Medical Emergency & Disaster Relief or MED Club at ERAU provides 24/7 emergency Medical Services to the ERAU Daytona Beach campus. With equipment in hand and kubota fueled up and ready to go, the MED club is ready for any disaster or emergency that comes their way. Founded May 6th, 2005 with operations starting in October 2005, MED club worked it’s way to the top of Tomcat Annex overseeing all operations of emergency medicine on campus.


I interviewed the Assistant Chief of MED Club, Doug Rybczynski. 

Skye: “What got you interested in the MED Club?”

Doug: “Since I was already an EMT in New Jersey, I wanted to be able to continue giving back to my community through emergency medicine.”

Skye: “How did you find emergency medicine or should I say how did emergency medicine find you?”

Doug: “I was in the civil air patrol and really wanted to do community service and give back to the people, but when we weren’t getting enough mission in civil air patrol I really wanted to make sure I was doing enough for the community not just training.”

Skye: “What is your title and job in MED Club?”

Doug: “I am the Assistant Chief and also an EMT & Crew Chief so essentially I am in charge of all operations that go on as well as running the crew that is on duty working with me.”

Skye: “How long have you been a part of MED Club?”

Doug: “2 years. I joined the first week of school my freshman year.”

Skye: “How many people are in MED Club and what are the different positions?”

Doug: “We have 8 officers, 15 CFRs (certified first responders), and currently 3 EMTs. So a total of 18-20 active members.”

Skye: “What would you say is the duty and responsibility of MED Club?”

Doug: “To provide the highest quality emergency medical care to the students and staff at ERAU.”

Skye: “What would you say to future members who would want to join MED Club?”

Doug: “Come in with an open mind and a willingness to put yourself out there for someone else. Stranger or not.”

Skye: “Thanks so much Doug.”

Doug: “No problem.”


Thank you to Doug for taking part and allowing me to interview you.

Finding ERAU, World Suicide Prevention Day and 9/11

The Question of College: How I Found ERAU
High school students, usually seniors, are constantly being hounded with the question of going to college. Parents get worried and students get frustrated. What to do, what to do, what to do. I can tell you from experience that I was in the same boat not too long ago. Here is where it started. Ever since I was four years old, I wanted to be a famous singer/actress/dancer. I ate, slept, and dreamt about being on stage in front of thousands of people performing my heart out. I had my first musical production of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” when I was in fifth grade. That followed with a myriad of productions all throughout middle school and high school. Some of which included: “A Christmas Story,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” In high school I took part in Senior Thespians and was in an elite group of singers that performed all around Broward County. Being swept up in the luxury of “fame,” I was never focused on getting an education and I never really enjoyed going to school – especially high school. This was until spring break 2013.
My family and I were heading to St. Augustine when my dad mentioned going to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The next thing I know, we were at the gates of KSC. The word “EXPLORE” in big blue letters was sitting on top of the entrance gate and seven rockets sat behind it. The moment I walked through that gate and saw those rockets I knew I had to do that. Now let me clarify, I didn’t know what “that” was at that moment. We spent the whole day at KSC meeting the people that worked there as well as an astronaut. By the end of the day, I was walking out of KSC in a blue NASA astronaut flight suit. That is what I wanted to do: I wanted to become an astronaut.
Two and a half years later I come to find myself at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach studying Human Factors & Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Biomechanical Engineering as a double degree, an officer and/or member of multiple clubs/organizations, involved on several projects, and working towards my ultimate dream of becoming an astronaut. On top of all that, I have managed my own website and social media sites interacting with people from all around the world sharing our love for space and knowledge.
skye and dad 1
My Dad and me at NASA 2013
So what is college to you? Building the next rocket to go to space? Creating a booming business that you will one day become the CEO of? Becoming the next Neil Armstrong or Sally Ride? Whatever it may be, a STEM degree, business degree, or anything else, you will find what you are looking for as long as you have a passion and drive behind it. That is how I found myself, my career, and ERAU. You can do the same.

World Suicide Prevention Day
Yesterday, September 10th, was World Suicide Prevention Day. Students, faculty and staff had the chance to write messages on colored flags that were put in the (the lawn in front of the Student Center). “Hope” and “love yourself” were just some of the words written by students and faculty at ERAU. With something as little as messages on colored flags, it speaks volumes.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1 (800) 273-8255 –
every eagle
Forever Remember 9/11. 14 years later we remember what happened on that tragic day back in 2001. Innocent lives were lost, and hearts were broken. We will forever remember their bravery and sacrifice. We will forever remember each one of the lives lost on that tragic day. They will never be forgotten. Together we stand as one. Never forget.

