Nicolas

About Nicolas

Sophomore

Aviation Business Administration

Nicolas – Intern with Montreal International Airport, Finance Department
Major: Aviation Business Administration
Hometown: Montreal, Canada Campus Involvement: Airport Management Club, National Business Aviation Administration, International Student Programing Council and student assistant in the College of Business
Why I chose Embry-Riddle: Its worldwide reputation, opportunities and everyone’s love for aviation

President’s Day Weekend

Approaching Toronto-Pearson International Airport on a beautiful Saturday around noon.

Approaching Toronto-Pearson International Airport on a beautiful Saturday morning.

During the President’s Day weekend, I flew back home to Montreal to see my parents and some friends. In some parts of Canada, some people also got to enjoy an extra day off due to Family Day.

I left Florida early Saturday morning just before 07:00AM instead of Friday, since I have an evening Biology lab that ends at 8:45PM. At that time, it is too late to catch a flight, unfortunately.

I arrived in Montreal around noon after I had a connecting flight through Toronto-Pearson. I texted my mom earlier in the day and asked her to bring my winter coat. When I got out the plane, I didn’t even need it since it felt actually warm for winter. It was about 45 degrees and there were no clouds in the skies. I guess I picked the right weekend to visit!

My aunt was also in town for a business trip so we had a family dinner in the evening. The next day, I met with a friend who is currently applying for college. I tried the best I could to convince him to come to Embry-Riddle in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Like me, he is also an “avgeek” so I told him ERAU was a perfect place to study aviation. Hopefully, he’ll come for a visit and see for himself.

Overall, it was a fun relaxing weekend and I already look forward for Spring Break!

Nicolas

Don’t Get Behind

Last week was so busy and it felt like it was finals week. I had a total of four exams during those five days, including three exams on Wednesday.

I had a test in Social Responsibility and Ethics in Management, Aviation Labor Relations, Elements of Biological Science and Business Quantitative Methods. Most of the tests I had were multiple choices. My Science exam was take-home and it was online so it was not that bad!

Before last week, I didn’t really have a lot of work to do, but I can now say the workload officially kicks in.

Don’t Get Behind

Do your homework and other assignments in advance instead of doing everything the day before it is due. If you don’t understand a question from the assignment, you’ll have time to either meet the professor or send him or her an email. You won’t be confused and on your own at midnight before the assignment is due the next day. Sometimes, the homework can look easy at first, but it can require more time than you think to complete it. It happened to me a couple of times where I thought simply answering questions from the textbook would require less than 30 minutes. I was wrong.

I’m not saying you have to study weeks in advance before an exam, but you shouldn’t teach yourself the material the day before the test. I think the best way to learn the material  is too study a bit every day. Writing stuff down also helps you to remember it.

On the days you don’t have anything to do, think about if there was anything you could do to get ahead of the game. This is my piece of advice for this week.

Until next time,

Nicolas

Business Capstone Class Simulation

What would be your first impression of a class which starts with the following lines on the syllabus: “In this class, you will be running your own company as part of a student team. You will be stressed, confused, mad and frustrated. You will make mistakes. You will also have a lot of fun”? You would probably feel scared right?

This syllabus excerpt is from the Strategic Management class. If you are a student with a Business major, you will have to take this class during your last semester at Embry-Riddle.

As stated above, we are running our own company as part of a computer simulation. Our class is evenly divided in six groups, so my group and I compete against five other teams. In the simulation, we create and sell a product. We have to manage many aspects of our company, such as research and development, production, marketing, finance and human resources.

We are currently in the second practice round. There are a total of three practice rounds before things get real. Even though it’s only practice, we put effort and hard work because we want to learn as much as we can before the simulation starts and we get graded on performance. Our group meets on a weekly basis to take decisions for the company that will be applied for the following round. Every round corresponds to a new calendar year.

Even though we just started the simulation, I am very excited about it and I hope to finish high in the ranking! I will give an update later on how our company is evolving.

