Early Public Relations: The Rosetta Stone

June 3, 2009 - 2 Responses
The Original Rosetta Stone at the British Museum

The Original Rosetta Stone at the British Museum

In one of my classes last semester, we discussed the Rosetta Stone as symbolic for the field of public relations because the writing on it glorifies a King.  Essentially the stone is an early version of what we call a press release today.

To me, the Rosetta Stone represents the spirit of the communications industry as a whole as it allowed greater understanding across cultures.  This stone granted humanity for the rest of eternity  the ability to understand Hieroglyphics and Demotic via the ancient Greek text also inscribed.  If communication had wonders of the world, this would top the list.

Today, after an informative visit with a PR firm in London, my flatmates and I headed over to the British Museum.  It was there that I saw the Rosetta Stone firsthand.  The very item that shaped the field I am pursuing, but more significantly our understanding of ancient cultures.  It’s quite magnificent that this important piece of history sits before the public in the center of London.

A must-see!

London by Bike

June 1, 2009 - 2 Responses

While London is certainly too big to be a walking city, it’s a wonderful city for cyclists.  With expansive parks and cycle lanes throughout the streets cycling about London is lovely.

Since the traffic moves in the opposite direction from what most of us are used to, I would recommend taking a bike tour through the city to become accustomed.

This past Sunday I spent 3.5 hours biking on London Bicycle Tour’s Royal West Tour.  Taking in the sunshine, fresh air and sites was a great way to spend an afternoon.  I also felt much more familiar with the city after the tour.  Our guide shared great bits of London history and must-sees for our time here.

We cycled to the following locations on the tour:

  • The London Eye
  • Parliament
  • Lambeth House
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Hyde Park
  • Speaker’s Corner
  • Royal Albert Hall
  • Leicester Square
  • Trafalgar Square
  • Covent Garden

If you happen to be in London and would like a good workout combined with an overview of the city’s sites, a cycle tour is an excellent way to start. It’s also much more “green” than the traditional bus tour.

And the Winner is…

May 30, 2009 - One Response

Diversity!

Check out their finals act here.

Britain’s Got Talent

May 30, 2009 - Leave a Response

Currently, I’m in my flat watching the finals of Britain’s Got Talent with my flatmates.  I’m so glad that my arrival to London coincided with the semi-finals, as it’s becoming a worldwide sensation.

For those of you that aren’t in on the scoop from across the Atlantic, Britain’s Got Talent is a variety show similar to our American Idol or America’s Best Dance Crew.  However, aside from the run-of-the-mill singing and dancing routines, the show features some other oddball characters, making it hilarious and exciting to watch.  My flatmates and I are addicted, and it has become a nightly staple in our living room.

Susan Boyle went mainstream after her performance on Britain’s Got Talent, but there’s so much more entertainment on the show that hasn’t received as much attention back at home.  Videos from tonight’s finals are already accessible via ITV’s homepage.

These are the semi-final acts of my favorites appearing in the finals:

These ones did not make the finals, but are certainly worth sharing, take a look:

The Lowdown on the High Street

May 30, 2009 - One Response
Photo 44

Say buh-bye to your pounds if you are spending a day on the high street.

When someone says that a city has good shopping, it usually means that there is great variety, high quality items and good prices.  Cities in Italy, for example, were excellent shopping destinations for Americans when the Lira was still the currency there because we could get designer goods for cheaper than at home.

London has excellent shopping, but it is missing the third piece–the good prices.  I’m amazed by the variety and quality of the shops.  Most of London’s shopping takes place on the high streets.  Our Fifth Avenue in New York, or Newbury Street in Boston would be the equivalent of a high street.  London has a few different high streets, Oxford Street, Kensington High Street, King’s Road, Brompton Road and more.

Here are some of my favorite places so far:

River Island is a clothing retailer, which as a location on Oxford Street.  It’s trendy with a hint of professionalism.  The selection of skirts and dresses remind me that dressing for work does not have to be boring.  It’s more reasonably priced than some of the other high street locations, but still expensive for an American burning dollars by turning them into pounds.

Boots is essentially a pharmacy, but the Kensington High Street location is a cross between CVS and Sephora.  It features all of my stateside favorites from Pantene hair products to Benefit cosmetics.  An array of British brands like Rimmel London and Soap & Glory also tempt a beauty junkie.  I purchased Girligo by Soap & Glory, a moisturizing body spray.

Ben’s Cookies is a little cookie vendor  located in the Tube stop at Kensington High Street, and there is also one at the South Kensington tube stop.  After you’re done with your shopping, and you’re hungry and tired, it’s Ben’s to the rescue.  Or maybe you’re just depressed that you couldn’t afford much on the high street so you want to indulge in a cookie.  Ben’s Cookies are just enough crunch and just enough chewy.  I had a milk chocolate chunk cookie, with melted chocolate filling the center.

