Summer B: EE in Berlin – Week 3

It’s a somber feeling knowing that for each post I make, I’m one week closer to leaving this beautiful and vibrant city. Thankfully, these past few days have been nothing but fun. And, they have put my worries to ease…for now.

This has been my lovely home for the past three weeks. It’s near the middle of the city, with great access to a supermarket, public transportations, and local restaurants. Look closely and you’ll see one of my friends.

Sometimes me and my friends go explore the city at night. Here, a bunch of us are debating where should we go play soccer in the middle of the city.

Last Wednesday our whole class took a big trip to Vienna, Austria. We only stayed in the city for a couple of hours, but it was really nice to see another city, let along another country, other than Berlin.

Sometimes, guest appearances are scheduled, while others are not.
Top: My good friend Piers Chapman and his friend Kim George paid me an unexpected visit while in Berlin.
Above: Another one of my friends, who I know from back home, is studying in Vienna and it just so happened that our schedules lined up when I was set to visit the city.

I think this trip was the first time I boarded a plane from the tarmac. It’s definitely nothing earth-shattering, but it’s definitely something that all avgeeks should experience at least once in their life.

With my third week completed, it’s time to take care of some loose ends and to really make my last few days in Berlin count.

Summer B: EE in Berlin – Week 2

Hello, hello! I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I’ve stepped foot into Germany. There’s just so much to do, but so little time to do it. I guess I need to make these last two weeks count.

Aside from the large assortment of Audis and Mercedes(es?), Berlin has a lot of really quirky and classic cars. Everything from Volkswagen Microbuses to Porsche 911s, Berlin has it all.

It rained consistently for a few days last week. A lot of thunder and lightening, but mostly just light to moderate rain. It almost reminded me of home.

Given how easily our professor, Dr. Ilteris Demirkiran, is able to traverse the city and seems to know everyone we run into, we low-key think his is a spy.

The city has such a rich and diverse mix of architecture styles, and every section (or district) of the city is different from the next.

With class starting to wind-down, there’s going to be a lot more time to travel and explore Berlin. My class is also taking a trip to Vienna, Austria this Wednesday! Not super excited since it’s a 6 a.m. flight and we need to be up by 3 a.m., but it’s worth it.

Second Semester & Cultural Exploration

Happy July everyone! I’m currently blogging from Lawrence, Kansas (yes, again).

I am half way through my second semester of an intensive language course and I’m still alive, and possibly thriving? I took my second midterm of the summer and have only two weeks left until I’ve completed an equivalent of one year of Arabic studies in two months.

In the first two weeks of second semester (in addition to class, tutoring, quizzes, exams, midterms, homework, and studying) I’ve attended a cultural presentation hosted by a Kuwaiti Professor, a field trip to a middle eastern café, and an Arab cooking class followed by an Africa Eats Dinner. I also have a new tutor from Saudi Arabia.

 

Insight to how these things contribute to my journey learning Arabic:

Culture plays a huge role in influencing many different aspects of the Arab world. In my experience with the Arabic language thus far, my exposure to different regions of Arab culture has been extremely beneficial in helping me to understand how words sprout new meanings and have certain connotations in different contexts. This understanding is extremely important in developing not only fluency, but native-like communication. Furthering my comprehension of Arabic words beyond classroom utilization is especially useful when developing my own vista of words that don’t translate into English.

On my road to becoming a global citizen, and in preparation to be able to take part in foreign relations in the future as an officer, I’ve realized the extreme importance that breaking language barriers plays. The more native speakers I get to interact with and the more I learn about courtesies and take part in different customs of diverse Arab culture, I feel more personally connected with what I’m learning. Beyond standard educational benefits, I’m beginning to grasp how learning Arabic truly offers numerous intangible benefits that extend beyond reading and writing and tap into why communication is a vital skill in a globally interactive world.

Cooking Class Highlight:

One of my absolute favorite dishes I learned to cook is an Egyptian dish that doesn’t translate into English but is pronounced sort of like “mesa’a’ah”. This is an eggplant dish with potatoes, spicy peppers (we used jalapenos), and homemade tomato sauce with garlic, onions, and spices. All of the ingredients are cooked separately, then are added together in a dish and baked. This food is absolutely amazing and fairly simple to put together.

The actual name: المسقعة

 

In addition to learning Arabic, and dealing with the ever-present Kansas summer heat, I’ve been running in the early mornings or late evenings depending on the day and have expanded my caffeine repertoire on quests seeking new study spaces.

Will report back soon!

Summer B: EE in Berlin – Week 1

Hello!

