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.
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.
I hope you’ll had a fantastic spring break! My spring break was very exciting. I got selected to attend the Ignite Research Abroad Program to Cuba along with approximately 10 other students! It was a great experience, and I got to learn a little about the Cuban culture. There were approx 14 students in total. My research topic was about the process of reopening flight operations between Delta Airlines and Havana Airport after the suspension. I got to interview Demetra Bethavas, Delta’s Station Manager in Cuba and Mayda Molina, Director of Instituto de Aeronautica Civil de Cuba (she’s basically the head of Cuban “FAA”)!!! Talk about connections though! My report will be completed by end of April so I will be sure to post the link if it gets published.
Cuba seemed like a different world- basically the whole world was moving forward but Cuba was stuck in time. There were antique cars, and my boyfriend and I got lucky to get a taxi back to the hotel in one of those classic cars!
We visited modern Havana on our first day and toured around the Vedado neighbourhoods. On the second day, we attended a conference with a professor of University of Havana, Maria Elena Martin. She has a Doctor in Architecture. We also toured the Havana Plaza and visited Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis.
The next day, we visited Finca Vigia, where North America’s literary giant Ernest Hemingway spent twenty-one of his most important and productive years penning building blocks of English literature, followed by a visit to Cojimar, a small fishing village, which was one of Hemingway’s favourite places in Cuba.
We visited Pinar del Rio tobacco region and toured around the Vinales Valley on the fourth day. It was beautiful, and everyone bought some of their famous cigars. I was lucky to get a sample cigar for free while the person was demonstrating how cigars were made!
On the fifth day, we visited Las Terrazas, the natural splendor of Cuba and the coffee plantations. We visited the Museum of Fine Arts and Convento de Nuestra Senora de Belen, a humanitarian health project in Old Havana. It is a home to fifty elderly people and provides physiotherapy and ophthalmological services to many more elderly in the community. Other acitivities include exercise classes, board games, cognitive rehabilitation, films and crafts workshops. The walls were filled with beautiful intricate designs.
The next day were visited Matanzas, also known as Cuban Athens, which was a grand port in colonial times for the export of sugar and also explored Cuba’s tallest bridge, Bacunayagua. Then, we continued to Varadero and had a relaxing time on the beach. We headed back to the US the next day.
I had a fantastic time in Cuba learning about their culture. I must say that I got a little homesick, but that increased my adaptability to a different lifestyle. It was a great experience and would definitely recommend people to visit.
Until next time,
(Sorry. I speak no German.) — An American Abroad
They said Germans are cold and robotic. I wasn’t feeling it. We were talking about music and weather and cities and trains. Although, he did inform me that, had I been German, this conversation would not be taking place.
I was on a train to Hamburg for a day trip from Berlin, where I had been doing the Humanities and Engineering summer study abroad for the past month.
The program consisted of two and half courses: Electrical Engineering I and lab (EE) and a humanities course focused on memory and memorialization. EE was conducted at the Embry-Riddle Worldwide campus near Nollendorfplatz station and taught by Dr. Ilteris Demirkiran, while the humanities course, taught by Dr. Rachel Silverman, met up all around Berlin and, in the second week of class, took a trip to Paris to contrast memorialization in Paris to that in Berlin.
EE met Monday through Thursday in the afternoon. Dr. D front-loaded the EE classes so that the last week of the semester he could end class in an hour or two and take us to see some of the beautiful sights in Berlin. That did mean, however, that classes at first ran for four to five hours, though they were thankfully (and rather wonderfully) punctuated by Dr. D’s humorous, and occasionally life-lesson-y, anecdotes.
The humanities course, Memory and Memorialization, met mornings Monday through Thursday and consisted of touring through memorials, monuments, and sometimes museums (mostly of the Holocaust). Classes were preceded by related articles and readings and followed by assignments requiring us to formulate a question about memory, memorialization, the memorial of the day, and the related reading.
