Students Abroad and Egypt | Nose Under the Community Tent | Paul Losch | Palo Alto Online |

Local Blogs

Nose Under the Community Tent

By Paul Losch

About this blog: I was a "corporate brat" growing up and lived in different parts of the country, ending in Houston, Texas for high school. After attending college at UC Davis, and getting an MBA at Harvard, I embarked on a marketing career, mai...  (More)

View all posts from Paul Losch

Students Abroad and Egypt

Uploaded: Jan 30, 2011
I spoke on Skype with my daughter last night. She is doing a college semester in China.

She is finding that there is not a UPS Store as she goes through her experience. Shipping stuff and traveling around the country is not like the States. I think it's great that she is learning how things work or do not work elsewhere as part of her college experience.

She is a student at Middlebury College, which has numerous foreign language programs for its students around the world, including Egypt.

The College is trying to get their students out of Egypt, and in the meantime, the students are confined to their hotel.

This real world stuff, not along the lines of this rarefied environment we have in this part of the world.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by learning and discovery, a resident of ,
on Jan 30, 2011 at 10:16 am

What is going to happen to Egypt next? Will they make a hard right turn like Iran? Or will they become more progressive like Eastern Europe?

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of ,
on Jan 30, 2011 at 10:57 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Odd, isn't it, your daughter is safe in China but students in Egypt are in danger?
An authoritarian government is better than a people's government. Just barely.

Posted by svatoid, a resident of ,
on Jan 30, 2011 at 12:27 pm

There is UPS, FedEx, Airborne Express and other carriers in China for shipping stuff. If this is her major problem while in China then she is doing okay. Perhaps if she had been educated to what happens in the real world as opposed to Palo Alto, she would not have these "problems".

Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Jan 31, 2011 at 4:27 am

Paul Losch is a registered user.


You demonstrate a lack of understanding of international shipping and domestic shipping in countries other than the US.

Airborne Express and DHL merged in the US in the 2000?s and flamed out, shutting down its major US domestic operations in 2008. (BTW, I worked at DHL for 8 years.)

I had two points in my post:

1. It?s not the same as it is in the States

2. I think it is great that my college age daughter is learning that lesson

Posted by svatoid, a resident of ,
on Jan 31, 2011 at 6:30 am


I admit I made a mistake, Airborne Express does not exist anymore--they do exist as DHL and they handle only international shipping. Because I mixed up a company's name does not mean that I "demonstrate a lack of understanding of international shipping and domestic shipping in countries other than the US".
ANyway, your daughter could use them for her shipping needs.

I think the issue is that you only want certain feedback to your postings and any comments that you disagree with must be met with condemnation and insults.
I think you are too thin skinned to be writing a blog that people can respond to.

Posted by Resident, a resident of ,
on Jan 31, 2011 at 8:04 am


I hope that your daughter is not reading your blogs. I also hope she expects that her friends are not reading your blogs. This is the third blog you have used her trip to China as an introduction to your topic and it just may sound to her like criticism.

This could be a cause of her reluctance to get involved in what is going on in the world as she is afraid that she will be used as an example, yet again. This is probably embarrassing to her and a complete turn off from the news media.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Bob, a resident of ,
on Jan 31, 2011 at 8:32 am

At the moment, Egypt has not broken down into total chaos. People can still get around, although it's possible that that will change over time. The State Department is taking a more positive hand in helping Americans exit the country, than it usually does when there is an internal political meltdown of a country--

State Department charters flights to evacuate Americans:
Web Link

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of ,
on Jan 31, 2011 at 11:08 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

It is past time for Americans to re-learn that there is nothing worse than the fury and destructiveness of a mob. Especially in a foreign country, the only rule is there are no rules. Do not hang around the edge of a riot just to see what is going on. The only rule is there are no rules.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of ,
on Jan 31, 2011 at 1:39 pm


Jennie Wiseman, the mother of another Middlebury College daughter, was just on Fox News. She is pleading the case for her own trapped daughter in Egypt. Apparently, Middlebury had an insurance policty that "guaranteed" emergency plane lifts out of dangerous zones. The problem is that the plane evaporated, without ever taking off. Now, her daughter is at the mercy of the U.S. State Dept., at the Alexandria airport. Jennie is doing what any mother would do: Whine as loud as possible to get her daughter out of there.

The problem is that events are spinning out of control. Even the elite Middlebury kids are feeling the heat. It could end up that the U.S. Marines will need to come to her rescue. If so, Paul, should the Marines shoot lead bullets, if necessary, to protect these elite kids, thus killing poor Egyptians?

Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Jan 31, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Paul Losch is a registered user.


The President of the United States decides what to do when American citizens, college student of any stripe included, are in a country in dangerous circumstances.

I suspect you and I know about the same about this dire situation. Opinions may vary on what to do about it.

It is not a happy lesson, but for my daughter, and I suspect many of her ilk who are from numerous colleges, studying abroad, it is something that was not in the lesson plan.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of ,
on Jan 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm


When American students were in a pinch in Grenada, Reagan sent in the U.S. Army Rangers. Those rescued students kissed American soil when they got home. However, many Grenadian nationals were killed, because they shot at the Rangers, or they impeded progress. Add in a number of Cubans.

