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

The End is Near

Hello there!

Friday, December 9 is the last official day of classes, and there are four days of finals starting on Saturday; typically, there are no classes as it is a study day, but it is being used as a make-up day since we missed three days of classes due to Hurricane Matthew back in October.

As of now, there is just one final that stands between me and one month of vacation. I am very much looking to having some time off to relax, hang out with friends, and travel.

The end of this semester has been fairly easy; I just had two regular tests this past Thursday and only one final exam. Plus, I had a paper due for my final grade earlier in the week. So overall, it is a pretty low key end of the semester.

It is interesting how the end of the semester can vary a lot from semester to semester and vary a lot for every person, but thankfully, things are winding down and the end is near.

More soon!

Jack

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

We’re 93% There!

With less than two weeks left in this semester, you have to stop and wonder where the past four months went. I still remember my train ride back to Florida very vividly, despite it happening late August.

But, since it’s near the end of the semester, there’s no time to reminisce: Not yet. Group projects and tests make their final appearances while final exams and course evaluations follow shortly after. But in the midst of organized chaos come some periods of down time.

Chancellor Brady recently held an art exhibit which showcased artwork for students and faculty. Ferrari’s formula one racing team brought an F-1 car to campus. Also, the Student Government Association held a town hall to answer some hot-button topics on the minds of students.

It fascinates me how diverse Riddle is because there’s always something for someone. I guess we have our diverse student body to thank for that. Anyway, I’ll probably make one last post before finals so stay tuned!

Thanksgiving Break in Argentina

Instead of heading home for Thanksgiving like most students did, I decided to visit Argentina with my brother. As a former airline intern with Air Canada, I was offered two roundtrip tickets to go to any destination in the world the air carrier serves. The Thanksgiving break was the perfect time of the semester to use those tickets since they expire next January and there were blackouts dates in December for Christmas and the New Year. Because of Thanksgiving, I had five days of holiday including the weekend. Missing the first two days of the week made the trip possible since I now benefited of a full week of vacation.

Since we had to fly Air Canada, we had to go through Canada to fly to Argentina. I drove to Orlando and then I flew to Boston on Friday to join my brother. On Saturday evening, we boarded an Air Canada flight to Toronto where we connected to catch another flight to Buenos Aires. My brother and I arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina the next day on Sunday after a long day of traveling.

After getting settled in our hotel, we went out for dinner where we met our friend from high school who is studying abroad in Buenos Aires. After our dinner we walked around Palermo Soho, a popular neighbourhood in Buenos Aires.

A street in Buenos Aires

A street in Buenos Aires.

The next day we visited the city since it was our last day in Buenos Aires. We visited La Recoleta Cemetery (Cementerio de la Recoleta) which is one of the most visited site in Buenos Aires. We also visited the Floralis Genérica, a big metal flower. The six petals of the flower close in the evening during sunset.

Cementerio de la Recoleta

Cementerio de la Recoleta

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Floralis Genérica

The next morning (Tuesday), we all flew from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Ushuaia is the world’s southernmost city. We spent the rest of the week over there doing some fun activities. Stay tuned to learn more about the city with the nickname of The End of the World! In the meantime, you can enjoy some fun facts about Argentina below:

Interesting Facts About Argentina

  • While I was on the taxi going from the airport to the hotel, I noticed that drivers drive very close to other cars. Cars in Argentina are quite small. It is rare to see an F150 on the road. Most vehicles in AR are manual and not automatic.
  • Did you know that Argentina has the widest street in the world? You’d be surprised how long it takes to cross Avenida 9 de Julio.
  • When you go to restaurants, the waiter will usually not bring glasses of water to your table. You will have to order a bottle of agua if you are thirsty.
  • Argentines apparently do not use black pepper in their recipes. You will only find salt on the table.
  • Unlike North America, Argentines eat dinner pretty late. You will probably be the only customer in the restaurant if you go eat at 7PM.
  • When two people greet each other, they kiss on the cheek. Even men.
  • The seasons are the opposite. When it is winter here, it is summer over there and vice-versa.

Until next time!

Nicolas

Finishing up my second to last semester… Where has the time gone?

Hi everyone,

I hope your Thanksgiving Break is off to a good start!