The ERA of U

At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, there are banners that are attached to the light posts with the famous saying, “The ERA of U”, a little play on the school’s acronym. Now that I am back for the fall, this quote is what motivates me to make my sophomore year the best one yet!

Although my freshman year at Riddle was nothing short of fantastic, like any hardworking student, I greeted summer with open arms and appreciated the chance for a break. My summer consisted of traveling outside of the United States for the first time in my life, seeing my first rocket launch, taking summer classes, and working at Universal Studios Orlando.

I kicked off my break by leaving the United States to travel to Gonaives, Haiti. It was my first time leaving the country, so of course I was a little timid. Some of you may be asking, “Rachel, what caused you to be so adventurous and act outside your comfort zone?” Well, my fellow students, I traveled to Haiti with an organization on campus called Project Haiti, which is one of the groups that make up the Clean Energy Club. The club’s overall goal is to not only to provide communities in Haiti with clean water, but to also educate them about sanitation and how to start up a business. Over the course of the school year, we designed and built a water pupurification system from scratch and traveled to Haiti and installed it at an orphanage in Gonaives. The experience was truly amazing. I met so many people and learned a lot about the Haitian culture. I even learned a little bit of Creole along the way!

Another highlight of my summer was visiting Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to see my first rocket launch, which was of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. It was my first time being to KSC, despite myself being a native Floridian. Everything about the launch was awesome, until the rocket actually exploded due to a faulty strut. I thought it was ironic that the rocket would explode on my first launch viewing. I had to tweet Elon Musk and tell him I was sorry I “jinxed” his launch, on his birthday. Although it was an overall failure, the launch only motivated me more to continue my degree in Aerospace Engineering, so I could one day design rockets. Ones that don’t blow up of course.

My summer adventures summarized my main point- that at Embry-Riddle, it really is the “Era” of “U”. Because of this university, I was able to help orphans in Haiti get clean water. Because of this university, I am able to learn more about my career goals and even become more passionate about it.

If there is one piece of advice I have for any new students at Riddle, it’s that you should make your college experience all about YOU. If you’ve always thought about joining the crew team, do it. If you want to join a sorority, do it. If you want to get your Level 1 certification for high power rocketry, do it. Why wouldn’t you do it? There is no better time to get involved than right now.

It’s really time for the “Era” of “U”!
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The Sweet Call of Fall!

Have you seen them?! The back to school commercials?! They are taking over, yet again to let everyone know it’s back to the books. I’m guessing they wanted to let me know that My internship is almost up too! NOOO!!! I love it here in D.C., all the rich history, the people I’ve met, and importantly the skills I have been learning. This experience will forever be in my heart. I want to express that through this internship, I have gained skills that are absolutely essential to benefit me as a CSO student and prepare me for my future in the commercial space flight industry. Attaining insight on human space flight standards, CFRs, and experience in a professional work environment, I have also gained the following underlying skills:

  • Extensive knowledge on NASA Commercial Crew Transportation standards
  • Expanded knowledge on FAA’s Recommended Practices for Human Space Flight Occupant Safety
  • Vast awareness on 14 CFR Chapter III part 460
  • Stronger ability to vocally express myself in a professional work environment
  • Confidence in my work ethic attitude and thought process
  • Advanced professional writing style

I never would have thought that less than a semester, about 10 weeks, would have I grown into a young professional, striving to make commercial human spaceflight accessible for everyone!


Space Shuttle Discovery at Udvar-Hazy Center at Chantilly, Virginia

Just hanging round Berlin.

I liked to hop on the U-Bahn and just ride around the city, hopping off whenever I got curious. I had gone up to Bernauer Strasse where the Berlin Wall Memorial marked one of the most common crossing points for those attempting to escape to the West, had ridden around on the Ring Bahn, watching the city flash by the train windows, had gone to Prinzessinengarten, a community garden with little stalls and make-shift seating arrangements for an afternoon of reading or conversing with friends. The train stations were numerous; regardless of where one was in the city, a train station or bus location could be found. The train stations themselves could be interesting. The script on the signage often gave a clue to when the station had been set up or most heavily used.

Waiting for a bus with my fellow travelers. The public transport in Berlin is efficient and convenient.

Waiting for a bus. The public transport in Berlin is efficient and convenient.

Old school world war era station signs.

Old school world war era station signs.