After a very long, an rather unexpected hiatus, I’m back! This time, I’m coming to you all the way from Berlin, Germany where I’ll be spending the entire month of July doing Electrical Engineering classes! Me and approximately 18 other Embry-Riddle students will be studying with one of Riddle’s finest professors: Dr. Ilteris Demirkiran.

My journey begins after a 16 hour journey from my hometown of Eatontown, NJ. Upon arriving in Berlin, I quickly found myself in a busting, vibrant city.

Classes were held in Embry-Riddle’s Berlin campus. After class, we would often travel as a group throughout the city.

The food in Berlin is also fantastic too! Though to be honest, with Demirkiran at the wheel, we mostly ate Turkish food.

The people I’ve met are so friendly and wonderful to talk to. This lovely dog is Minki. She belongs to a lovely couple we met while exploring our city. She’s four months old and is a giant fluff ball.

Berlin is extremely diverse when it comes to geography. One minute you’re inside a concrete jungle and the next you find yourself inside a massive park.
There is so much to do in Berlin that it honestly makes New York City feel super small.

Overall my first week was absolutely fantastic. I’m super excited to spend more time here, but am sad to know that every day I spend here puts me closer to leaving.

First Semester & Finals

Happy July everyone! I’m currently blogging from Lawrence, Kansas.

My first semester of Arabic is officially over! One month in an intensive language course is no joke. I’m practically dreaming in Arabic at this point (kidding, but I wish).

This past month has flown by, from mosque visits during Ramadan, to celebrating Eid al-Fitr, having conversation tables with higher level Arabic students, talking with native speakers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, attending cultural presentations, watching Saudi Arabian films, performing skits in class, and numerous dinners. I’ve learned so much in such a short period of time and despite having to walk to class in 100+ degree weather with excessive heat and ozone warnings, I would do it again ten times over because this experience has been extremely eye opening and truly one of a kind.

Sometimes the grammar rules are overwhelming, the vocabulary seems like it won’t ever be able to stick in my brain, and I’m mentally exhausted, but despite hours of class, tutoring, homework, and studying, looking back to a month ago, I’ve accomplished things I wouldn’t have even thought of as possible. Some particularly proud moments I’ve had include writing a page in Arabic on my final exam, talking for ten minutes on the oral portion of my final, and writing a 500+ word final essay in Arabic.

Places I frequently study consist of my dorm room, the library, study rooms in my building, and a little coffee shop in walking distance just off campus called McLain’s Market that conveniently opens just in time for me to grab coffee before class.

A critical aspect in my learning experience thus far has been the close-knit community of students in my class with our professor and our tutor. Spending hours every day with the same people definitely presents its challenges, but despite the rigorous and exhausting academic dynamic, the atmosphere really is more like a team. Learning is fun because we’re doing it together, and all parties involved truly seem to want to help us in any way they can. Project GO truly went above and beyond to connect motivated, inquisitive, and likeminded individuals with intelligent and passionate educators to help us succeed in our foreign language endeavors.

I know July will be filled with challenges, many new opportunities, and daily learning experiences. I am extremely excited to see what the future has in store for me in my second semester. One more month left in Kansas, and a whole future left ahead of me with Arabic. Will report back soon!

Side note: I added a small air plant to my Kansas botany collection to keep my basil plants company!

Post 3: What’s for Fun?

When I first moved to the Baltimore area, I was almost out of data. I have a GPS for my car, but it kept randomly powering- off. Google Maps offers an offline mode where you download an area of the map. Simply choose your area, download, save, go on off-line mode, and turn on your location. Location should not use data. The off-line mode works like the regular GPS except you will not be able to get alternate routes. For incoming students that are new to the Daytona Area, I recommend the off-line mode to save data.

One of the highlights so far was a day trip into Baltimore. An all-day ticket for the light rail is $4.20 which in my opinion, is such a deal. I didn’t have to worry about driving into the city, traffic, pot holes, parking, etc. I wake up early on the weekends because I can’t help it. I put on shorts, a tank top, and sun screen. I had a light back pack for my keys, phone, wallet. Other items I brought: water bottle, sunscreen, sunglasses, pepper spray, pocket knife, granola bar, ear buds. The light rail ride went smoothly. As I said, it was mostly empty. I’ve gotten “be careful in Baltimore” a lot. But I’ve also gotten the run down of the “safer” areas. Even in the tourist areas, I was aware of pick-pocketers, muggers, and other acts of violence.

I’ll admit, I got off the light rail at Camden Yards and it was a bit sketchy. I wandered around for a bit before I figured out how to get to the street. Google Maps street version is good but takes time for it to realize what direction you’re walking.