Over this Thanksgiving Break I am reflecting on my time here at ERAU. I can’t believe this semester is already almost over. I’m graduating in May, and I can’t help but think, where has the time gone? As I finish up group projects for my Managerial Accounting, Airport Management, and Social Responsibility and Ethics classes, I am realizing just how close I am to the real world… A full time job, the end of summer breaks, the start of paying rent, and being on my own.

A few projects and tests stand between me and my final semester of my undergraduate career at ERAU. Most people are excited to graduate from college, and don’t get me wrong, I am too, it’s just bittersweet. Since I’ve been at Embry-Riddle, I’ve grown up. I’ve stepped way out of my comfort zone, traveled to new places, learned how to be a better student, employee, leader, and person, succeeded, failed, and worked the hardest I have ever before. College changes you, and no matter how cliche that sounds, it’s so true. The experiences I have had at Embry-Riddle are experiences that I won’t ever forget.

While at ERAU, I have been blessed with classes that have challenged me, leadership positions in organizations that have taught me how to work with people, great friends who have been there for me throughout these three years, and faculty and staff who really care about the success of students. Looking back on my time here, I realize it was the best decision I could have made when deciding on a University. Everyday I am surrounded with friends and classmates who will one day lead the aviation, security, and engineering industries. In class I have learned how to schedule flights, price tickets on flights, value stocks and bonds, how an airplane works, how to create an Airport Master Plan, and so much more. These in-class experiences have led me to complete two internships during my time here, which led me to gaining full time employment offers before I graduate. Embry-Riddle is the real deal.

I love this University, and am saddened that I’ll have to leave in just five months. I’m excited to start my new life at American Airlines in Dallas, Texas, and am proud to say that Embry-Riddle is the reason why I will be able to begin my career in with a commercial airline.

Until next time,

Lindsey

Quick Update

Hi All,

It’s finally the week of Thanksgiving! Just 11 days or regular class remain and two days of finals. The end is near!

Thankfully, we just have a two days of classes this week which makes it a pretty easy week. Overall, classes have been keeping me pretty busy, but I have also been enjoying some down time in Daytona.

I’m looking forward to heading home Wednesday morning to spend Thanksgiving with my family as well as to see some of my friends. Plus, it will enjoy some R&R before crunch time sets in after Thanksgiving.

I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Jack

Break-ception with Astrophotography

I think with all the breaks we’ve been having and have had so far in the month of November, we might as well just take the whole month off right? Not quite.

With the semester nearing its end, the classes, assignments, tests, and projects are certainly upping their level of difficulty. In addition to school, juggling three jobs has also been quite difficult. Time management is key and I’m still working on it. Hopefully Thanksgiving break will give me some time to catch up with all my classes since things have been getting a bit cluttered in my schedule.

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Day & Age – The Killers

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ITS SO PRETTY.

Thankfully, the breaks we’ve had so far allowed me the opportunity to travel deep into the Floridian wilderness for some stellar astrophotography! Ocala National Forest is definitely one of my new favorite places in Florida just because of how beautiful it is at night. I mean, sure you have to drive like one hour and thirty minutes out of your way to get there, but you’re greeted by breath-taking views of our vast galaxy.

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Stars and constellations make themselves known while the Milky Way comes out of hiding where you can see it with the naked-eye: I almost broke down and cried because of how beautiful it was. Because I was so far away from civilization, I had to be careful with my surroundings…which can be hard to do as you’re admiring the scenery around you.

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That’s not my truck.

I recommend traveling with a few friends, bring some snacks, and the proper photography gear if you decide on traveling to the vast expanse of Ocala National Forest. Keep checking the weather days in advance to make sure the weather will be clear and not cloudy. The first time I went, I drove so far that I somehow drove past the clear weather and found myself surrounded by fog: Not cool.