Wandering Berlin, living in Berlin, immersing myself in Berlin. That was the true reason for and the true wonder of studying abroad. Living in Berlin with just a handful of fellow students affords the particular opportunity of immersing oneself in an utterly unknown environment with the safety net of other students with just as little familiarity with the locale. The lack of familiarity was the most exciting factor, though.

Berlin is a fascinating city. Large but lacking the glossy veneer of places like London or Paris or New York, Berlin is raw and graffiti-covered and beautiful. A turbulent not-so-distant past, a thriving arts scene, a heavy Turkish influence (kebaps are their fast food – A+). One of the most interesting afternoons I spent was at the Turkish Market on Maybachufer in Neukolln, a double corridor of stalls selling everything from bolts of fabric to fresh produce to odds and ends from goodness knows where. Another afternoon was spent on a walking tour of the street art in Berlin.

Lucy by El Bocho, a Berlin street artist whose characters crop up all around the city.

Lucy by El Bocho, a Berlin street artist whose characters crop up all around the city.

A man juggling in a crowd listening to some live music at the Turkish Market.

A man juggling in a crowd listening to some live music at the Turkish Market.

In my time there, I developed rather a penchant for good cafes. Coffee culture is thriving in Berlin. Five Elephant, tucked away a block from Gorlitzer Park, a slightly unlikely location, had one of the best cappuccinos I have ever had and some hazelnut cake so good the sparrows were trying to nab it. Cuccuma, just two blocks from our residence in Mittenwalder Strasse, became a sort of local haunt; the warm-toned, hazy atmosphere, good coffee, and free wifi made it the perfect place to get some homework done, grab some breakfast, or just read.

At Five Elephant. Yum!

At Five Elephant. Yum!

My knee and tea at Cuccuma, all worn leather and warm wood.

My knee and tea at Cuccuma, all worn leather and warm wood.

By the end of the month, Berlin had started to feel more comfortable, just a little bit more familiar than when I had set foot off a connecting flight from Zurich. I won’t hit you with the cliché, but don’t for a minute underestimate how much being in an entirely new environment can affect you. For me…well, let’s say I would jump at an opportunity to live in Berlin again.

D.C. Life

Hello everyone!

Busy! Busy! Busy! That is the life in Washington D.C. Since my internship started at AST, I work Monday through Friday, from 8:00am to 4:00pm. I was placed AST-300, which is the regulations and analysis division. They have me doing a really cool things all over AST. Sometimes I can be running from one part of the office to another for meetings! I’m going to break it down my first month, since there is so much to digest!  AST Intern Patch

AST Intern Patch and Cubical Tag

  • June: I was introduced to all AST managers and was welcomed by many other AST employees during my first week. The first task I was assigned to do was to read 14 CFR part 401, 417, and 420, licensing and safety requirements for operation of launch site.  I was later handed the preamble to 2012 final rule to explosive site plans and the final rule to explosive site plans to read. These documents were for me to get more familiar with some of the work done in AST-300.  Through out the month there were ample meetings to attend. Deputy Manager to AST-300, Randy Repcheck, arranged meetings to present standard introductory course on AST office and the Commercial Space Launch Act part 1 and part 2.I was also able to attend a MRB (management review board) to learn the process of how management decides to approve or deny a license for a company. As the weeks progressed, every Monday, there is an intern tag up with aerospace engineers from AST-200, Ray Jenkins and Henry Lampazzi. The intern tag up consisted of learning more about the company, Virgin Galactic; check up on individual projects, and various proprietary topics in AST. Every Tuesday there are also AST-300 division meetings, which entail how AST-300 is doing and what is currently being worked on by each individual in the division. I had an amazing opportunity to attended “Women of AST” Lunch.  This lunch was celebrate the growth of women in the STEM field and growth of women working in AST. Towards the end of June,  I attended NAS Space Industry Days. This event lasted all week. Most of the information at this conference was proprietary, because of the content coming from different private companies. NAS Space Industry Days was a conference that gathered people from all over the commercial and aviation industry to talk about the needs and wants from the industry in regards of space traffic management.


Can’t believe how fast the summer has gone and the professional experience I’m living! Why can’t time stop?!


Never gets old seeing the Capital at the end of a work day!

Summer Internship – Last Part

Last week, my internship at Aéroports de Montréal ended. I started my first day back in the beginning of May right when I got back from Daytona Beach. I am grateful I got the opportunity to get an internship only at the end of my first year of college, especially since it was in an aviation related job.