Another Simulation!
I’m doing a simulation in another class this semester! This one is in Aviation Labor Relations where the class is a mix of lectures and the simulation. This simulation is not done on the computer but rather during class time.

Let me briefly explain how it works. All the students enrolled in the course work for an airline named “Blue Star Airlines,” based in Daytona Beach. Students can work in the management team, as a pilot, as a ramp worker or as a mechanic. For the main purpose of the class, there are also other positions related to unions, such as an ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association) representative and a IAM (International Association of Machinists) representative.

I “work” in the management team as Supervisor of Ramp Operations. I selected this position because I have always been interested in airline/airport operations.

There are many issues we have to deal with. In the past week, one of my ramp workers was injured while working on the ramp. This week, there were concerns about pilot duty time FAA violations. Next week, we will have a vote on whether each department of the company wants to join/form a union.

I think simulations are fun and a different way of learning the course material. It’s great to do something else than listening to class lectures for a whole semester. And you, have you taken a class before that involved some sort of simulation?

Until next time!

Nicolas

Spring Industry/Career Expo Calendar Unveiled

Last week, Career Services published its calendar of activities and events to prepare students for the Spring 2017 Industry/Career Expo. The event, which brings more than 100 companies to campus, will take place on March 1, 2017.

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*All rooms are subject to change

You should take advantage of what Embry-Riddle has to offer to successfully prepare its students for the event. As you can see, most of the events will happen in February. At the beginning of February, there will be a few RefreshER presentations that will go over resumes, expo tips, interviewing and elevator speech and engaging employers. On Fridays, a few Career Services advisors will be available in the Student Center during lunch for quick questions and for resume reviews. There are other workshops that will only take place once during the month, such as the Portfolio Workshop and the LinkedIn Workshop.

Do you want to know the steps on how to be well prepared for the Industry/Career Expo? Check my Preparing for the Industry/Career Expo blog!

As we get closer to March 1, 2017, Career Services will publish the Company Info Sessions schedule. The sessions are usually held the two days preceding the Industry/Career Expo.

If you have misplaced your pass (from the Fall semester) to access the Expo or if you are a new student to the university, then you can get your pass starting on February 2 between 8:00 and 17:00 in the Career Services office.

Good luck on all your work preparation!

Nicolas

First Trip of the Year

I started off my first day of the year by travelling to London-Heathrow for a family week vacation in United Kingdom’s largest city. I think the winter season is a good time to travel to Europe because there a lot less tourists than during the busy summer season. Streets are less crowded and the wait time to do some activities is reduced. The temperature during winter varies between 0oC (32 F) and 10oC (50 F). We were lucky to get a few sunny days during our stay.

Below is my Top 5 of the things I love to do or see in London.

London Eye

The London Eye is one of my favorite attractions in London. The 135 metres (443 ft.) high Ferris wheel was completed in 2000. It was first sponsored by British Airways for many years, but now Coca-Cola took over the branding.

The London Eye

The London Eye

From the cabin, you can see most of the city from above. You can see the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Bridge, Big Ben and the Shard just to name a few. One wheel rotation takes 30 minutes so you will have plenty of time to take pictures and enjoy the view.

If you would like to experience London with a 360 degrees view, regular adult tickets sell for £23 (US$29). When it is crowded and there are long queues, you can purchase a Fast Track Ticket for £32 (US$40).

Tower of London

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The Food

You will eat well when traveling to the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. London is a multicultural city with people speaking over 300 different languages. You can basically find a variety of food from all around the globe. I love the food in London!

Poached Scottish salmon with fennel, grapefruit and dill pickled cucumber.

Poached Scottish salmon with fennel, grapefruit and dill pickled cucumber (Starter)

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Braised jowl of Tamworth pork with bacon marmalade, cider pickled cabbage and apple (Main course)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Harrods

Harrods is a luxury department store with more than 330 departments. There, you can find  almost everything such as restaurants and a bunch of stores. I visited twice in a week!

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Big Ben

Big Ben, also known as the Elizabeth Tower, is the famous clock in London!

