Where I was & What I did
While in Europe I was able to visit four countries during a two month period: the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, the French Republic, and the Kingdom of Spain. Visiting these countries opened my eyes to the importance of global communication. It was amazing to take a two hour plane ride and be in a totally different culture and language. Because of this, from a communications perspective, Europe is extremely different than the United States. It has so much more history and deeply rooted communication practices.
Since my focus in Kennesaw’s MAIGC program is travel and tourism, I was able to concentrate my visits to that. I had the opportunity to do interviews and research at the Eiffel Tower, Disneyland Paris, Big Ben, historical sites in Dublin, La Familia Sagrada, and at La Alhambra, just to name a few sites.
By far out of all the sites I visited Disneyland Paris was the most memorable experience. Disneyland Paris was so special to me because I used to work at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. As well, I hope to be rehired as a cast member after I have finished my graduate degree at Kennesaw.
While at Disneyland Paris I was able to do ethnographic work on how many people were buying merchandise from the stores and in the future I will compare it to a similar study I will do at the Walt Disney World Resort. This builds on research I did last semester in my Communication for Multinational Corporations class with Dr. Gao. In her class I created a case study based on the communication failures of Disneyland Paris. Based on my research and ethnographic study, I feel as though their current failure is in selling merchandise. The park has the numbers it needs, for the most part, but when guests come to the park they aren’t buying much.
Some advice I would give to those visiting Disneyland Paris is to be calm and just take it all in. When people visit another country or Disney they just want everything to be perfect and have a dream time. Ones experience will be much ever if they just remain calm and don’t set their expectations too high. You will meet people who don’t speak english well. You have to be able to accept that and not get frustrated. You can’t let being in a foreign country overwhelm you, because that’s when you panic.
As well, you need to just take in your environment. Take a beat and sit down just to observe the culture. I noticed that people tried to force their cultural norms when they were traveling abroad, this is a pointless battle. You have to adjust to your host country if you want to have a successful time there. This goes for all countries and places you visit, not just Disneyland Paris.