Alright, well where do I begin? My handle is fatal-error ( I want to think I have some anonymity ), I’m a senior at DePaul University in Chicago IL, USA. DePaul has this new study abroad program called Atlantis Dual Degree. It is a whole academic year split between in Lyon France and Linkoping Sweden. Basically if your a sophomore and a CTI student with a GPA above 2.5 you are eligible. The cool thing about this program is that when you finish you earn a International Business degree, not to mention the $1200 a month stipend. The bad news is there are only 6 slots and I’m no sophomore. Now … how did a senior like me get into this awesome program? Well since the program is so new, DePaul was willing to waive the year requirement for me allowing me to apply. However they couldn’t guarantee me a spot and in fact they said it would be unlikely that I would be accepted. Well me being the nice guy that I am, I convinced two of my friends to apply as well. I figured that there would be a few applicants and little interest because of it’s long commitment. I am the proof that nice guys finish last. There was a required group interview, and thats when I found out there were 7 applicants … for 6 slots. I was the man out, I was the guy on the waiting list.

By some fluke, or catastrophic event someone dropped out last week and I got a email from the study abroad office notifying me of my acceptance to the program. So now I’m off to France in September. Amazing right?

Now the purpose of this blog is not only to fulfill the journal requirement for the study abroad program, but I hope it will serve as a place for me to reflect on after the program is over, allow me to pool my thoughts in a central place, contribute to the expatriate and study abroad community, and maybe release some rants, raves and flames in the interest in keeping my sanity.

I don’t leave at least for another 4 months, but I still have a ton to do. I don’t even have a passport yet, and yea /*/TECH RANT/*/ I know I’m stuck with those insecure RFID enabled ones. I also have to figure out how to survive on 1 laptop … I have 3 right now, and yes I put them all to work. I have a sweet Thinkpad that I love to death, but it can’t play games like my desktop replacement and don’t get me started on my VMWare Teams for my pen tests and security tools. Then I have to tone down my music and other media. 400GB of movies, music, operating system iso’s etc. are not going to make the cut. I might have to break down and get a 80GB ipod … that should take care of the music and the few favorite movies. I was thinking about setting up my Network Attached Storage for co-location but I’m kinda scared about the transfer rates across the pond and if I would actually use it. I will figure out a way to access it, I just don’t think I’m going to pay for getting it behind a fat pipe. /*/END TECH RANT/*/

With all that said, I can’t stress enough how excited I am about going! I have already bought a few books on French and Swedish culture. I really like the Culture Shock! series ( Culture Shock! France and Culture Shock! Sweden ). This series really goes over the etiquette and cultural differences in comparison to American culture and helps prepare for the culture shock that one will go through. For example, the French take much longer lunch breaks, and the Swedes are never late! I also have a few DVD’s on traveling France and Europe. The funny thing is I bought these on the assumption I was going, imagine what I’m going to buy now that I know I’m going!

Well, I have a lot to do, and to figure out. It was nice talking to ya and I’ll see ya around!

au revoir,