GlobalMBA Cohort 19: Coronavirus update

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WARSAW— The grocery stores are madhouses, as are the Rossmans (think CVS or Wal-

greens). The soap/hand sanitizers aisle and toilet paper aisles at the latter are near empty. Classes at the University of Warsaw (UW) are canceled until April 14 due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.  The World Health Organization today declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic.

A Polish colleague in the cohort first found out classes were canceled through the news and notified the rest of us late on March 10. Classes were canceled as of March 11.

The University of North Florida (UNF) has suspended all summer study abroad programs. 

As of today, March 11, Cohort 19 was specifically told via email by UW and UNF program directors to stay in Poland, for now. The plan is to continue classes here remotely.

As of today, there are 27 reported coronavirus cases in Poland. According to Restriction III in UNF’s Coronavirus March 10 update, if there are more than 100 cases in the country in which students are currently abroad on university travel, students are required to return to the U.S. and recommended to self quarantine for 14 days. See a global map here.

The GlobalMBA program, which the eight U.S. students have collectively invested more than $160,000 in tuition alone, is a double master degree program with one semester in each of four countries: fall in Germany, spring in Poland (our current residence), summer in China and fall in the U.S., with students from each country participating together. 

Due to U.S. immigration office safety precautions and regulations, the fear is the non-US students will not be allowed into the U.S. after going to China to complete the semester. 

 

This leaves Cohort 19 with a whirl of questions*:

  • If we do continue our semester in Poland, which recently started, remotely, what does reimbursement for our tuition look like? It is common knowledge that in-class instruction is generally more expensive than remote courses, and in-class instruction is what we paid for.
  • Many cohort members invested in the program specifically to be able to live and study in China, as this is such an incredible opportunity especially when considering a career in international business. How are the program directors working to adapt the program to still accommodate this expectation? Have they considered delaying the China semester to Spring 2021 or Summer 2021 with next years’ cohort?
  • If our semester in China is also remote, how much will the cost of tuition decrease?
  • What happens to our program if none of the non-American students are allowed into the U.S. due to immigration office restrictions from fear of the coronavirus?
  • For some cohort members, graduating on time in Dec. 2020 is the priority. For others, the intercultural experience of a semester in China is the most important factor. Will the cohort’s concerns be weighed into the  options and decision-making for the future of the program?
  • And, perhaps the most important one, how will the Chinese government be held accountable on the global stage for its part in the spread of the coronavirus with its secrecy and suppression of the danger, to help ensure a global situation such as this will not happen again?

*Note: not all Cohort members share every question or applicability of affectedness

Welcome to Warsaw, now eat some pierogis

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The semester in Cologne ended with finals and more group projects than I’ve worked on throughout my entire prior university career.

So long, Cologne!

I found an awesome apartment on Ottodom.pl and flew via RyanAir straight into the Modlin Airport just about an hour from Warsaw’s city center.

Agnieszka, a Warsaw native and fellow friend in Cohort 19, showed me around the Old Town and took me straight to Zapiecek, a traditional Polish restaurant where I enjoyed a plate full of pierogis.

Classes at the University of Warsaw have begun and the vibe is totally different than it was in Cologne. It is a welcome and refreshing change. Na Zdrowie!

Kurdish Demonstration Cologne, Germany VIDEO – THE DAILY PROTEST

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Kurdish demonstration in Cologne

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Kurdish residents of Cologne, Germany, demonstrate in Cologne, on Saturday, October 19, following the withdrawal of American troops, Turkish air strikes and, most recently, the agreement between Vice President Mike Pence(on President Trump’s behalf) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey for the pause of Turkish military actions, other than self defense, in North-East Syria. (Photos by Rachel Jones)

Kurdish Demonstration drew crowds at the Cologne Cathedral & Central Station

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On Sunday, October 13, I exited the Cologne Central Station in front of the Cathedral just before 6 p.m. and faced a Kurdish demonstration. This followed the week President Trump withdrew United States forces from Kurdish-held territory in Northeast Syria, and Turkey had begun airstrikes on the region. (Photos by Rachel Jones)

Haus der Geschichte (House of History) Bonn

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“Our History, Germany since 1945″

I didn’t know how much it rains this time of year here before I left Florida. It has rained most days in October so far, and the last week of September. So, our trip to Bonn was wet and cold. We had intended to go to the castle (maybe next time!), but ended up making the quick decision to go to the Haus der Geschichte, the German History museum nearby purely to be dry and warm.

I have lost count of the number of museums I have explored in Germany, but this one was still fascinating. I will not recount Germany’s history here, but here are some images from the journey through time.