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I hope 2017 brings you to new exciting places!

Nicolas

My 2016 Travel Map

In 2016, I traveled more than 108,000 kilometers and spent more than 148 hours in the skies! Here are some of the best trips I had over the past 12 months. The ranking is not in order of best flight experience but is rather based on chronology.

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My 2016 Travel Map

1. Flying All Over America in One Day
In February, I flew for fun with my friend touching the East Coast, the West Coast and the North of the United States in less than one day. We flew from Orlando to Orlando via Atlanta, San Francisco and Minneapolis.

My ride from Atlanta to Los Angeles.

Flew this type of bird (Boeing 767) between Atlanta and San Francisco and between Minneapolis and Orlando.

2. First Business Trip
In May, I flew on my first business trip just a few days after my first day as an Aircraft Programs Intern at Air Canada. I travelled from Montreal to Seattle for a week.

I got upgraded in Business Class from Toronto-Pearson to Seattle-Tacoma.

I got upgraded in Business Class from Toronto-Pearson to Seattle-Tacoma.

3. Customer Delivery Test Flight
While I was at the Boeing Everett Factory with Air Canada, I had the opportunity to fly on their brand new Boeing 777-300ER (C-FKAU) that was going to be delivered a few days later. We were only between 10 and 15 people on the plane for the flight that lasted a bit more than 2 hours.

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View from the jump seat while climbing out of Paine Field.

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The Boeing 777-300ER has a wingspan of more than 212 feet.

4. Flying on the Bombardier CSeries Before Commercial Entry Into Service
At the end of June in Montreal, I had the chance to fly on a Bombardier CS100 aircraft during a 45 minute flight for the media. The state-of the-art aircraft is very silent and offers a wide body feeling in the cabin.

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FTV5 (Flight Test Vehicle Number 5) with the SWISS livery.

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View of the CSeries wing after touchdown.

5. Flying Across the Atlantic to Ireland
After my internship was done, my family and I flew to Ireland for a week vacation.

Starter: smoked trout Niçoise said with roasted garlic aïoli.

Appetizer on the flight to Europe.

6. Weekend in California
During Labor Day weekend, I traveled to Los Angeles for a few days.

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The famous Hollywood sign.

Plane spotters love to take pictures at Los Angeles International Airport.

Plane spotters love to take pictures at Los Angeles International Airport.

7. First Time in South America
I flew to Argentina for my first time during Thanksgiving break. This trip from Florida to the Southern tip of the world required many flights.

Boeing 737-800 of Aerolineas Argentinas at Ushuaia airport, the world's southernmost airport.

Boeing 737-800 of Aerolineas Argentinas at Ushuaia airport, the world’s southernmost airport.

What were your best flying memories of 2016? Share them with us below!

Happy Flying!

Nicolas

Holidays Travel Tips

Here are a few travel tips as we go through this holiday season:

Before The Trip
Pack light: You should only bring the necessary stuff you need for your trip. If you are allowed a free checked-bag on your airline, use it instead of bringing a carry-on. This will accelerate the boarding process and reduce delays at the gate.

Carry-on: You should pack your travel documents, medication, car keys and spare lithium batteries in your carry-on or in a bag as your personal item. If you are bringing liquids, they should be 100g/100ml (3.4 oz.) or less. Make sure your carry-on luggage has the right dimensions and weight depending on your airline. Many air carriers are strict about this and will make you check your bag if it’s too large.

Bringing gifts?: If you are carrying gifts onboard the aircraft, you should keep them unwrapped until you go through security. It’s just easier for the security officers if they have to inspect your gifts.

Flying international?
: If you are flying out of the country, make sure you have all the documents you need to enter the foreign country such as passport and visas. Ensure your passport is valid and is not expired prior to your trip.

24 Hours Before The Flight
Check-in: One day prior to your flight, you can check-in on your airline’s website or on their mobile app.