I thought I’d end with the most outrageous experience so far:

Harrods is a hybrid of a department store and amusement park, more towards the amusement park side. It’s located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge.   The designers, the fashion, the choices, the interior decorations–I was in awe.  The state of awe was unexpected, as a New Yorker it’s difficult to amaze me since some of the most absurd displays of extravagance are things I’ve grown up with like Times Square, Macy’s Herald Square, New Year’s Eve, Broadway, the Statue of Liberty, etc.  However, I cannot believe I am saying this, but, Harrod’s puts any other upscale store I’ve been in to shame.  A Sphinx actually sits in The Egyptian Hall, one of the rooms in Harrod’s.  The Coffee, Tea and Chocolate room reminds me of the Willy Wonka movie, a wonderland of candy, sweets and indulgence.  I bought two boxes of loose leaf tea, Ceylon and English Breakfast, and a tea steeper.  The Ceylon was a new tea for me, it’s from Sri Lanka and it’s wonderful.  Tea was pretty much the only thing we could afford in the store.  We found a bejeweled tweezer running for 75 pounds and a claw clip for 165 pounds.  Wow.  I didn’t even look at the tags for the Fendi, Dior or Louis Vuitton items.  Here’s a video to stimulate the imagination.


Where the sun is always shining…

May 26, 2009 - Leave a Response

The hypothetical sun is always shining for me because I absolutely adore London.  Aside from that, and of course the rain, the sun does actually shine more here.  It stays light in London until around 9:30 p.m. at the moment, and it will stay bright for longer as the summer goes on.

This seemingly perpetual state of light is a result of London’s high latitude, at 51 degrees, 32 seconds, north.  New York is at 40 degrees, 30 seconds, north.  London is much farther north than I imagine when I draw the world map in my mind.

How does the sun shining longer affect the big picture?

When I took a nap on my first day here and woke up to sunshine I thought it was 5 p.m. when it was actually 8:30 p.m.  The longer day will certainly make mid-day napping much easier as the afternoon feels eternal.

It also makes your pockets emptier.  An afternoon on any one of the fabulous high streets, and there are many, can last until close without worry because it doesn’t get dark while the stores are open during the summer months.

With longer days I find myself eager to go out exploring, and most importantly, walking all about the town.  I see less reason to use the tube or the bus if I can use my own two feet and walk to a destination.  Hopefully the light will contribute to habits that make me more fit.

On Sunday I took advantage of the long day and spent the entire afternoon wandering in Chelsea, a part of London just south of where I live in Kensington.  With one of my flatmates, I discovered new shops, places to read, spots to enjoy a drink and much more.  It’s exciting that we can fit so much into a long London day.

I might be the first-ever to comment on London as having pleasant weather, but beyond the rain, the sunshine through the evening hours is a treat.

The Benefits of Staying Active

May 23, 2009 - One Response

I can’t sit still.  As focused as I am academically and professionally, when it comes to my free time I am motivated to do and see as much as possible.  This inner motivation explains my addiction to travel, and reveals why my trips are always productive.

Surrounding myself with active people, beginning with my mother and continuing with all of my friends and family, contributes to the constant action.  I am excited that my six flatmates in London can be added to the list. Our first week has been chock full of adventure.

If there’s a scenic route we’re on it, if our professor recommends a place to check out we’re there, and we just got our hands on TimeOut London, a bible for young travellers looking to find the bests of in all categories.

Here’s a run down of some of the things we’ve done:

Wednesday: Orientation, A walk down Kensington High Street boasting shops including TopShop, H&M, Whole Foods, Urban Outfitters

Thursday: Our first class, Lunch with our Professors, A walking trip through Hyde Park, Green Park past Buckingham Palace and into the posh community, Belgravia

Friday: A run through Hyde Park (located conveniently at the foot of our street), A boat cruise down the Thames, Piccadilly Circus to check out the nightlife (Times Square much?)

Saturday:  Portobello Road Market (where I bought some delicious figs, olives and fennel), and a bit of the Notting Hill community

To get to Portobello Road we took Palace Avenue, a gated street home to many of London’s embassies, which was gorgeous!  When you’re active you find all of the little jewels hiding in your surroundings.

For a group that just arrived on Tuesday we’ve done quite a bit.  Jet-lag, what’s that?

London First Impressions

May 20, 2009 - 4 Responses

I landed in London yesterday morning at around 8 a.m.  My comments will be admittedly superficial as I have only been here for a day.  However, I want to start writing about my experience early.  If I don’t, 12 weeks will go by, and I’ll sit here thinking that I meant to blog about it.

To kick the journey off with an adventure, I chose to take the Tube to my residence instead of a cab.  At 4 pounds for the Tube and 50 pounds for a cab, this was the right choice for me.  However, I expected it to be a bit more challenging lugging 50 pounds of luggage behind me.  To my pleasure, it was not.  Coming from Boston, this was a shock since taking the T is always frustrating even without 50 pounds of luggage.  The only challenge was getting my luggage up the stairs after getting out of the Tube, but with some help from a fellow abroad student we both survived.

The walk from the Tube station was straightforward, and delightful.  Lovely gardens, rows of white houses, British accents, charming shops.  Until of course it downpoured while I was a block away from my destination.

