All told, there were 8,000+ photos on our Flickr site. While we had some AMAZING photographers on the trip, we couldn’t fit every photo into the slideshow or we would be watching photos into next week. So if you’d like to see all of the photos from the trip visit our Flickr photostream. Otherwise, watch this slideshow to get a feel for what our trip to SEA was like:
Tomorrow night is the final gathering for the MARK 561 course, but hopefully, it’s not the final time we are all together. The media team would like to say thank you…
Thank you to everyone who read this blog, shared the posts with others, and commented on it. We hope it gave you a good idea of what this adventure was like for us.
Thank you to our classmates for giving us your testimonials, sharing your photos and videos, gathering together at the last minute for group photos at random times, and supporting the work we’ve been doing to preserve these memories.
Finally, thank you to Professor Shultz and the Quinlan School of Business for having this course and this unique opportunity during our graduate studies.
Get ready for an outstanding video presentation tomorrow night!
Your media team,
Beth, Dave, Steve, Jenny
By: Jenny Weigle
For the next group of students taking MARK 561 and embarking on the journey to Southeast Asia, some of our classmates have great tips and advice for you:
- Elizabeth S.: Go to the market, especially in Cambodia, with Dr. Shultz. He knows what’s good and bad merchandise, and he has a better idea of what asking price is reasonable vs. absurd.
- Steve P.: Yeah agreed, spend your cash load in Cambodia. Consider getting walkie talkies for the trip.
- Meghan B.: Takes notes in the classes leading up to the trip because there were some details you’ll need to know, like where to send all your trip info and such. And go on as many optional tours and trips (Mekong Delta) as you can!
- Dave S.: Be adventurous! Shop early and often. Don’t stress about money/transactions/getting ripped off. The only regrets were over things we didn’t buy, but don’t forget those crispy bills. And splurge for the international data on your phone so you can communicate with each other and the outside world (it’s worth it).
- Jesse L.: Plan your free time in advance. You will run out of time to do everything you want to do.
- Caroline O.: Go early and stay late. Visit another country, or extend your stay in Vietnam and/or Thailand. Bring lots of crisp $1 bill rolls. Purchase an international data plan — even though the hotels claim to have wifi, service will be shoddy at best. & don’t pet the monkeys!
- Marcy S.: Pick one or two people in the class to be the medicine cabinet. Not everyone needs to bring Tums, Pepto or bug spray even – plus it frees up room in your precious luggage space!
- Mike L.: Besides staying early or late, I’d say bring dry-fit clothing. It doesn’t sweat through. It’s easy to wash in the sink/dries fast, and compact for luggage.
- Greg S.: Mike is a genius! Bring dry-fit clothing to keep cool. Maximize your free time.
Wishing future classes many adventures and good times in MARK 561!
For groups and individuals headed out on this trip in the future, here are some of the technologies and gadgets that helped make the marketing team’s job much easier. While some of this technology may be irrelevant in a year, for us, these tools proved to be an invaluable resource.
While there are many platforms out there (tumblr, blogger, etc), our team chose to host our blog on wordpress.com for it’s ease of use and capabilities to post multi-media. While wordpress started out as a traditional blogging site for text and photos, it really has blossomed into a fullblown content management site where you can post videos, web links, html code and more. This allows you, the marketer, the possibilities you need in order to make a creative and compelling blog. Another bonus is that Loyola’s main blog is hosted by wordpress also which could allow some of our posts to easily translate into their system.
Dropbox.com is possibly one of the best tools to come about in the last 1-2 years. Dropbox allows you to share files (media, text, etc) over the cloud with multiple users. What is the Cloud? The cloud is a fancy way of saying “Not on your computer but in a digital file somewhere in the internet universe.” So when creating a video with multiple editors or sharing documents with various parties, dropbox allows you to do that FOR FREE. You can share it with people all over the world or at the desk next to you.
