Soo.. here’s the recap of my last few days in MN.
NAFSA Day 2: Day two wasn’t as omfg overwhelming as Tuesday was. I actually got a few good sessions and had lunch at <a href=”http://www.masa-restaurant.com/”>Masa</a> a trendy, quite over priced “contemporary” Mexican place. My one little enchilada and rice was about $12.00 O_o!
They get an A+ for presentation, F- for value.
Toni and I wandered back to the conference and split up for various sessions, including one that will be useful when I go back to Japan in the winter. It was on preparing your US students to go to Japan; and I must say I wish I’d had some of that info when I went the first time. I found it amusing that they felt the need to point out a lot of the students they get at Waseda and Iware daigaku are often otaku (or superfans) of anime and video games who have no real idea about Japanese culture.
Then I went to dinner with our colleague from Italiadea at <a href=”http://www.cafelurcat.com/”>Cafe’ Lurcat</a> I liked the food, the atmosphere wasn’t my thing as it was a very pretentious, we’re haute kind of place. Small white chairs, small white plates, white linen all over the place. My pot roast was served in a small copper pot, and was so tender it fell apart when I put it on the plate. Our evening with Carolina was good, but a little too long for my tastes, I was tuckered out and ready to go about a half hour before we finally left.
I got back to find that my key was still not working in the door and the front desk reprogramming it didnt help. I had to get someone to let me in. And to top it off the internet was’nt working when I got into the room. I just wanted to surf a bit before bed, but I called it quits and went to sleep.
NAFSA Day 3: Day 3 wasn’t too bad in the beginning, but I did manage to miss an 8 am session I really, really wanted to go to. By the time I got up there wasn’t enough time to get there without paying for cab or just coming in late. I did manage to make it to the rest of the sessions I wanted to go to, and all was well until the last session of the day. It was labled as a session on improving your International Programs Office. it was actually a very thinly veiled sales pitch for them to get some new agreements with Universities. The handouts were all about their University, and nothing about their International Program Office at all. They launched into a history of higher Ed in South Africa (Johannesburg to be precise, where their Uni is located)
The other part of the hand out was a blank MoA (Memorandum of Agreement) for their University and a blank line where you could fill in the name of your Uni. They were also very aggressive about getting the business cards of the participants at the session, demanding one when you picked up the hand outs. They also passed out a box to collect cards. I was so furious because based on the title I went to this session, and its a hard sales pitch for their University? What kind of shit is that to pull at a conference? I know its set up far in advance, but this is ridiculous. Even though I walked out of the session, I left a feedback form with all negative remarks.
At least I did get to catch up with our Study Abroad Director, and go to a useful meeting with the folks we do have new agreement with for the fall term. Then we hit <a href=”http://www.firelakerestaurant.com/”>Fire Lake</a> for some <a href=”http://www.firelakerestaurant.com/menus.php?mID=7″>Happy Hour cheap eats</a>… must say BBQ Lamb ribs are tasty if a little fatty.
We ambled about <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicollet_Mall”>Nicollet Mall</a> and beyond to see if there was a cinema anywhere to be found. We finally found one but none of the movies appealed to all 3 of us so Sharon & Aga decided to head down to the lakes after walking me back to the hotel. I flopped down once I was inside, but didn’t get much of a chance to rest since an Engineer came up to replace the whole door lock assembly. Apparently doors don’t work well in this place, as the doorknob to the room Toni and I were in fell off at one point of our stay.
This meant that Toni & John had to get security to let them in because I couldn’t wait up past 11 for them to get back from their dinner meeting. I felt bad about them being locked out but they were able to get in to the room
NAFSA Day 4 was the shortest in terms of attending conference sessions. There was only one session I felt like I must really attend, it was on insurance liability for both International Students and Study Abroad students. There were actually some very good points raised, and it makes me wonder what the general student health insurance covers for our international students and if we have a mandatory policy? There was an example given of a school that was sued by a medical provider because of an uninsured International Student’s medical bill that could not be paid by the student, after that they went to mandatory insurance for EVERYONE.
I know as an employee I have to have insurance, or proof of other coverage… not sure what the policy is for our int’l students. I should check into that. I got in a little shopping and relaxing along <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicollet_Mall”>Nicollet Mal</a>l including the Target Center and I peered through the Macy’s there and <a href=”http://www.judysbook.com/cities/minneapolis-mn/Home-and-Garden/26660389/p1/Love_from_Minnesota.htm”>Love from Minnesot</a>a for some souvenirs for people. After braving an impromptu rain storm, I met with Toni to try out <a href=”http://www.ichiban.ca/”>Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse</a> where they had an all you can eat sushi bar for $25.00.
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/cypher_of_tyr/527567968/” title=”Photo Sharing”><img src=”http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1045/527567968_0a28f7f6e2_m.jpg” width=”240″ height=”192″ alt=”Floating Sushi at Ichiban” /></a>
We ate far far too much, and wandered back to the convention centre to take the shuttle back to our hotel. I think all of us were tuckered out by then and probably wished we were heading home on Friday night not Saturday morning. We all kind of lounged about and then called it an early night.. then got up packed, checked out and headed home.
Lastly some fun facts I learned while there:
<li> Target Corp and TCF Bank are headquartered there </li>
<li> Apparently Thrivent Financial is only for Lutherans </li>
<li> I have no idea how people get around in Minneapolis! The street numbering totally confused me. </li>
<li> Prince is still King in Minnesota,there were people lined up around Macy’s to get tix to a show in July </li>
<li> Mary Tyler Moore show was based in MN, and there’s a statue of her on Nicollet Mall street </li>