I ran as fast as I could, and made it up the stairs and into the building where I live.

Photo 41

The view from my room

My room is cute.  It is on the top floor of a beautiful Kensington building.  I have a little window overlooking Queen’s Gate, and you can even see Royal Albert Hall if you look closely.  This is much more appealing than Babcock Street and the train yard that I used to look at from my window in Boston.

I also have my own bathroom, which is an amenity as my RA-hood prevented me from such pleasure.  (Not to say that being an RA did not bring other pleasures, but still having a bathroom is really, really nice.)  On top of the whole having my own bathroom, it is equipped with a towel warmer, which makes getting out of the shower a far more enjoyable experience in the morning.

My flatmates are great as well, which contributes to the pleasantness of the overall experience.  I’m excited to live with 6 like-minded women who are as excited as I am to be here and explore the city.

After food shopping, a tour of the neighbourhood (notice the U there), and a nap, my flatmates and I went to a pub located right behind our place.  It was cozy and welcoming.  I tried a strawberry beer, which I loved since I tend to drink lighter options.

Today we did the typical orientation deal, which was useful to get to know our surroundings and a bit about the cultural dimensions which shape Londoners.  During our breaks, we did some exploring, picked up delicious sandwiches and poked about a few shops.

Now I am in the midst of my readings for the first class tomorrow, and looking forward to some more exploration tonight.

Adios OCHO.

April 29, 2009 - Leave a Response

“OCHO” is the nickname of the floor that I’ve lived on for the past two years as an RA. My first set of residents here coined it, and it became our own brand that I perpetuated in all floor memos, advertisements, meetings and discussions.

Though the OCHO is just the 8th floor of an underclassman dorm that’s been around for quite a long time, its inhabitants see it as an idea, a lifestyle, an experience, and a journey–far more meaningful than just a living space.

My time on the OCHO nears the end, 3 more weeks. Next year, I’ll be the RA at the Italian House, a brownstone on the other side of campus. However, with this piece of my college experience nearing its end, it’s relevant to comment on how it has changed me, enhanced me, bettered me, challenged me.

I always tell my residents that I wish I could be the person I am as an RA all day, every day. As an RA I look at life through a Lockean lens; people are generally good. I trust them, I believe in them, I am proud of them, I hope for them.

My residents are all people. One of them might be the person that bumped into me and didn’t say sorry or who cut me in line or who spilt their drink on me. With them, though, I give the benefit of the doubt. In reflection, it’s come to me that we should always give people the benefit of the doubt, because it’s likely that they have been someone’s resident, right?

Looking at residents as a sampling of people makes life promising. I want to try to be as excited about the next 53 people I meet as I was when I met my residents in September. With my residents I am constantly asking questions to try to learn more, digging deeper to try to understand more, listening, listening, listening, and wondering what each would do to amaze me.

And, wow, they have amazed me. During my two years on the OCHO I’ve had a Mr. BU, a CGS President, two record holding swimmers, an avid volunteer, and the list goes on. I cannot read BU’s Daily Free Press without seeing one of their names for an achievement. I hang these pieces of news on a hypothetical fridge with pride.

Their diversity inspires me as well. I’ve had residents from Taiwan, Nigeria, Curacao, France and Indonesia. As an international communication Master’s candidate, it’s incredible to have these students a few doors down to teach me first-hand about their culture. Since we’ve built a community of trust on the OCHO, we can have candid conversations about home. In my eyes, there is no better way to understand a culture than through candid conversations, which happens only with trust.

Being an RA is saddled on trust. If there’s one thing I hope for in my position it’s that my residents trust me, and if there’s one thing that I can take from this position, it’s how to build trust with people. People need to trust.

I am the person who is there when they need to cry, get sick, become really, really scared for the future, lose a friend, find a significant other, lose their darn key, move in, and move out. I could lock myself in my room, and avoid all of these situations, but I love these situations. These are the memorable moments that explain why I live in a freshman dorm. While their break-ups or exams seem trivial, I learn from them. I relish the idea that this whole group of people believes in me enough to guide them through this new experience.

And with this I’ve learned to never, ever be condescending, and always look for how you can learn from someone rather than how you can outdo them. You’ll be the best if you use every opportunity to learn.

People in my life wonder why I find such joy out of living in a box in an underclassman high rise as a 23-year-old, but I hope that my reflection sheds light on why moving out will be tough. For me I’ve learned more about life and being a good person in my little box room than I could have in any other position, and I hope that my career in PR will challenge me in this same way.

So in just 3 weeks I will lock the door to my OCHO haven, but the OCHO passion will stick with me always.

For the 106 students who I have met here and the 25 others from my first RA position, thank you, good luck, and keep in touch with your old RA.

New paper posted in Portfolio

April 28, 2009 - Leave a Response

Check out my study on Michael Phelps as a corporate sponsor in the Portfolio section of the site:

Michael Phelps, Corporate Sponsorships and an Infamous Photo

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