Paul, once again, should elite American students be rescued, if it means the taking of many lives of the the native peoples? Assume that an American president determines that it is necessary, just so that you cannot squirm your way around actually making a real argument.

As Joe Louis said, "He can run, but he can't hide". Time to get real, again, Paul.

Posted by Bob, a resident of ,
on Jan 31, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Maybe we should be thinking about whether or not to send the Marines in to secure the Suez Canal, should it be closed by one faction, or another, Not certain how important a few college kids are, in the grand scheme of things, but the Canal carries 8% of the worlds ocean-going cargo, according to someone quoted on one of the TV shows this morning.

Posted by Resident, a resident of ,
on Jan 31, 2011 at 3:44 pm


It seems that it is OK to challenge Paul on his opinions, but standing up for his daughter's embarrassment at being used yet again in his blog is not OK.

Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Jan 31, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Paul Losch is a registered user.

I am walking my dog. I congregate with others doing the same. We chat about various things. Children off at college are a common topic.

Posted by Frankie, a resident of ,
on Feb 1, 2011 at 3:47 am

I participated in a few NEOs (non-combatant evacuation operations) during my military career. I can assure you college students get no preference for who gets out. The best way to guarantee your child a seat on a plane or boat out is to make sure they have registered with their local US embassy or consulate and get put on the "warden list" for when the call goes out. That's the best way to get name recognition. When the poop hits the fan, all other assumptions are off.

Posted by localparent, a resident of ,
on Feb 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Theme-less, a resident of ,
on Feb 2, 2011 at 5:49 am

I dont seem to understand the theme of Paul's Blog Post:

Is he asking for evacuation of his daughter from China - since she was not able to find UPS service.

What is the theme of your post? Pray tell.

Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Feb 2, 2011 at 6:05 am

My point in this blog is that the way things work elsewhere in the world can be very different than what a person experiences growing up in Palo Alto (and equivelant communities elsewhere in the country.)

I think it is a good thing for college age people to learn this lesson, although the situation in Egypt is very scary and more than anyone should bargain for.

As for my daughter in China, she encountered some challenges booking some domestic transportation and arranging to ship some belongings from Beijing to the city in western China (Kunming) where will stay for the balance of her time there. She has had plenty of experience doing such tasks in the States, and found it to be a more difficult experience in Beijing. She did figure it out, and I think it was a good learning experience for her.

Posted by Huh?, a resident of ,
on Feb 2, 2011 at 6:34 am

"Palo Alto (and equivelant communities elsewhere in the country.)"

Wow! Palo Altans really do think they are all that and more! I think a more relevant topic would be, what makes up Palo Altan culture to produce such self-styled elite, maybe naive, sheltered children?

Posted by Resident, a resident of ,
on Feb 2, 2011 at 8:04 am

Everyone who lives abroad for a period of time will find it different from home. Other countries have different ways of doing things. Some of these are better than here and some are worse. Of course anyone abroad will take a while to get used to the system and anyone with determination and common sense will work it out.

This is not a unique experience for a young person. Even someone in their middle age will find a short time abroad a learning experience in other cultures and other ways to do things. This is why travel is an education in itself.

Even between countries that share the same language, there is still a culture divide.

This topic is a non-topic.

Posted by Bob, a resident of ,
on Feb 2, 2011 at 10:36 am

I'm normally in daily contact with people in China on a social basis. Normally, I would IM (Instant Message) one, or two, of them and find out how they would move their possessions from one city to another, if they were going to move. Unfortunately, everyone in China has gone to their home towns for Spring Festival (Lunar New Year), and so are not easily accessible for a quick question.

It's a little difficult to believe that a highly educated Palo Alto resident could not ask a local the same question. People move from city to city all the time in china, so there must be ways to move their belongings.

(On a personal note, one of the ladies I communicate with IM'ed me yesterday from the train that she was taking home. She did so using her new iPhone. Got to love that Silicon Valley technology. There's every reason to believe that it will change the world. For instance, a foreign exchange student could use an iPhone to "Google" [or "Baidu"] for a moving firm, or a trucking firm.)

Posted by Bob, a resident of ,
on Feb 2, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Since we're talking about China (or are we?), here's a link that might be interesting to some folks:

CCTV's Spring Festival Gala:
Web Link

Every year the Chinese government broadcasts something called: Spring Festival Gala. It's a 4-hour blowout that showcases as many groups that can be fit into 5-7 minute time slots. Some of the songs have English subtitles, so those who don't speak Mandarin aren't totally left out to dry.

My friends tell me that most Chinese families hunker down in front of the TV to enjoy the show, although some of the younger people are showing less enthusiasm these days than their parents.

The skits tend to be a little too long, or so it seems to me.

Lots of Chinese "culture" here.

Enjoy ..

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

I Was At The Stanford Shooting. Let’s Do Better Next Time
By Laura Stec | 3 comments | 3,317 views

Some of the best jobs around
By Sherry Listgarten | 5 comments | 2,918 views

Palo Alto's Pizz'a Chicago 'not ready to quit' and seeks funds to support downsizing
By The Peninsula Foodist | 4 comments | 2,142 views

People and Relationships Never Stop Being a Work in Progress
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,631 views


Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 29 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away more than $9 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.