Tis the end!

As we wrap up this blog series, we would first like to thank our fearless leaders, Niklas, Clas, and Debra for setting up and coordinating this large group of students and navigating us through 4 cities in 3 different countries.  Also, we would like to take a moment and appreciate our classmates for being so open and friendly during this trip as it made the travels and visits much more enjoyable, and we were able to learn a lot from all of you as well! Lastly, we want to thank YOU, the readers for taking time out of your days to read our blogs and keep up with our posts.

Note: all the photos selected for this last blog are the ones that we thought were some of our favorites.  We hope you enjoy them!

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Standing Tall in Gothenburg

We started this trip with high expectations of the companies and cities we were to visit, and we have to say we were not disappointed.  Although there were many differences between American culture and the culture of Scandinavian businesses, there were also some similarities.  We were able to learn not just from the businesses but also from how the cities operated, and from our daily interactions with locals.  

Sweden, was such a beautiful experience for us; both Gothenburg and Stockholm showed us that Democratic Socialism can have many benefits for the city, country, and its people.  Whether it be the mandatory 5 week paid vacations that all citizens get, or that they are trying to be more diverse and integrated within their workforces; American culture can learn a lot from how some of the businesses in Sweden operate.  Although it would be unrealistic to think that we could apply all of these factors into American society, some of them such as being more diverse and integrated within large corporations is something that we could learn from.

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Stockholm At Night

Estonia was a very unique country in the sense there was such a different culture from Sweden (there appeared to be a large mix of Russian, Eastern European, and Estonians that lived there).  Also, there were parts of Tallinn that were very old and historic, and just around the corner was a much larger “city-like” vibe.  For such a small country, Estonia has figured out a system that allows its citizens and residents to have access to their data anywhere. They have also found a way to provide education at a top university such as the Tallinn Technical University for free (or very cheaply) to all people (even those that are not European citizens).  As a developed nation, America is very culturally different from Estonia.  Not only is education at a major university not free, but we also are behind in technologies such as “chip readers” and integrating all of our databases so that information can flow freely and is easily accessible to all citizens and residents.  Although there are probably still issues with these systems, Estonia is still striving to better their current systems, and it is something that America has been much slower to do.  

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A Russian Orthodox Church

Finland also opened our eyes to a lot of culturally similar business models to that of America.  Rovio had a very Silicon Valley feel to it, and even a smaller lesser-known company called WunderDog, has meeting areas with large bean bag chairs and hammocks for their employees (WunderDog even has a policy for their employees to remove their shoes in the workforce so they are comfortable and relaxed).  These companies definitely shared some similar cultural insights to that of American companies, and we were pleasantly surprised to see something familiar that during those visits.

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The beautiful Helsinki Cathedral

In conclusion, we would like to again, thank everyone that made this trip possible.  We really feel as though the Business in Scandinavia Travel course met and exceeded our expectations for expanding our knowledge of international businesses. It helped us attain a good understanding of the cultural differences and similarities between the Scandinavian and American business models.  We hope to see some of you on our adventures in the future!

FINAL NOTE: One little bonus food vlog for y'all!