I learned so many new things I did not know before I started to work there. I can now understand much more on how an airport operates daily.  I learned new terms like SMA messages which can look like a text message at the first glance. It is a shot abbreviated message sent by email between an airline and an airport mentioning flight schedules modifications. It includes the flight numbers, the date(s) of the modification, the type of aircraft, the seat capacity, and the origin of the flight and its arrival time, as well as the scheduled departure time and the destination. I also got to memorize a lot of the airlines’ IATA code (2-letter) and ICAO code (3-letter) and the aircrafts’ IATA code (3-letter) and ICAO code (4-letter). I know this can seem to be confusing but gets easy to master with time. I will take Air Canada and the Bombardier CRJ900 as an example: Air Canada (AC and ACA), and Bombardier CRJ900 (CR9 and CRJ9).

Aboard a CRJ900 in Montreal at gate C88 bound to Atlanta.

Aboard a CRJ900 in Montreal at gate C88 bound to Atlanta.

My brother and I both got out of work at the same time last week and my family and I took our annual trip down to Kennebunkport, Maine for a few days. It is about a 4h30 drive from our house in Quebec. We rent a small cottage and we have a good time at the beach and enjoy the sun. We usually go with our friends from home that have the same age as us. I remember when we were younger, we used to build sand castles and garages and play with plastic soldiers figures and tanks. We do not do that anymore… now we play frisbee and football.


Now that I have experienced a job in an airport, I would like to go work at an airline in the near future. We’ll see what happens next! I’m heading back home for the weekend but then I am flying north of Florida next week to go play golf in Georgia!

Until Next Time!


Flying high over WA State

Over the past two weeks, I have been spending a lot of time in the air. Although I’m not a pilot, I will never skip a chance to go flying. One of the best experiences I’ve ever had flying happened just two weeks ago.

Because Alaska Airlines operates over half of the flights at Sea-Tac International Airport, the two businesses have a close relationship. I’m thankful for this because Alaska Airlines took all of the interns (Port of Seattle, Alaska Airlines, and Horizon Airlines) on a delivery flight! Most people in the aviation industry never have the chance to go on a delivery flight of an aircraft, so I am very grateful I had the opportunity to.

The day started off at Alaska Airlines Headquarters, right across the road from Sea-Tac. We got to see all around the corporate building, then we got on a bus to head over to the Boeing 737 factory in Renton, WA. Boeing doesn’t offer public tours of the Renton factory, so it was pretty awesome to get to see inside. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos, so I don’t have any to share with you all. After the tour, we headed over to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle. It is one of the best flight museums in the country. My favorite part is the 787 Dreamliner and Air Force 1 that they have on display for people to walk through outside. Have any of you ever been inside a 787? They’re huge!

Hanging out at Alaska Airlines Headquarters

Hanging out at Alaska Airlines Headquarters

A quote I love at the Museum of Flight

A quote I love at the Museum of Flight

After we were all toured out, we got on the bus and headed over to the Boeing Delivery Center building at Boeing Field. From there, we were able to go out on the ramp and meet our ride for the next hour. It was a brand new Boeing 737-900ER. We were able to take pictures in front of the aircraft, in the engines, as well as inside of the landing gear! It was amazing to see all of the wiring that goes into just the landing gear.

New Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900ER

New Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900ER

The wiring for the landing gear!

The wiring for the landing gear!

Sitting in the engine

Sitting in the engine

Once we had taken all the pictures we could, we boarded the aircraft. Just like new cars, it had that “new airplane” smell. We were able to sit wherever we wanted and roam about the cabin. Our flight route was leaving from Boeing Field, flying over the Cascade Mountain Range, and then looping back to Paine Field in Everett, were there are more Boeing factories.

Port of Seattle interns on the flight

Port of Seattle interns on the flight

During the flight, we were able to ride jump seat and talk to the pilots. Boeing also gave out gift bags with goodies and a full meal. It was awesome! We even played trivia over the speaker inside the aircraft. It was such a long, aviation-filled day, but I will remember it for a lifetime. I hope everyone gets the chance to go on a delivery flight, because you truly get to appreciate all of the work that goes into creating a brand new aircraft.

Up in the flight deck

Up in the flight deck

Now I mentioned I’ve been doing a lot of flying lately. I also was able to go on a few GA flights over the past few weeks. The first, we just did a few loops around my town and over the lake where I live. It’s crazy how different things look from the air!

