Antwerp, Belgium: Diamond Capital Of The World

Antwerp Diamond Center Last week we took a class field trip to the diamond district in Antwerp.  Who knew that Antwerp, Belgium was the diamond capital of the world?! I certainly didn’t until I got here! However, 80% of the world’s uncut and unpolished diamonds go through Antwerp, and at least 50% of the worlds finished diamonds go through Antwerp.  So, when you buy a diamond, there is an extremely high chance that it has been in Antwerp at some point!

We went in one of the 4 polishing and cutting facilities, where we met the man who is in charge of all the operations of the facility.  All of the polishers have to report to him and get approval from him before they can be done with their diamond.  This company cuts and polishes all of the diamonds that are sold by Tiffany & Co!! I thought that was one of the coolest things ever!

Then we went to the open room where a lot of the diamond trading and buying/selling takes place.  The diamond industry is dominated by the Jewish community in Antwerp, and when you enter the room, it was Diamond Cutting and Polishing full of their heritage and culture! It was actually really interesting and neat to be able to see. We were not able to take any pictures inside the trading room because it is top secret and extremely private.  (Apparently, it was a huge deal for them to let us go in there!)

I learned a lot about diamonds and had no idea how much really went into the trading, buying, designing, cutting, and polishing of the diamonds! I also had no idea that 80% of the natural diamonds found in the world are used for industrial purposes, rather than jewelry that makes up only 20%!  Diamond powder is used for a ton of things that you would never guess it could be used for since it is such a hard stone.

All in all, I think this was one of my favorite field trips we have been on as a class! It was really interesting and I think I learned the most and took the more from this one than any of the others!

XOXO Kristen



Who Is Ready For Summer!?

Summertime Is Upon Us… Do You Have Anything Fun Planned?

University of Antwerp - Antwerp, Belgium Round 1:  Study Abroad – Trip To Belgium

For the first six weeks of the summer, I am studying abroad in Antwerp, Belgium at the University of Antwerp!  I am leaving this Saturday, May 11, and I will be back in the United States on Saturday, June 22!

While I am there, I am taking two classes – Global Marketing and Special Topics in International Logistics.  Both classes will be taught by professors from JMU who are traveling to Belgium with us, and both classes will be integrated and really tied together a lot!  In class, we will be assigned a group and we will be responsible for creating a business plan to bring an American product that is not currently available over seas, to Europe and then market it appropriately.

University of Antwerp - Antwerp, Belgium In addition to class and our school work, we will also be taking trips to Italy and Greece as a group, and then we will have two free weekends where we are free to travel wherever we choose!I am not positive yet where I am going to go for my two weekends, but my roommate and I are talking about Paris and Barcelona for one of them!

To say I am excited about my trip would be the understatement of the century!  I am absolutely ecstatic and extremely nervous all at the same time!  I cannot wait to experience life in Europe (I have never been to Europe before!) and get to travel throughout!  However, while I am super excited about the adventures that lie ahead, in the next two days I may not be feeling too happy… I have a TON of packing and shopping to do in order to get ready for my venture across the Atlantic!

Round 2:  Internship – New York City

After my six weeks abroad that I am spending in Belgium, I will be home for a little more than a week (June 22-July 1), and then I am headed to the most amazing city in the world, New York City!  I am going to the city for an internship in the fashion industry (yup, I did it!!).  After writing about a billion cover letters and almost ten interviews, I ended up getting four job offers (I know, I was shocked too!) and I ended up accepting two of them.

Company Agenda - Fashion PR Firm Internship #1:  Company Agenda

One of my internships is what you think of when you imagine an internship.. show up 2-3 days a week and do anything and everything you are asked to do.  I will be working for a PR firm in the fashion industry called Company Agenda, and is located in SoHo in New York City!  I have never done anything in PR and don’t have a ton of knowledge on the subject, but that is why I am so excited about this opportunity.  It is going to be an amazing opportunity to learn what I do/do not like and then go from there when I look for a real job after graduation!  My whole life I have dreamed of living in the city and working in fashion, and now it is finally happening!

I am extremely excited and anxious about starting my work with Company Agenda on July 2nd. But, I’m a little nervous since I have no where to live yet and I’m leaving the country in two days!! But I know everything will work out and I am so excited to see how it happens. (My parents are going to the city while I’m gone to find me a home away from home for the summer!)

Just SVARA - Online Retailer, Social Media Intern Internship #2:  Just SVARA

My second internship is with a start-up online retailer called Just SVARA, and is a virtual internship.  I will be working as a social media intern, and all my work will be done remotely. We will have weekly meetings either on the phone or on skype, and that is where the other interns and I will receive our assignments, present the work we have done, and pitch ideas that we think will be successful.  I am super excited about this, I already know that I love social media marketing and I am so eager to get started and see where it takes me!

While I am abroad, I am actually going to be acting as the European Correspondent, where I will simply email them once a week with pictures of things that I have done/places that I have been along with a few sentences about what the picture is!

As you can see, I have a super exciting, busy, and crazy summer ahead of me!  While I am going to be exhausted by the time September comes and it is time to go back to school, I could not be more excited to watch my dreams unfold!

XOXO Kristen

P.S. Stay posted for more about Belgium and my Internships!  I am leaving Saturday, so while I am away posts may be more spread out.  But stay tuned – they will definitely be here eventually! :)

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