Europe.  They export billions of flowers every year into the European countries surrounding the Netherlands.  We managed to get a group picture in one of the cool houses that stored plants for direct sell from grower to exporter.  It was a little bit of work to fit us all into the frame.

Everyone was very interested in the auction process and the speed at which the process was being accomplished by each department within the warehouse.  Just to give you some perspective, the warehouse alone has a floor space equal to about 22 football fields.  From the moment a flower is picked by a grower, to the moment the auction hands the flowers over to the exporter who paid for them only 24 hours have passed.  In addition to the sheer amount of flowers going being sold and bought, Flora Holland also differentiates their brand by offering consulting services, mediation services between growers and buyers, as well as conducting in-house research on the life of cut flowers and the cultivation and breeding of new types of flowers and plants.  I was very much in awe of the entire operation.

I have not yet decided whether I love Amsterdam or not.  I am trying to be as honest as possible so, to be honest, the verdict is still out.  I find it very interesting and picturesque.  I enjoy the history and I also usually enjoy large cities.  However, I was not overly in awe of any one particular place or aspect that was characteristically Amsterdam.  I do like the following picture I took of one of the many canals that cut through the city.  I took it while walking, trying to keep up with the group, and I saw many postcards with similar pictures— it is the quintessential image of Amsterdam.


Tomorrow is Brussels for the day with some of the girls and I am very excited.  I love the train and enjoy taking it anywhere in Europe.  At least I can “sleep in” tomorrow morning.  Of course, compared to this morning’s bus departure time of 3:00 A.M., 6:00 A.M. seems like sleeping in.”


The COB Ventures to the Netherlands!

On June 24th, several students in the COB embarked on a unique journey to the Netherlands. With two weeks to explore the country, the students were presented with an itinerary of planned events, along with scattered slots of free time to indulge in. During their stay, the students were asked to write about their experiences in order to share their adventures with anyone willing to listen. With this said, I will be featuring interesting stories from the traveling students over the next week!


High Hopes As COB Advising Doubles Their Staff!

Although I recently graduated, I still receive majority of COB e-mails, which is totally fine because I’m waiting to hear back from the Graduate Program. While sifting through these e-mails, I stumbled upon one that definitely sparked my interest. It was titled, “Advisor Assignment Changes”, and I was immediately curious what changes had been made. Upon opening the e-mail, I was pleasantly surprised at the content in front of my eyes. “Advising staff doubled! It can’t be true!” I said to myself. Though, true it is!

In my four years here at ECU, and more specifically with the COB, I have had little complaints in regards to my education. If I had been asked to constructively criticize any part of my experience, it would be probably be in regards to the excessive load that the advising staff constantly had on their shoulders. For such a large program with demanding course requirements and student questions, I have always been impressed with the hard working advising department. Although many, if prompted with statements of COB’s advising department, will provide negative feedback, they are neglecting to realize that they did the best they could with the resources at hand. Yes it was a competitive race to secure an appointment with your advisor and e-mail answers may have not always been quick, but as a whole, the COB advising staff put great efforts towards making sure each student had direction and opportunities.

I’m not denying the stress I endured as I anxiously awaited an e-mail answer, my registration pin, or even as the secretary tried to find me an appointment, but I was never disappointed with the end result. In fact, I applaud the efforts of the advising staff. I never felt as if I was uninformed about advising meetings, when appointments were available, or important registration information, and I blame any inconveniences experienced on the size of the staff.

With this, I think it’s extremely exciting that they have added three additional people to their staff, and have made changes to their assignments. By now having two advisors for first year students, three advisors for continuing students, and two advisors solely for online and transfer students, I think that we can all expect vast improvements. I have very high hopes for this change and transition, and I think that this decision will only better the College of Business.

Be sure to take advantage of our fabulous advising staff, and if you haven’t yet heard of this news, make sure you check and see if your advisor has changed. If your advisor has changed, I agree with what advisor Bradley Mcallister said in his e-mail and truly believe that no matter what “You will be in great hands”.

10 Small Ways To Add Some Fun To Your Summer!

So, school’s out, and once again we are faced with decisions regarding the best ways to enjoy our summer. If it were only fun and games though. In addition to enjoying our summer, it’s necessary to attempt to find ways to make money, be productive, and to most importantly, plan for our future. Summer is supposed to be relaxing right? It can be both relaxing and productive! It’s a great time to take a step back and to do some things that may have been placed on the back burner during the school year.

So, how are you spending your summer? Are you taking summer classes to get ahead? Did you get a great internship or job? Regardless of what you’ve chosen to do, make sure that you incorporate some fun into these few months! A great way to unwind is to travel, whether it be a couple hour drive, a couple hour flight, or a flight halfway across the world.