In short, I went to The Blue Moon Café, Fells Point, Federal Hill Area, the Wharf, and got lost plenty. I hammock. Look at bunnies during the morning and fireflies at night. I like going to the cinema. I saw Deadpool 2, Oceans 8, and the Incredibles 2. I went to LA Fitness today and did a Zumba class.

My 2¢

Shout out to all the Transfer Students! If you haven’t finished your application, make sure you stay on top of your To-Do list and regularly check your email, voicemails, etc. Likewise- If you feel like you aren’t getting emails or phone calls from Admissions PLEASE check your spam folder, or contact Admissions and make sure your personal information is correct.

New City & New Language

Happy June still everyone! I’m currently blogging from Lawrence, Kansas.

At this moment, I’ve spent approximately two weeks in Kansas learning Arabic, which is the very middle of the middle of the United States (in both longitude and latitude).

Here’s a look at my typical weekday schedule:

I wake up at 0600, leave my dorm room at 0630, walk off the University of Kansas campus to pick up a coffee, then go find a nice hill in the sun to cram before I have to go to class. (Hills in Kansas?!) My class time occurs from 0800 until 1240. Then I have about an hour break in which, usually, the three other people in my class plus myself grab lunch. Following that, we head to the library to meet our tutor for approximately two to three hours. After this we part ways, I typically eat dinner, then go back to my room to finish up homework and do some extra studying before I go to sleep.

Repeat x 4 Monday-Thursday.

There are fourteen people total participating in Project GO at KU this summer from different Navy ROTC, Army ROTC, and Air Force ROTC units all over the country. The languages we’re learning are as follows: Arabic, Russian, Korean, Japanese, and Mandarin. The other students and I also span across different collegiate levels from upcoming sophomores to rising seniors, with some working towards Geography degrees and other Engineers. To say the least, we’re a diverse bunch.

Aside from learning the Arabic language, I’ve also been exploring the culture of Arabic speaking countries, which are heavily rooted in beliefs of Islam. My professor is from Egypt and my tutor is from Saudi Arabia, and aside from talking about cultural differences with them in the first two weeks I’ve been here, our class has visited the Islamic Center of Lawrence twice and got henna at an orientation designed to expose us and get us talking about the different cultures we’re learning about.

Going from zero experience with the language of Arabic to immersing myself in the celebration of Iftar (Ramadan dinner) and Eid (a celebration marking the end of Ramadan) in an Islamic center was a bit of a culture shock. Aside from some common misconceptions, I learned that Islam is a lot like other major peaceful religions in the world who encourage kind teachings. The essential gist I received from being graciously welcomed into a place I’d never been, to take part in a cultural celebration I’d recently learned about, was that Islam encourages all people practicing, and not, to be kind to others and to be loving and charitable.

In my studies in Lawrence these past two weeks I’ve learned many things, not only about the inclusive culture of Muslim people, but about a language that has been spoken for thousands of years too. Overall, taking part in Project GO has been unlike anything I have experienced in the past and I am truly honored to be able to celebrate, observe culture, and study Arabic thus far.

In other news, my first exam is this week. Will report back soon!

P.S. I have basil in my room too!

Post 2: Tips and Tricks to get through Week 1

It’s a crazy Friday night in Maryland. And by crazy, I mean Trader Joes Spicy Cheese Crunchies and a mixed drink. Since my last post, I have worked two full weeks at my internship, turned 21, and hit five hundred pot holes.

Quick facts about my internship: First- for security reasons, I will not be posting any in-depth information about my internship nor building/ my cubicle pictures. I am the Systems Security Intern at Textron Systems. I am learning so many new things. The group of people are phenomenal, and my supervisor is an amazing leader. I will admit it has been difficult meeting other interns and making friends. Because I am the only intern in the Security Department, I haven’t had much time to interact with the other interns. Plus, I’m a shy, introverted person… and extremely busy with my own training. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to make some friends and have a travel buddy, but it’s also so fun solo exploring.

What does the typical day look like for me: Wake-up. Get ready. Drive. Work. Drive. Dinner. Prep lunch for next day. Exercise. Get ready for bed. Pick outfit for next day. Relax. Fall asleep.

How did I find the internship? Believe it or not, I found the internship on Linked In. I had applied on Eagle Hire and directly on the websites. Linked In offered initial information and directed me to their website. So in a way, I did apply on the website, but the first platform was Linked In.

