30 June 2014

Adventures in Paris: Student Reflections on the International Placement Program

Day 1
We arrived in Paris at the start of the University of Sydney Business School's International Placement Program early Sunday and joined together for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. The very next day we were off to work! We were all very excited, as we had no idea what to expect. On the way to work we saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time, which was pretty remarkable and a great start to the day!

My work placement is with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), within the Executive Director’s office. After arriving at the OECD, I realised that I was working in a very separate building from the rest of the students. Straight away I was sent off with a company shuttle and was greeted by my supervisor. Raymond, who works with my supervisor, spent a lot of time explaining the organisation to me, what I will be doing and even gave me a guided tour around the area and introduced me to the staff. 

The day was very exciting. I got to meet a number of people at the office, including senior level staff. We went to a budget committee where representatives from all member countries at the OECD discussed the upcoming year's budget. Later on at that day myself, Raymond and my supervisor Greg went to lunch and had a good chat about Paris, my background and generally got to know each other rather well. I felt very included. The work is truly of interest to me, as it is directly relevant to my studies and future career prospects. I couldn’t have asked for a better placement!

Day 2
On the second day of work I got invited to join in a corporate run in a park in Bois du Boulogne. Apparently, this is a big event and people are very competitive as there is a prize for the department with the highest attendance. My department, Programme of Work and Budgeting, won by one person and we were all very excited!

In the evening we had our first lecture at one of France's top universities', SciencesPo, which included a very interesting discussion about European history, and how the European Union was formed. The lecturer was a very well renowned author, professor and researcher in European history and politics, Christian Lequesne. The lecture finished at 9pm and the group decided to have some drinks at one of the adorable cafes in the area. You've gotta love Paris!

Another day at work and I am starting to wrap my head around my project. I have been assigned to create a geographical visualisation report based upon the member countries' responses to the publications and products of the OECD. It is very exciting as I have to manage a lot of information which aligns with my BIS studies. Luckily, my co-supervisor helps me with the more advanced excel functions and how to read the statistics. It was also my turn to have the trophee in my office for our efforts in the run – a nice memento for the day!

On the way home we did some sightseeing and got to see what Paris has to offer - beautiful architecture, the Eiffel Tower and adorable streets.

The only thing I can complain about is the coffee culture - I rather be tired than drinking this coffee!

Anette Hansen
Current student at the University of Sydney Business School and participant in the International Placement Program in Paris, France

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