Thinking small (in means of cost and travel), here’s 10 ways to add some fun to your summer:

  1. Take a relaxing trip to the beach
  2. Get a group of friends together to attend a concert
  3. Visit a museum or local exhibit
  4. Volunteer at a local establishment
  5. Try a restaurant you’ve never tried
  6. Attend a personal fitness class
  7. Get tickets to see a local sports team
  8. Treat yourself to a day of shopping
  9. Go see a new movie at the theater
  10. Attend a play/musical

It’s important to make sure that everyone gets some time to unwind, especially when things get crazy and overwhelming. Making time for yourself is extremely important in achieving balance, and it’s also crucial in maintaining some sanity.

Look to more ways to add fun to your summer in upcoming blog posts!

Summer break doesn’t have to mean a break from the fun in college!

Staff & Faculty Rant Day!

Yesterday the students had their chance to rant on the student blog, so it’s only fair that the faculty and staff be given the chance to rant or even respond to posts made by students. Take a few minutes out of your day today and let any semester frustrations, funny stories, or random thoughts loose! All comments will be anonymous, so again, have fun and make sure to keep the rants appropriate. =)

Happy Reading Day!

Rant Away!


Speak Your Mind! Upcoming Rant Day!

Do you religiously read the Pirate Rants in the East Carolinian? Have you submitted a rant to the paper? Or do you simply want the chance to speak your mind?

The semester is wrapping up, frustrations and  stress are at an all-time high, and summer is on everyone’s mind! What else is on your mind? I know I could drop a few comments about things I’ve seen, heard, laughed about, or gotten angry about this semester, and I can only assume you could too! So, with this, I’m here to provide you with the opportunity to take those bottled up emotions or things you’re too afraid to say out loud and send them free!

I present you…. RANT DAY!

So, listen up! The College of Business Student Blog will be hosting two rant days next week on the reading days. Tuesday April 26th will be designated for students to rant about classes, teachers, or college life in general, and Wednesday April 27th will turn the tables and allow faculty and staff to rant! Sounds fun right? I thought so. The requirement to leave a name will be lifted on these days to allow for anonymous postings, so no need to worry about people associating any posts with your name. Simply post under the “Student Rants” or “Staff Rants” blog post title, or if you don’t have the urge to let loose, take a minute to enjoy reading the thoughts of your peers!

Rules of Rant Day:

  1. You are not allowed to post a rant that contains the name of a person, teacher, or staff member
  2. You are not allowed to use inappropriate vocabulary or curse words in your rants
  3. You are not allowed to use a rant as a means to threaten someone/something

Other than those simple rules, let your thoughts flow through your fingertips, and type away! There is no limit to how many rants you can post, but remember that your rant will be deleted if it breaks any of the three preceding rules.

Tell your friends, spread the word, and enjoy a chance to anonymously post your thoughts!

I’m Trying To Have A Future Here, There’s No Time For Resting!

So here it is, a little less than two weeks into April, meaning there is a little than two weeks left of classes. Frightening when you think about it that way. Correction: Exciting that the end is so near, but frightening at the amount of things that need to get done in that short period of time. Papers, presentations, and prep for exams defines the life for most of us, along with sleepless nights, accumulating stress, and frantic study sessions in the library. Is there really anyway to avoid the inevitable feeling of bombardment during the month of April? Could I have procrastinated less, managed my time better, or studied more to ease the pain?

Now I may be different than some of you, but I feel like regardless of what I do, I always feel the same. Throughout the semester I take great notes, attend my classes, do assignments on time, avoid procrastination, make study guides etc, yet every semester, the end creeps up and dumps a massive pile of things on my to-do list. With internships, jobs, organizations, and maintaining somewhat of a social life, there’s only so many hours in the day to put towards school work. At this point, I hardly even feel relief when I check one of my tasks off the list because the list seems never-ending. I consider myself a little obsessive compulsive, quite nerdy, and a borderline insomniac, and wrapping up my last semester of undergrad is taking its toll on my body. Pulling all-nighters has become a common solution to lack of time, and I’ve amazed myself at how incredibly casual and easy it has become to do so. Sometimes, I’ll even come across other friends who are pulling all-nighters and the act will morph itself into a social experience.

“Don’t lose yourself in the grind. You may lose your mind, but don’t ever lose you”

Like I said before, I have a sleeping problem. I’m not quite sure if this is due to my stress level, but I’m almost positive the two are related. It seems that in the moments I lay restless in bed, attempting to fall asleep, my mind neglects to relax. Instead, I can’t stop thinking about all of the things I need to accomplish the next day, the day after, and so forth. As a result, I either lie awake for hours or I fall asleep for a few hours and wake up ready to accomplish! I can only compare it to when its really important that you wake up at a certain time and because your mind is consciously and subconsciously focussed on getting up at that particular time, you wake up before your alarm even goes off. Usually when this happens, you feel awake, alert, and ready to go, and this is how I feel almost every day. There are times mid-day when I start to feel tired or dragging, but I’m most productive once the sun goes down, so my second wind kicks in!