University Relations contacted me, and I went through two phone calls. I spoke with the Director of Security (now my supervisor). We went over basic phone interview introduction, “tell me about yourself”, and the position. If you take anything away from this post, make sure to research the company, agency, department, or organization beforehand. Not only will it make you look prepared, but it shows interest. Career services stresses pre-interview company research, but I cannot stress this enough. I did do a follow-up email because I was supposed to hear back a couple of days after the Director phone call (but didn’t). Remember that people are busy and sometimes forget. It’s okay to send a professional, polite follow-up. If you are so lucky to nail a gig, here are steps I advise.

Pre-internship:
1. Continue to stay informed about company news, events, products, etcetera.
2. If you can anticipate any vocabulary or incoming information you will need, hit the laptop a couple days if not a week before.
3. Time yourself on a test drive home to work.
4. Study the surrounding area.
5. Locate your nearest auto shop, gasoline stations, and preferred grocery store.
6. Start adjusting your sleep schedule.
I did not stay informed as I should have. Textron is a multi- industry company that works with Cessnas, EZ-Go Golf Carts, Bell Helicopter, and more. There are numerous locations across the United States. If you are working for multi-industry company, familiarize yourself with the different branches and locations. You will likely hear coworkers mentioning so-and-so at location X.

Night Before:
1. Panic a little. It’s natural.
2. Have an outfit ready.
3. Lay out bag, purse, etc.
4. Review any information on your job position.
5. Look up inspiration quotes to soothe yourself.
6. Set alarm and then try to get some sleep.

Must Haves:
1. Identifying legal documents (Your first-day may require proof of citizenship in 1+ versions. Just set a reminder the night before to put the documents safely in your bag).
2. A watch.
3. Note book. You will likely be given new office supplies but get your own notebook. I’m already ¼ the way through with notes and running lists of vocabulary. One word… Acronyms. So many acronyms in the security field. Any Homeland student will (should) know DoD, SF-86, SOP but do you know DD 441, SF-702, or FSO? That’s when the notebook comes in handy. Acronyms are going to be flying. You can either try to look it up yourself, but some acronyms may have multiple meanings or be company specific. If that’s the case, ask a co-worker or supervisor.
4. Folder for any organizing documents.
5. Cardigan or suit jacket. It may be a summer internship, but the AC will likely be full throttle.
6. Re-useable water bottle.

I will never forget: First day at orientation and I forgot my rain coat in a different room. Someone made an announcement and I had to awkwardly stand up and climb over some interns to get to my jacket (the chairs were really packed in the conference room). Imagine a line of rolling chairs followed by a row of fold-out chairs. I was in a rolling chair but had someone sitting a foot behind me. When I went back to sit down, I almost missed my seat.

Motivational Quote: The expert in anything was once a beginner.

Summer Update #2

Hi everyone!

This first week of my internship at United was really crazy! I got to work in service recovery – which is tracking passengers who will most likely miss their flight and re-booking them on a new one. They are then greeted at the gate with tickets for their new flights. How awesome is that?! I also got to work in the premier lobby helping passengers check-in and tag their luggage. Another day we worked the inaugural SFO-Zurich flight! It was super fun and everyone was very excited for their complimentary Swiss chocolate! Friday I worked at the gates helping people board their flight. So many people miss their flights, don’t want to check their carry-ons, want to get an upgrade, etc. I feel I get to see the worst in people with this internship since traveling makes people stressed. However, I’m really liking it! Tomorrow I meet my mentors for the first time! We truly are a family. Birthdays are celebrated with good cake and lots of laughs!

Living alone is nice. I cook a lot! My RA dorm on campus doesn’t have a kitchen so I’m loving the ability to cook. I also bring my lunch to work, so I make it the night before. Tonight I made pasta and garlic Parmesan roasted potatoes for tomorrow’s lunch. I really enjoy going to bed at 9 pm and waking up early. I feel so productive being out the door at 6 am. I do miss home a lot though, so I already have my flight booked to Denver on July 31st!

As for summer classes, I am doing a lot better than before! I finally got into the swing of things. Let me tell you, I really appreciate Canvas after having to use a different platform for these classes. I feel summer classes are a lot quicker paced (well they are since they finish quicker than normal courses in the fall/spring) and therefore I feel every day I am doing another assignment. I am now working ahead on the weekends because honestly, the last thing I want to do after a long day is homework and tests. I know I’ve grown as a person because I can admit I think I took a bit too much on with summer classes, living alone in a big city for the first time, and a 10-hour/day internship. I’ll stop complaining now because it does no good at this point. I will just be SUPER grateful at the end of this summer. Never have I ever wanted summer to end, haha!

