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A Visit From the Other Side of the World
by at 8am, July 13, 2007
It is always an interesting experience to see America through an international's eyes. Things that we take for granted, or think of as being perfectly normal (Club Salad, for example) may seem completely strange to someone from another country.
For two days this week, we played host to Vladimir Drylev, a 20-year old business student from Ust-Kamenogorsk in East Kazakhstan (it's a fairly large country in Eurasia that borders Russia and China - thank you, Wikipedia). Vladimir is taking part in a program offered by his university that sends students to America for six weeks to observe business practices and models. Since non-profit organizations don't even exist in former USSR countries, the program liaisons in Evansville thought it might be a good experience for him to observe our business practices. Susan Turner and Rick Barton spent several hours with him, explaining what we do, how we do it, and perhaps most importantly, why we do it. Vladimir would like to eventually start up his own finance business, so they talked to him about everything from record keeping to business ethics. Vladimir had questions about American business practices, costs of living, and various other topics.
We also took him to lunch, which gave him a chance to experience American restaurants. We've learned that meals in Kazakstan are structured differently, and they apparently eat much less. He described a Club Salad as "crazy" - it was definitely not what he was used to! He is also not terribly fond of McDonalds, but then, neither am I.
During the rest of his stay in Evansville, he'll spend time at several financial institutions in order to do more observing, as well as getting to know the area a little better. He's already visited Holiday World - he loved the wooden roller coasters!
It was an enjoyable and educational two days for all of us, and we hope that Vladimir will remember his time with us fondly.