One year ago: Fighting homesickness in the Czech Republic

One year ago today my MBA team from Bryan College was hoping to fly home to the U.S. from the Czech Republic, where we were participating in international internships. But we were stranded by a volcanic eruption in Iceland that shut down air travel in Europe. We actually didn’t leave until the 21st. Follow the link below to read about the forced extension to our trip:

Fighting homesickness in the Czech Republic.


A day of teaching classes in Olomouc, Czech Republic

A day of teaching classes in Olomouc, Czech Republic.

This is what I was doing a year ago this Friday, April 15, helping teach classes at a university in the Czech Republic. This was before my MBA student group officially became stranded in Europe because of the Icelandic volcano eruption.

Don’t wait for a disaster to plan for one

Volcanoes. Floods. Oil spills.

Don’t wait for a disaster to happen before you start planning on how to deal with such an occurrence.

A volcanic eruption may sound like a far-fetched scenario from a bad movie, but the Eyjafjallajkull volcano in Iceland continues to throw a monkey wrench into the global business scene. The volcano continues to erupt and has closed airports throughout the United Kingdom. Travelers who were in Europe or were planning to fly to Europe around the time of the April 14 eruption were stranded for up to a week without plans for shelter, food or alternative transportation. My MBA group was in Prague at the time, and we were fortunate to be able to our stay at the four-star hotel we had been staying at – with the hotel giving us a good rate. But thousands of travelers were not so fortunate.

Nashville’s residents have been doing an admirable job of recovering from the aftermath of the historic spring flooding that swamped the city. The people and businesses pulled together and began helping one another even before the government began to get involved. Other areas of the South were damaged by flooding and tornadoes.

The Gulf oil spill drew more media attention than the deadly Southern storms. Containment and cleanup efforts continue, but the ecological damage has been done.

Whether or not your business handles a potentially toxic material like crude oil or handles public safety like an airline, planning for disasters is a prudent precaution. Insurance isn’t the only way to prepare for the worst. It makes sense to pay the extra money to back up your invaluable data and store it off-site with a business that specializes in such things. You may want to consider having a back-up generator, water and non-perishable food supplies.

Geography can be a factor in planning for disasters: A business in Oklahoma would want to have an action plan for dealing with a tornado, while a company in Florida would need a plan for dealing with a hurricane. Such plans should include contact information for all personnel and ways to streamline the decision-making process.

You may not be expecting to have to deal with a disaster, but that’s the thing about disasters – they’re unexpected. Try to live by the Boy Scouts motto – Be prepared.

Fighting homesickness in the Czech Republic

These are some of the students I led in a group discussion on the newspaper industry at Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci.

These are some of the students I led in a group discussion on the newspaper industry at Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci.

The Bryan College MBA team is waiting for our Thursday flight out of Prague, pending no further problems from the volcano in Iceland. We’re hoping the EU opens airspace before that and starts to clear out the backlog of stranded fliers.  Our travel arrangements could change at any time, so stay posted to this blog for updates.

WRCB and WDEF profiled our team on the news Sunday.

Many in the group are worried about their jobs since our 10-day trip has now extended to 11+ days. And we all want so desperately to return home to family and friends. Prague is a beautiful city, but it’s not home. I headed out early to exchange some currency, explore the city and work on the computer – basically, just to get out of the hotel for a while to slow down the process of going stir crazy. We are blessed, though, to be staying at a nice hotel at a reasonable rate.

One of our students has a friend from Denmark who will be here in Prague today. I’m glad that they will be able to visit, since the volcano disrupted our student’s plans to visit Denmark on a side trip last week.

Despite the travel complications, this pilot program has worked out well. I don’t know what shape future Bryan College international internships will take, but this one has been worth the investment in time, money and effort.

I especially enjoyed interacting with students at Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci (Palacky’ University in Olomouc). I’ve posted a couple of photos of my students from that experience. I should have posted these photos sooner, but I’ve had Internet connectivity problems throughout this trip. I plan to post more photos soon.

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