I hope you all are excited for school to start in just two months! Soon you will be finding out who your roommate is, buying dorm necessities, and getting ready to move! Please make sure to check your ERAU email often. Important things need to be done like accepting awards (scholarships)/making sure they came through to Embry-Riddle, having all placement exams complete, current shots mandatory to start, insurance figured out, and more! Be diligent and don’t be afraid to ask for help by calling the correct department!

Some more tips as summer is in full swing:

Spend time with your family – while your time with your friends is also precious, I promise you will be missing your family a lot at school!

Eat at home – on the same note, eat home cooked meals while you can!

Read the ERAU Housing’s packing list – I made a post with a very thorough packing list for school, but be sure to reference Housing’s list for what is allowed. As an RA, we do inspections to make sure people don’t bring thinks like cook-tops or candles. If they are found, the student must get rid of it within 24 hours. Save yourself the trouble.

Start investing in Florida products and testing them out – Find a good sunscreen, foundation, bug spray, hairspray, etc. I recommend Supergoop sunscreen products, Estee Lauder Double-Wear Foundation, and Avon’s Skin So Soft for bug spray! I may be listing more body/beauty products for Florida, so stay tuned!

Save money – I didn’t work my first semester (most students don’t). Thankfully, I could still go out to the movies or to eat because I worked a summer job before college and saved up! Try to do the same – 10/10 would recommend!

Print pictures – you will want photos in your room to liven it up and remember your loved ones! I got mine from Super Snaps and had a great experience!

Have fun out there! – Maddie

 

Summer Update #1

Summer Update #1

Well, summer is in full swing and I feel it’s already flying by! Here are some pictures from my Las Vegas rod trip and second Disney trip! My internship AND summer classes started last week so it’s been very busy around here.

At Dutch Bros Coffee in Las Vegas

Guardians of the Galaxy ride at Disneyland (our favorite ride – we rode it about 10 times)

At the pool in Vegas! (Fun fact: unless you are 21, you cannot check-in to a hotel with a casino attached. It made for a difficult time finding a hotel with no casino, on the Strip, but with a nice pool)

We were stuck in Memorial Day traffic

I moved into my apartment early and thankfully that was pretty stress-free! I am renting with Zeus, which is a business that rents out fully furnished short-term housing. I liked the ease of just walking in, but city life is a little difficult to adjust to. It’ll take awhile to get used to for sure!

My internship is great! Our normal work day is 7:30 am to 4 pm. I catch the BART (subway) at 6 am though since where I clock in is way back in the terminals. The BART goes straight to the airport, so that’s super nice. I walk about 15 minutes to the BART then ride it for 30 minutes to get dropped off at the gates. My day-to-day schedule consists of meeting at 7:30 am to get my schedule for the day. Each day it’s different! I requested to mainly work in the international terminal and in premium areas (think first class check-in and clubs)! These are two areas I am most interested in for a career so they will let me spend most of my days here. However, I will also get to explore areas such as check-in, flight operations, in-flight services, cargo, rescheduling, customer service, and tower! Every Wednesday we meet with our mentors and on Fridays we go volunteer! We do a summer book club here reading Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. We will also complete a final project – which is evaluating United Airlines’ artificial intelligence (like their app).

So far, all the other interns are very nice and we all get along! Most are from the Bay Area. I think I’m the only one who moved for this. It’s crazy to be alone… in a big city… cooking my own meals and packing lunches. When did I grow up so much? Even commuting nearly 2 hours each day is crazy since I’m used to my 10-minute walk to classes. Waking up at 5 am is not my favorite.

Chris is leaving for Mississippi this week to start his training in cyber systems programming! We’re super excited, but since we spent all of May together, saying goodbye was extra hard. I’ll tell you, the hardest part of growing up for me has been learning to be ok with moving on from some things. I like comfort but that’s not how you grow as a person. For instance, I wish I could be at home working my high school job, cooking dinner with my mom, and spending weekends running around town with Chris, but… These classes and this internship are so beyond helpful for my future. Chris and I always say it’s 4 years of stomaching some not-so-ideal things in return for a great rest of our lives.

So here I am writing on a subway in a huge city on the way to my dream internship, which still scares me at times, but that’s life. Some days I’m beyond excited but others I feel too young to be doing all these big things. And as for summer classes, just be sure you don’t forget their start date… Oops!

On a totally random note: Be sure to start buying some dorm stuff now (like bedding). It’ll help you feel less stressed, find the best deals, and hopefully get excited!

Hope you’re all having fun!

Maddie