Flight status: Enable your notifications on your smart phone so you can know the status of your flight. If it is delayed or cancelled, you will know before heading to the airport for nothing. Winter weather delays can be expected even if you are not flying to/from the north as your inbound plane and the crew might be coming from Minneapolis for example.

At The Airport
Arrive early: If you are flying early in the morning or out of a major hub, definitely arrive early before your flight. There are a lot of people at the airport checking-in for their flights, dropping their bags and going through the security check point, which means longer wait times. Early for me means between 2 hours and 3 hours before departure.

Security checkpoint: To expedite security, I would recommend that you put your phone and wallet in your bag or your carry-on. You’ll have less loose items in the bins that you can lose. If you have a laptop, put it in a separate bin. Keep your boarding pass and ID with you as you go through screening. If “TSA Pre” is written on your boarding pass, just put everything in your bag and go through the walk through detector with your shoes and belt.

Boarding the Aircraft
Boarding time: Only go closer to the boarding area when your boarding zone is called so you won’t block any passengers in line that are boarding an earlier zone than you. To increase the odds your flight leaves on-time, only board when it’s your turn. I was boarding a flight earlier this week and a passenger tried to board during  Zone 1 while he was Zone 5…

Onboard: If you have a carry-on, store it with handle out or wheels out to make space for everyone on board. If you have a winter jacket, don’t put it next to your carry-on. Squeeze it on top of your carry-on or put it under the seat in front of you with your personal item.

Comment below if you have other good #traveltips to give to our readers!

Happy and safe travels!

Nicolas

It’s Over!

I can’t believe the fall 2016 semester is already over. I feel like it was not a long time ago that I ended my summer internship. I’m very happy that finals are now over and that we have a bit less than a month of vacation.

I had my last final on Tuesday evening. This semester, only has two finals during the four days that are considered “finals week.” In most of my classes, the professors gave the final during regular class time on the last day of classes. Instead of being a big comprehensive exam with the material we saw from the beginning of the semester, it was just a normal exam with the material covered in the last few weeks. To make it even easier, one of my finals was open book and we were allowed to reference our textbook, our computer (with no internet access), PowerPoint slides and notes. It was definitely my easiest exam!

I am now at the airport waiting for my flight to go home for the holidays! Before I left Daytona Beach, I made sure my schedule was set for next semester. I was on the waitlist for one of my classes that only had one section. Fortunately, the Department of Physical Sciences decided to add a second section of Biology because many students were on the waiting list for the class. If you are currently on a waitlist for one of your classes, you have a few options. First, you can wait until the first week of classes in January where the class might open since many students drop classes. Second, you can try to force entry in a class, but this process is more complicated since you have to talk with your Program Coordinator, the Department of your class and the professor teaching the course. Finally, you might be able to take the class online* through Worldwide. You can read my blog to see if an online class is a good option for you.

I will be home with my family until January 1. On the first day of 2017, I will head with my family to London for a week!

Happy holidays and see you in 2017!

Nicolas

*Current residential campus students must submit appropriate paperwork before enrolling in online courses through the Worldwide Campus. Consult with the Record’s Office, your advisor or admissions counselor before deciding whether online courses are right for you.

Day trip to Austin

Hello readers!

It was also my first flight on Southwest Airlines!

It was also my first flight on Southwest Airlines!

Last Saturday, I traveled to Austin, Texas for the day. I went to visit my friend  from high school who is currently studying at the University of Texas. I was supposed to make this trip in October but it did not work out. Thanks to Southwest’s no change-fees policy as I pushed the trip a few weeks later free of charge paying only the fare difference.

My flight was in the morning from Orlando (MCO) to Austin (AUS). When I landed in the capital of Texas, it was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit with rain showers. Coming from warm Florida, I didn’t even think of bringing a jacket.

During my short visit, my friend showed me his apartment which was about a 10-minute walk from campus. We then walked to the campus where we toured for a while. As we were walking past an open field, there were students running around throwing some balls and carrying a broomstick. I’m sure you already know what they were doing. Yes, they were playing quidditch like in Harry Potter. Well they weren’t flying but the game looked quite similar from the movie. It was fun to watch to say the least.

