I think I’d like to work in the United States.
This week we visited a company called Veolia. Veolia’s offices are located on the 79th floor of a very tall building. First we visited the offices and afterwards we met a French team who work for the company.
We spoke with the team in French. They explained the differences between working in the United States and France. They all seemed to prefer the American working environment because it’s not as stressful. Co-workers get along much better and have fewer problems, people are friendlier, and the hierarchical system isn’t as important in the U.S. as it is in France.
We also talked about Veolia’s missions, its position in the environmental business, their methods, and how the company has established an international presence throughout the world.
It was a very interesting visit, and I was happy to be able to participate. I certainly think that, after all the companies we’ve visited here in Chicago, that I too would prefer to work in the United States rather than in France.
It was a lot of fun helping to create something I’m not used to.
Here in Chicago, I live in student housing with two American roommates and one French roommate. One of them studies fashion and she is graduating at the end of this semester. She’s really cool and interesting, and a month ago she told me about a project she’s been working on.
Swarovski, the jewelry and crystal brand, is selecting two students from her school to create a new pair of shoes for a fashion show in New York City. She’s been under a lot of stress because she hasn’t had much time to work on this project and it’s a big challenge—but she’s also aware that it’s a huge opportunity.
This week was the final week before her project was due, so she stayed up late working on it, slept very little, and spent most of each day at her school. Last weekend she asked me if I had some spare time this week to help her. I said yes because I found the project really interesting and she is a nice person. If I can help her out that makes me happy.
I met her at her school, which is a short walk from our place. When I arrived, my first thought was, “Wow, this is so cool!” The room we worked in was a standard design classroom with huge wooden tables, upbeat music playing over speakers, and students working on different projects. Everyone was concentrating really hard and completely invested in his or her work.
I spent a few hours there helping her with simple tasks. I hope I did them well; she seemed happy, but I was pretty nervous about making a mistake. It was a lot of fun to be there in a completely new environment, helping to create something I’m not used to. I found it really interesting and I surprised myself with how well I was able to concentrate and be precise. It was a great experience and I was happy to live it here in Chicago.
I found a little piece of home here.
On Tuesday night Chris and I joined two of our teachers for dinner at a French bistro called Kiki’s. Once we arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by the decor and atmosphere of the restaurant.
I was shocked. It really looked like a French bistro. After entering the restaurant, I felt like I was no longer in the U.S. I felt really happy as if I were at home in Paris.
As for the meal, the food was excellent and really worthy of a good French cook. We had a great time with our teachers. We laughed a lot, talked a lot, and had a fun evening. I think that was the time I felt my best in Chicago.
Since I arrived two months ago, I’ve felt homesick. Kiki’s was the only place I’ve found in Chicago where I didn’t feel that way. It really made me happy to feel like I was in France and to find a little piece of home here. The restaurant seemed almost magical to me.
I’d advise everyone to go to Kiki’s because it’s excellent and the service is really great. I especially recommend it to future French students studying in Chicago who might be homesick!
Valentine Van Der Slikke
We talked about the differences between working in France and the U.S.
On Thursday morning we visited a company called Veolia. It was a great experience. The offices were on the 79th floor of a tall building and provided beautiful views of Chicago.
While we were there we had a really interesting talk with a French team who worked at Veolia. We talked about the differences between working in France and the U.S.—especially the fact that Americans are on time and French people aren’t so much. We also talked about how French people have a lot more meetings than Americans do, and how much time is lost during those meetings.
From there we talked about the company itself. We discussed the challenges Veolia has faced, its market, and its main competitors. At the end of the visit, we received goodie bags that had a T-shirt, water bottle, and other little gadgets inside. It was very nice.
This week we also started a new session of classes with new professors. I am very excited to learn more in each new class. All of our professors are great and interesting. I’m especially excited about my writing class. I hope I’ll learn more vocabulary and my writing will improve.
I can’t believe I only have a little more than a month left in Chicago! I still have so much to see and do!
The people we met seemed to know exactly how to answer our questions.
This week we started the second half of our semester here in Chicago. We began new classes, which are very interesting. I hope I will learn a lot. I’ve been trying to work on my personal project, which is to connect with and have a better understanding of the music industry here in Chicago. Ideally, I would like to somehow work in this industry in the future.
We also visited a company called Veolia this week, and we met with some French people who work there. It was a really informative visit. Veolia’s offices are located inside one of the tallest buildings in Chicago, and the view is simply amazing.
We took a tour of the offices and the people we met seemed to know exactly what questions we wanted to ask and how to answer them. They told us about the differences between working in the United States and France, and what they liked about working at Veolia. I learned a lot and all of my questions were answered.