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Shutter Speed: 30 seconds, Aperture: f/2.8, ISO 2500 & Focal Length: 16mm

In the realm of photography, a camera that allows for manual control and a tripod are pretty much what you need shoot photos with. In your settings, try the following exposure settings:

  • Shutter Speed: Between 20-30 seconds.There’s a thing called the “500/600 Rule” which basically involves taking either 500 or 600 and dividing it by your focal length, which is how wide you’re currently shooting (i.e. 16mm). The resulting number is the shutter speed you need to shoot at/below to stop the stars from “moving/streaking” in your image.
  • Aperture: Try to open up your aperture to its widest setting. Most lenses can do f/3.5, while other lenses can do f/2.8. In the world of photography, 2.8 is wider than 3.5.
  • ISO: This is your sensor’s sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO, the more light it captures. Keep in mind, the higher the ISO, the more likely you are to get noise in your images. Because my 5D Mark III can handle noise fairly well, I shot at ISO 2500.

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If your photos turn out too dark, try increasing your ISO. Likewise, if your photos are too bright, consider decreasing your ISO to lower the amount of noise in your photo. Most importantly, set a 2 second delay after you press the shutter button. This will allow you to take the photo without having the camera move after you’ve touched it.

With that said, go out and have fun. That’s the most important thing!

Day Trip to Baltimore

Hello readers!

Since we did not have school last Friday, I traveled to see my friend in Baltimore, MD. He graduated from Embry-Riddle last spring and is currently the station manager of a ground handling company at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI). I spent the afternoon touring with him.

We first started inside the airport where there is a small museum open to the public before the TSA security checkpoint. The Observation Gallery is located between Concourse B and C on the upper level. It features a small observation deck that faces a portion of the airport’s apron.

Observation Gallery (Source: Baltimore Washington International Airport)

Observation Gallery (Credits: Baltimore Washington International Airport)

After the quick museum tour, we went on to the ramp and drove around on the apron. It’s fun to be a passenger inside the airport but it’s also fun to be in the real action of the things thats are going on around an aircraft at the gate. I have always been interested at airline operations at the gate. Ever since I am young, I always sit next to the window at the gate and look outside.

There is a lot going on from the time an aircraft gets marshalled to the gate to the time it gets pushed back from the gate. Depending on the aircraft size, the ground crew only has less than an hour to deplane the passengers of the arriving flight, unload the bags, fuel and clean the aircraft, receive the inflight catering, board passengers and load the bags for the next departure.

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Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900ER during turnaround for its evening flight back to Seattle-Tacoma. (Credits: Author)

As the Alaska aircraft was being pushed back from the gate, it was already time for me to catch my flight to go back to Daytona. I really enjoyed my experience during my short visit. I had been on the ramp previously but not as close as I did on Friday.

More Adventures
Next week, I’m off to South America with my brother for the Thanksgiving break. Stay tuned for more blogs about my next trip! You can follow me on Snapchat and Instagram @montrealspotter for live pictures.

Until next time!

Nicolas

First Class of the Semester Completed

This Wednesday, I completed my first class of the semester. You might be thinking that this is impossible since we are only in November and the fall semester ends in mid-December. The professor let me take the final exam in advance. Just kidding!

The Business Statistics class (MATH 222) I took was an online class through Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus. It was the first time I took a Mathematics online course. Even though I was pleased overall with the class, I would not recommend it to students who are studying at the Daytona Beach or Prescott campuses. The main reason is that an online Math class is quite different from the other classes students have to take.

As you know, a Math class is more about solving problems than writing essays. It happened a couple times over the semester that I did not understand how to do a problem. Professors don’t really teach you anything in online classes; you are on your own. You learn by reading the textbook and by looking at the slides. I found that my best friend during that class was the Internet. I watched videos that explained how to do certain problems. Sometimes, I thought the videos explained better than the textbook did.

Three Weeks Remaining
Only a few weeks separate today from the end of the fall semester! This also means that end of semester projects, essays and finals are arriving at the same time. I have my final analytical report due on Monday in my Tech Report class (COM 221). A presentation about this report is also required as part of the final grade. In Comparative Religions (HU 345), I have an essay due right after the Thanksgiving break. In my Supply Chain class (BA 363), I have a group project to do due on the last day of classes. Finally, I have a few tests left in some classes before the final exam.

Long Weekend
On Veterans Day (today), I am going to see my friend in Baltimore, MD. He works for a  ground handling company at the airport so I hope to learn a few things during my short visit! Before every flight I board, I try to sit by the window at the gate area to look at all the activities going around the aircraft. Today, I’ll have the chance to be walking on the airport ramp!

Until next time!

Nicolas

Editor’s note: 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.