We chose to host our photos on flickr.com. We are still in the midst of figuring out if this was the best system but it worked well for our purposes. We paid for a pro membership which means that we have unlimited storage for a full year. That allows us to share the login information with everyone in the course and they are able to upload all of their photos to one place. Flickr then lets you download individual photos in their original format making it possible for the marketing team to create the video and slideshow with all of their classmate’s material instead of just their own. Check out our photostream here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/90933545@N02/
Kodak Play Camera
Two of us on the marketing team purchased a Kodak Play video camera before leaving for the trip. This camera is tiny making it super easy to carry around with you wherever video needs to be taken. My version happened to waterproof, drop proof and dust proof which definitely came in handy taking videos on a boat and on the dusty temples. There are many different brands that make this type of technology but we found success with our Kodak cameras. Also – tip – as this trip leaves right after the holidays, check out the Amazon deals of the day as that is where we found our cameras for much cheaper than original price.
This free app you can download from iTunes was a fun little tool to play with. It creates stop motion videos. Why is that necessary? It isn’t. But it does make for a cool depiction of crossing the street, traveling up a river or watching a sunrise – things that normally take a long time can be compressed into a few shots. This is very helpful when editing down a lot of footage into a 5 minute video. In order to export your videos, you will have to pay $1.99 to do so. So my suggestion is to download the free version, play with it, and if you like what you see, buy the full version to upload. Here is an example of the stop motion video you can create:
Internet access was a bit tricky for us. In Vietnam we had wireless internet in our rooms and in the hotel lobby which made it easy to post and connect back home. After that, the internet access was really sporadic. Our hotel in Cambodia only had wifi in the lobby and it was very slow and unreliable. Our hotel in Bangkok offered wifi and wired internet in the rooms/lobby but charged per minute making it not very affordable for us. That being said, if you have to be connected back home, whether it be for work or personal reasons, it might be worth it to purchase an international data plan on your phone. That way you would be able to skype/facetime with loved ones back home and be able to check/write email or social media when needed. It was pretty difficult to keep up with the blog while traveling so be sure to take good notes so you can complete entries when you arrive back home.
Other than that, feel free to contact anyone from our trip if you have any specific media questions or questions related to technology.
Keeping what country we were in and what currency we were to use was quite the headache – but thanks to technology we were able to solve that riddle easily. Some of the members of the trip downloaded an app to their iPhone which easily converted the currency of the country to USD. That way you could go up to an ATM and easily pull out the correct amount of money without holding everyone up in line. But let me back up for a second. What are the three different currencies and how do they compare to the USD?
Currency #1: Vietnam Dong (VND)
It was in Vietnam that some of us, okay all of us, had our first chance at feeling what it was like to be a millionaire. That is because when we were in Vietnam, the Dong’s exchange rate was 1 USD = 21,000 Dong. So to take out $50 USD worth of money from an ATM, you would essentially be pulling out 1,000,000 Dong. Pretty cool. So how far did that 1M Dong go? Well, it depended on the person. I know someone who managed to spend no more than the 1M Dong in the 4 days we were in Vietnam. Others (like myself) probably spent about 3M Dong ($150). It all depended on where you ate, how many souvenirs you bought and how many drinks you decided to imbibe. While Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) ran about $1-2 a bowl, you could also go to a fancier French restaurant and spend about $20-25 on a glass of wine, soup and an entrée. I chose to compare inflation and costs based on the price of a diet coke in a convenience store as I felt that was a bit more stable. The cost of a diet coke in Vietnam was 9,500-11,000 Dong or about 50 cents.
Currency #2: Cambodian Riel (KHR)
Cambodia was where it really got interesting. Before we left, Professor Schultz informed us that in Cambodia, the USD was king. That ATMs would mostly likely be spitting out USD and that vendors, restaurants and pubs would gladly take American money, as long as it was crisp and new. While I knew this going in, I didn’t quite believe it until we got to Cambodia and all I received from ATMs were USD ($50 bills!!) and all I used were American dollars. The interesting thing is most of the time when you received change from said vendor, restaurant or pub, you got it back in riel. So you had to be aware of the exchange rate (1 USD = 4,000 KHR) in order to properly make change and ensure you were getting a fair amount back. So perhaps Cambodia felt more expensive because we were paying for things in USD but ask anyone, we were all happiest to spend our money in Cambodia more than anywhere else on the trip. Their markets simply had more trinkets and scarves, had people more willing to bargain and had a sense of good will that other countries just didn’t have. Okay, the test. How much was a diet coke? Typically a can of coke was 1 USD. While some of the higher end restaurants we went to charged $3 (!!) most vendors charged $1.