The second GA flight I went on was incredible. We took a 172 up to Seattle and did a scenic waterfront flight. Normally, if anyone wanted to go on a Seattle flight, it would cost hundreds of dollars per person. However, the beauty of knowing pilots is that you get that whole experience and more, for a lot less! We flew north over Tacoma, the Puget Sound, around and under the Bravo airspace at Sea-Tac, and up to Seattle. It was so pretty, especially because we went at sunset. Seattle is one of the most beautiful cities in the country, and its even better from the air! We couldn’t get enough in just one fly-by, so we looped around for about 30 minutes, taking pictures and admiring the city from above.

Seattle waterfront from above

Seattle waterfront from above

Just a few friends in a 172

Just a few friends in a 172

Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington


A few years ago, I never would’ve thought I would be where I am today. I mean a delivery flight?! That’s a dream come true. Then flying over Seattle with some of my best friends, I never would’ve guessed. When I get to reflect back on all of the amazing aviation experiences I have had, I feel so blessed to be attending ERAU, where I’m making my dreams come true one by one. It is incredible all of the opportunities Riddle has given me, just in my first year. I cannot wait for the aviation-filled years to come!

Until next time,


Blue Skies and Tailwinds

Hey Everyone!

Sorry It has been a while since my last blog, summer has really been keeping me busy!

Classes and Flying

Summer B classes are in full swing already! It’s crazy how fast classes over the summer go by! Summer time is one of the best times to take classes in my opinion. I love the opportunity to get classes done in about half the time. Also campus is pretty quiet and peaceful. Parking is no hassle at all and you don’t have as much of the pressure and stress from clubs and organizations.I also enjoy the smaller classroom sizes, it allows for a better overall learning environment!

The summertime is also a great time to get a lot of flight training done (if you aren’t getting weathered by the afternoon Florida thunderstorms) I have been busy flying almost every evening and I have gotten so much more done! My dad came to visit earlier in the summer and I even had the opportunity to take him up on one of my flights with my instructor! It was a cool moment to finally show one of my biggest supporters all that I have accomplished down here at Riddle so far.


Took my dad up flying when he came to visit!



One of the perks about going to Embry-Riddle, is having tons of friends that are pilots! A few friends and I rented a plane and flew up to Saint Simons Island, Georgia! This is a very popular destination among Riddle pilots because the flight is beautiful all the way up the coast and there is an excellent BBQ restaurant!!



Flying up to KSSI in Georgia!


There’s something about the satisfaction of flying to dinner that makes it so much more satisfying!



Summertime Fun

While I’m not in class or flying, I have spent the rest of my time hanging out with friends, traveling, and training for my upcoming races.

Like I said before, summer is a little bit more low key, which gives me more time to do things for myself! Just a few weeks ago my friend and I ran the River Racing Series 10k (6.2 miles!)  It was so much fun! We woke up super early and even got to watch the sunrise over the inter-coastal. The race was a big loop that ran alongside the water. It was such a beautiful morning and I even beat my goal time by almost 10 minutes! I have set a goal to complete the Honolulu Marathon  in December! Since I grew up in Hawaii I thought this would be the perfect first marathon. I have about 5 races lined up in the fall to train for the race including a 15K and half marathon.Wish me luck-this Florida heat is killer!


Post 10K !


For Fourth of July weekend, I was invited to go down to Naples (where my boyfriend Kyle is from) and take a trip down to Key West on a yacht! We spent the long weekend, walking around Duval Street, snorkeling out on the reefs and watching fireworks from the pier! There’s so much fun stuff to do down here in Florida, and it was so neat to be able to go to the southern most point of the U.S!


Fourth of July out on Sand Key Reef!


Sand Key Lighthouse


The reef was amazing! We saw all the different reef fish, a sea turtle, sting ray, and even a shark!


Attempting to be patriotic right before we watched the fireworks over the pier!


Life down here at Embry-Riddle has been really fun and pretty busy lately. I can’t believe that I am entering my final year of college! It really does go by so quickly and it is so important to soak up all the different opportunities that come your way, whether it’s academically or socially!

Until Next Time;Blue Skies and Tailwinds!



Living and Learning Abroad

Brandenburger Tor

Brandenburger Tor

At this point, we were all a little lost. Humanities class for the day had involved a walking tour of Berlin that ended at Brandenburger Tor. None of us were sure how to get from there to the Embry-Riddle WorldWide campus, a few rooms in a building. The instructions the tour guide gave us weren’t much help, either, considering we had been in the city for less than a week. After several wrong transfers and too much walking around stations, we arrived at Electrical Engineering I…significantly late. Dr. Demirkiran, the professor for EE335, was flexible, understanding. We all went for lunch and then proceeded to spend approximately six hours in class, covering content until it was clear no more content would enter our brains. This was not how college worked on main campus, but I was not complaining. It was a lot more interesting this way.