I’ve learned to embrace this phenomenon, so functioning with little sleep has become a key part of my lifestyle. Are there other people with this problem? Are there other students who find themselves awake as anything at 3 A.M struggling to find something other than infomercials on television? Regardless of the lack of sleep, I still find myself stressed and overwhelmed, as I’m sure majority of the student body is feeling right now. Keeping organized, making checklists, and creating schedules for desired completion of tasks are definitely helpful, but I’m the first one to admit that the feeling never really subsides until every final grade is posted on OneStop.

Advice I’ve gotten has included “You need to relax”, “Don’t Procrastinate”, “Take one assignment at a time”, and my favorite, “Just be sure to get lots of sleep”. Like did you not listen to anything I just said! I think my stress is due to the ridiculous expectations that have been ingrained in my brain. You have to have work experience, you have to be involved, you have to have internships, and on top of all those you need to maintain great grades. Oh, and then you have to have a great resume, practice interview skills, and network with companies. If only doing all of these things guaranteed a job, but they don’t, because everyone else is doing the same thing! And, as each year goes by, newer and better things are added into the curriculum to help students conquer the dreaded economy making the competition even more fierce. There really isn’t a fool proof method to being successful. It comes from the perfecting of several components and the ability to outshine those around you. You have to find ways to differentiate yourself  and ways to make people remember you; otherwise your name will get lost in a stack of cookie-cutter resumes.

So like I’ve said before, don’t lose yourself in the grind. You may lose your mind, but don’t ever lose you. It’s all you’ve got that truly separates you from the person graduating to your right and the person graduating to your left. Whatever it is that separates you from others, SELL IT! Sell it to yourself and sell it to prospective employers.

You wouldn’t want to look back on all the stress, lack of sleep, bad habits, and the relief you never thought you’d achieve and feel as if it wasn’t worth it, would you? This is the foundation for your future, the beginning of what’s to come. I know the only thing that keeps me sane in times like these is remembering why I’m here and most importantly, where I want to be.

Two more weeks. Keep your head up and keep trucking whether you graduate May of this year, next year, or even the next.

Tomorrow Starts Here.

Student Spotlight! The Effects Of The MSA Program!

With this blog, I not only want to share my personal experiences, opinions, and daily feats. It is also my intention to shine the light in an alternate direction towards the lives of other students here at ECU and to showcase their unique personalities. For this week’s student spotlight, I’ve chosen to zero in on a very bright, intriguing, and full of life individual.

Currently in her last semester of the MSA program here at ECU, Kate Scarabelli, filled me in on how she arrived in the MSA program, and most importantly, the impact that it has had on her life. Interestingly enough, Kate went to NC State and got her undergraduate degree in Communications and Theatre. After she completed her undergraduate degree, Kate worked for about five years, but in 2008, she decided that she desired to return for further schooling. With the decision to go back to school solidified, Kate spent about a year deciding which direction that she wanted to pursue her Masters level studies in. Ultimately, Kate stumbled upon ECU’s MSA program and decided that because they prepared non-accounting undergraduate students for careers in accounting, the program would be a great fit for her. Currently, Kate lives in Greenville with her husband, five cats, seven dogs, and five goats, on about 10 acres out in the country. Kate has stated that her decision to come to ECU was a great one and that she has deeply enjoyed her experience. As she wraps up her last semester here and preps for the CPA exam, Kate reflected back on ten things that she learned in MSA program.

1.       Debits on the left, credits on the right. That is the secret to a balanced life.

2.       Graduate students age quickly. A full head of grey hair/no hair by graduation can happen.

3.       Accounting nightmares. When you do finally take the time to sleep, dreams become nightmares. Nightmares about tax returns, tick marks and calculator malfunctions are popular.

4.       Sleeping with your head on your book does not magically place the information inside your brain.

5.       Stone tablet syllabus. No matter how much you nag your professor, your professor will not change the syllabus. It may as well be engraved on a stone tablet.

6.       Your jokes no longer make sense to your spouse/mother/dog/friend. For example, only accountants think the joke, “Why did the auditor cross the road? Because that is what they did last year” is funny.

7.       Watching 43 minutes of TV per day may make you feel a little guilty. Unless you can find a TV show about accounting.

8.       Ten hours of studying per day is not enough.

9.       Do or do not…there is no try.

10.   Embrace your dorky side, you will be rewarded.

With hard work, comes success, but be sure not to lose “you” in your future pursuits!


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