Currency #3: Thai Baht (THB)
We spent the least amount of time in Thailand but some of us found that we spent more money there than in other countries. Why? It was a bigger city and things were priced like a bigger city. It was harder to find bargains – most of the items in the market were ‘fixed price’ in that prices were written on the items instead of ‘bargain price’ where the vendor informed you of the price and you worked them down to what you wanted to pay. The conversion rate was 1USD = 28 – 30 THB. So pulling out $50 USD from the ATM meant you were pulling out about 1500 THB from the ATM. And that really didn’t go far. My usual method of comparison (price of Diet Coke) had to be changed slightly as Coke Zero is king in Thailand. Oddly enough, Coke Zero was everywhere and only the airport and a select few vendors sold Diet Coke or Coke Light. At the 7-11 near our hotel (yes, 7-11 is all of the place in Thailand), a .5L bottle of Coke Zero was 17 Baht or 50 cents. Not much different than Vietnam actually.
So what did that teach us? Essentially we had to stay on top of the exchange rates in each country we went to but that the USD is a really strong and stable currency compared to the three mentioned above. But this comparison also shows that prices were very reasonable and one could spend less than $200 USD on this trip by budgeting carefully. Many of us spent more than that because there were just so many fun things to buy and the people we were buying the items from needed that $1 USD more than we did perhaps. I would say though, that if you asked anyone on the trip, they would not regret spending the amount of money that they did and that maybe, they wished they had bought that one last souvenir or memento instead of holding back.
*Personal opinions were of Beth Kondrat – currency exchange rates were taken on 1/22/2013 from Google Currency Converter
By: Jenny Weigle
Re-read the title of this post while singing the theme song to “Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego.” It’s much more entertaining that way, I promise.
Each day of our trip was packed with activities, tours, speeches and new experiences. I thought you might like to know exactly where our journey took us. Below you’ll find the official itinerary for the trip. I’m told that each year this is changed up a bit, so here’s what the class of 2013 experienced:
By: Jenny Weigle
I’ve been home for 5 days now, and in these 5 days, I’ve felt like the MARK 561 course was almost a dream. My personal journey with this course started back in January 2012. I attended an information session for Loyola’s Graduate School of Business. I was particularly interested in the study abroad opportunities, since this was something I had never experienced with my undergraduate program. Professor Clifford Shultz was introduced during the session, and he spoke about his recent return from taking the 2012 class to Southeast Asia. We viewed a quick video clip of the trip, and in that instant I knew. Something inside me said that I would be going on that trip one day.
Fast forward to August 2012. I eagerly awaited the announcement from Loyola on where the Winter Quarter study abroad class would take place. When MARK 561 was announced, I signed up as soon as I could. Having been to S. Korea once in my life, I was eager to return to Asia and learn more from other countries there.
During the trip, each city we visited was a very different experience for me, each one of them priceless. In Vietnam, I was so intrigued by their business community and how almost everyone is a small business owner. I was moved to tears the day we visited the War Remnants Museum and the Cu Chi Tunnels. I can’t even fathom what it must have been like to be living in Vietnam during the war. In Cambodia, I had a mix of shock, awe and curiosity. I was shocked when we saw the floating villages and the homes along Tonle Sap lake. I was in awe over the beauty of Angkor Wat and all of the temples we saw. My curiosity stemmed from wondering what the future holds for Cambodia’s people and economy. I cried when I heard Bunthin’s (our guide) story about surviving during the reign of the Khmer Rouge and during the war. Finally, I was only in Bangkok for 36 hours, but during those hours I felt a strong connection to our guide, Tuk. She had a deep pride and love for her country, this was obvious, and she so badly wanted to share it with us.
I was lucky to be able to go on the excursion to Phuket, which was not part of the official class, but it was a wonderful opportunity to further bond with my classmates. Phuket is quite possibly the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in the world.
My advice to anyone considering taking this course: If you’re even thinking about it, DO IT. Professor Shultz knows each country well (perhaps better than he knows Chicago…his words, not mine), and he will show you a learning experience like no other. When the course is done, you’ll walk away with stories that you’ll one day tell your grandchildren. You’ll have more pictures than you know what to do with, and you’ll have 20+ new friends to share the memories with.