In one day, we had learned about Berlin the city and some of its major landmarks and the U-bahn and S-bahn. We learned that the route from Kurfürstenstrasse passed through “the stripper district” (a la experience and the tour guide), so we should go to class via Nollendorfplatz instead. We learned some basic circuit-y goodness and that Dr. Demirkiran may have some of the best anecdotes in existence.

Summer abroad was definitely better than any regular semester, and I’m not just saying that because the classes are pass/fail (though that is certainly a plus). Studying abroad is a lot more than just cramming information into our occasionally receptive heads.

The humanities class, Memory and Memorialization, taught by Dr. Silverman, met every morning at various locations, primarily in Berlin but also, for the few days we were there, in Paris. The day of the walking tour, day two of the official start of classes, we met at Hakescher Markt, a slightly touristy hub of restaurants and stores near Museumsinsel (Museum Island).

Our guide, Tarek (in the white shirt) gives us a brief rundown of the history of Berlin.

Our guide, Tarek (in the white shirt) gives us a brief rundown of the history of Berlin.

With the focus on memory, the class involved a lot of museums, monuments, and memorials. We visited Topography of Terror, an open-air museum about WWII and Berlin. The interior part of the exhibition is housed in the old SS headquarters, and a portion of the Wall extends along the street adjacent to the exterior exhibit.

Topography of Terror

Topography of Terror

The Jewish Museum was an architectural marvel that discussed the culture and history of the Jews not only through its exhibits but also through its experiential and immersive design. The Stolpersteine, one of the most peculiar and interesting methods of memory we studied, involved small brass plaques integrated into the cobblestoned sidewalks in front of the last known residences of various victims of the Nazis. The Stolpersteine were placed around Berlin by an artist, not the government or some organization dedicated to remembering something.

The name was apt: Stumbling Stones. These plaques were scattered throughout Berlin.

Stolpersteine                                     The name was apt: Stumbling Stones. These plaques were scattered throughout Berlin.

By visiting so many museums and memorials and walking all around Berlin, we really immersed ourselves in the city. We thought about the city not through the lens of a tourist looking for the flashy, glitzy, and beautiful but as people who, for a short time, had to live and learn within a new culture.

Electrical Engineering I, in contrast to Humanities, met in a classroom every afternoon. We usually spent several hours a day covering content. However, Dr. Demirkiran always interspersed the material with anecdotes. When we arrived or stayed late enough for hunger to take over, he joined us on our quest for food among the variety of options (falafel, kebap, sushi) just off Nollendorfplatz station. Despite the limited amount of time available, Dr. Demirkiran successfully covered the entirety of the necessary material for EE335.

After class, Dr. Demirkiran sometimes took us to cool places around Berlin just for kicks. Perhaps one of the best parts of studying abroad is the more casual interaction with the professors. We got to know our professors as people outside of the classroom setting, which not only made approaching them with questions easier but also made the experience a lot more fun.

Two of my classmates (Michael and Franck) and I at Schloss Charlottenburg...trying to decipher Dr. Demirkiran's photo instructions.

Two of my classmates (Michael and Franck) and I at Schloss Charlottenburg…trying to decipher Dr. Demirkiran’s photo instructions.

Chloe Mora looking for animals in the Berlin Zoo.

Chloe Mora looking for animals in the Berlin Zoo.

Studying abroad is not the typical learning experience. The classes are structured differently. Humanities was an immersive learning experience, which was a lot of fun and a lot more meaningful than a few texts and some theoretical discussions. Electrical Engineering lasted for several hours, as opposed to many more one hour classes. I actually found the different helpful and more enjoyable; drawing connections between concepts was easier, and less time was wasted reviewing previous lectures.

Both classes assigned homework and had assessments, but they were few and void of busy work. Humanities had readings assigned to accompany the sites visited during the class and asked us to think critically of the places we visited and their impact on the process of remembering via questions posted on the discussion board and two papers. Electrical Engineering had homework every few days, practice problems that tested the concepts covered in the preceding lessons and that we handed in electronically. A final exam consisting of an in-class and take-home element assessed our comprehension of the course.

Studying abroad did involve actual studying. However, the class formats were quite different from the usual semester formats, interaction with professors was more relaxed, and learning involved a lot more than just academic content.