Quidditch game!

Quidditch game!

After watching the game for a few minutes, we went to get lunch at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Austin. Since I lived in San Antonio for three years, it was unquestionable that we had to go eat tacos! One of my favorite taco is called al pastor and comes with marinated pork, small pineapple chunks, chopped onions and cilantro and a slice of lime.

Later after lunch, we hanged out for a few hours before I had to leave for the airport for my flight back home. I really enjoyed my day in Austin!

Until next time!

Nicolas

Exploring the World’s Southernmost City

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego

In the first part of my trip to Argentina, I visited Buenos Aires for one day and a half. I spent the rest of the week with my brother and my friend in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world nicknamed “The End of the World.” We woke up at 3AM on Tuesday to take a 4:30AM flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. After a 3h30 nonstop flight, we landed at the small airport of Ushuaia. After we claimed our luggage at the carousel, we hoped on a taxi and headed to our Airbnb. Our place was located right in the center of the town where you can easily find various shops and restaurants.

The first thing we did when we arrived was to go eat breakfast in a small café just a few streets away from our Airbnb. After we finished eating, we walked a bit and explored the town. To me, the town felt like a mix of Vail and European ski resorts. We stopped by a grocery store to get a few items for the week.

Beagle Channel Catamaran Tour

In the afternoon, we went to do a catamaran tour on the Beagle Channel. The strait is located at the southern tip of South America and is shared by both Argentina and Chile. On the left side of the boat is Argentina while Chile is on the right side (the opposite on the way back). During the five hour tour, we visited islands of birds, sea lions, penguins and a lighthouse.

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Sea lions

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Penguins

We came back to the dock at around 8:30PM (Argentina Time) and it was still daytime. The sun in Ushuaia sets at 10PM but you can still see light in the skies at around 11PM! It is interesting to see that in the northeast of the United States it starts to become dark at around 4PM (EST) but the sun in Ushuaia sets 6 hours later!

Hike to Laguna Esmeralda

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Laguna Esmeralda

On the second day of our trip to Ushuaia we went to visit a popular place named Laguna Esmeralda. To get there, visitors have to do a 5.5 km hike to reach the lake. Once you arrive at the lake, the view is just beautiful! It reminded me of Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. We were lucky enough to be up there when the weather was cooperating. It can often get windy and cloudy once you arrive at the lake.

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After admiring the view and taking some photos for about one hour, we made our way back using the same path we went through on the way up. The hike was not really difficult, but I would definitely recommend to wear boots because it can get muddy at some places as you can see in the photo above.

Hike to the Martial Glacier

The next morning, we did another hike, this time to a glacier. I would say this hike was more difficult than the one we did the previous day. The hike to the glacier was more steep while the one to Laguna Esmeralda was generally flat. The more you climbed in altitude, the more it got steep. At the base there were trees and vegetation, but as you were going up, the ground was getting more rocky.

Top of the glacier

Top of the glacier (2,707 ft. ASL)

A few feet away from the top of the glacier, there was a warning sign indicating that hikers needed a specialized guide to climb higher. There was no more visual path in the mountain but we decided to explore and hike a bit higher (I don’t think my mom would have approved this)!

View of Ushuaia from the highest point we climbed (~3,500 ft. ASL)

View of Ushuaia from the highest point we climbed (~3,500 ft. ASL)

We couldn’t climb much higher because the ground was all covered with snow and we did not have any kind of hiking equipment with us. One of the perks of climbing higher is that you can go down on your back where there is a slope with snow and slide down on your back. I tried it a few times and it was awesome!

Well, that’s it for the outdoors activities we did in Ushuaia. If you are an outdoor person, I would definitely recommend you to visit if you go to Argentina! The next day, we flew back to Buenos Aires where we spent one night before making our final journey back to the United States. During that week, I flew more than 18,000 miles in the skies. I will write a story about all that air travel in the next few weeks.

Until next time!

Nicolas