Company Meetings on Winter Europe 2022

Group of professionally dressed college students standing in an office meeting area

The highlight of the seminar is having the opportunity to meet and get one on one time with many different businesses and executives.

During the Winter Europe 2023 Seminar we met with a multitude of highly skilled and impressive businesses. In London we had 5 seminars: overview of Brexit, Furious Fox, Lloyd’s of London Insurance Market, Chelsea Football Club, and the West End Design Tour. In Paris we had 4 sessions, two at the Paris Chamber of Commerce, The Hard Rock Cafe, and Galeries Lafayette. On our way to Amsterdam, we stopped and had a meeting with Randstad in Belgium. Then in Amsterdam our final two seminars were with the Port of Rotterdam and the U.S. Embassy.


My favorite company visit we had in London was Lloyds of London Insurance Market. It was my favorite because I enjoyed the history of how Lloyd’s came to be and how so much of what they do now is because of their past. Just from appearance alone, Lloyd’s is one of a kind because their building is considered a high-tech architecture style. This style means the building is designed “inside out” so all of the service functions are on the exterior, even the elevators (which we got to go on which was really cool)! There are also many interesting architectural decisions such as how the roof is structured so no noise is heard on other floors.

We had two great tour guides who were able to answer all of our questions and give us all of the rich culture that Lloyd’s provides. I did not know much about what happens in Lloyd’s or much of what reinsurance is, so seeing what they do and get a visual on their numbers was really informative. The final part of Lloyd’s that made it special was going to the coffee shop in the building because that’s how Lloyd’s started, so it felt like a must do.

Exterior of Lloyds of London Bowellian architecture


My favorite visit we had in Paris was Galeries Lafayette. Before visiting the actual site of Galeries Lafayette, we went to the Paris Chamber of Commerce, and we were educated about how this department store started and how they have grown and adapted since its conception. Galeries Lafayette was started in the 19th century to sell novelty items, but in 1912 one of the owners decided it would be a “luxury bazaar” which would attract crowds with the abundance and luxury merchandise, and this is still what Galeries Lafayette is known for.

Galeries Lafayette is an incredibly large and impressive building from the outside. When you walk in it’s just as impressive, especially since some of the most well-known luxury brands, such as Dior, Saint Laurent, Gucci, and more are displayed right when you walk into the building. We had a tour guide who brought us around discussing the history and architecture. We even were allowed to go into the top of the coupole (glass dome) that is the centerpiece of the shopping experience. Near the end of the tour, we went to a room where we got to look at all of the previous posters, archives, and even historical clothing pieces from Galeries Lafyette’s history.

We finished our tour off at the top where we were able to take pictures with the breath-taking view. A fun fact about Galeries Lafayette is that it is the second top tourist attraction in Paris, which you can see from the top of Galeries Lafayette.

Green, blue, and purple crystal chandelier hanging beneath a glass dome in a multi-story shopping center

Amsterdam/ Belgium

While I really enjoyed my time at the US Embassy in Amsterdam, my favorite meeting by far was at Randstad in Belgium. On the way from Paris to Amsterdam we took a stop in Belgium just for our Randstad meeting. Randstad was founded in 1960 in the Netherlands, and it is a global leader in the HR service industry. Randstad currently has over 4,000 branches in 39 countries.

Our presenter, the regional manager of operations, Petra Vos, was so hospitable and made many of us students’ coffee and tea before she even started the presentation. She left me in awe when she told us about how Randstad truly wants to help others and can be of use in any stage of their life. Their core values are to know, to serve, to trust, striving for perfection, and simultaneous promotion for all interests. Mrs. Vos showed us that through all of their brands and services these are at the utmost of importance. Mrs. Vos really motivated us and got me excited for a career in international business.


Learning about Myself Outside of the Classroom

I really enjoyed learning outside of the classroom. Sometimes I feel shy and not as inclined to ask questions in a classroom setting but being able to meet with executives and learn about the company in their environment feels more welcoming and encouraging. All of the businesses we met with were very kind and answered every question we asked. I am extremely grateful that we had the opportunity of getting to know their experience and some of their knowledge, their words of advice will stick with me throughout my career.

The author standing atop a balcony overlooking Paris with the Eiffel Tower faintly visible in the distance.

Young woman's photo portrait
Grace Martinez

School: University of Colorado Colorado Springs

"I love being able to come together with people from all around the country to be able to share memories we will remember forever."

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