The courses were good, and getting them done over the summer saves you some time to graduation. However, the best part of study abroad is, of course, being abroad: seeing new cities, understanding other cultures, meeting new people, getting a little lost, and finding your way again. I found that Paris was very much the elegant, charming place I expected it to be, whereas Berlin was grittier, graffiti-covered and captivating in a risen-from-the-ashes sort of way.
Many chose to take the opportunity to see some of the other major European cities, such as Amsterdam, Prague, and London. Me? I wanted to get as full a sense of the local culture as I could, so I chose to immerse myself in Berlin and spent two weekends in the city. And then, I went to Hamburg.
As fields and towns and a massive wind turbine farm sped past, I chatted with my fellow Hamburg-bound train traveler. The Berliner listened to Macklemore and Lana del Rey along with other artists of whom I had never even heard. He did not own a car (and did not plan on owning one) because the bus and regional train system in Germany made getting to places outside Berlin without a car manageable. I explained how getting a car in the States was not only a matter of necessity if you wanted to go anywhere outside a major city but also a sort of cultural rite of passage. When a smattering of clouds threatened the sunlight, he warned me that “the clouds came with the city” of Hamburg. I felt grateful for the little umbrella sitting snugly in my backpack.
Hamburg was beautiful. Very different from Berlin, the river port city had several canals running straight through its center and was constantly under or about to be under a rainstorm (the umbrella came in very handy). Massive tankers and freight ships floated on the far side of the River Elbe, flanked by rows of cranes. I enjoyed every second of my Hanseatic adventure.
Studying abroad in Berlin is one of the best experiences I have ever had. I love travel and learning, meeting new people and pushing myself to live adventurously. Is studying abroad for you? Honey, only you know that. I woke up one morning and just decided I wanted to go, so I went. If you find that same absurd urge take hold, listen to it. Even if you don’t, trust me, seeing the world is worth your time, even if you see it in small chunks.
(Want to know more about Berlin/Paris? Check out my next post for more.)
Summer vacation has finally started for me. Gladly, I am here to tell you all about my travel plans this summer. Currently, I am traveling all over New Zealand and I can not wait to share my experiences with you. So without further ado, pack your bags and follow me to this amazing trip! Kia Ora!!! (A traditional Maori language in New Zealand).
Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand with the population of 1.4 million, the city comes to life. Surprisingly, Auckland is very diverse. There are many students from places like India, China, Europe, as well as South Africa. These students are actually a part of the three biggest universities in Auckland; which are, Auckland University, Auckland University of Technology, as well as, Embry-Riddle’s New Zealand partner, Massey University. Auckland is very rich on history, food, and art. There are many museums and world class dining experience around the city.
The first place that I want to take you guys is called Viaduct Harbor. Viaduct Harbor is very famous in Auckland because it is known to be the best spot to see the Auckland skyline. Below is a photograph that I took while I was strolling down the harbor. This is perhaps the best view to see the Sky Tower.
You can see the that the atmosphere around the harbor is very relaxed. Around the harbor there are many bars and restaurants. Surprisingly, during day time, there are many people reading books and many joggers. In my opinion, Viaduct Harbor is an amazing place to destress.
Auckland is also known to be called The City of Sail. Why? Well, in Viaduct Harbor, there are precisely 2,500 boats. There are many Catamarans and other small vessels. There are many people who are practicing for the America’s Cup in Viaduct Harbor. America’s Cup is a competition that is held every year and it is basically a race of two yachts. Around the harbor, there are private companies who owns and operate a similar yachts that are being used in the America’s Cup and with a sum of fee you can experience the difficulty of the America’s Cup.
Earlier I mentioned about Sky Tower. Sky Tower is the pride and glory of Auckland, it rises from ground to 1,076 feet tall, making it the tallest building in Auckland. Inside the Sky Tower there are two restaurants; Sugar Club and Orbit 360. Fortunately, I had the chance to dine at Sugar Club Fine Dining Experience. I was shocked at the quality of the food. It was an unforgettable experience. There are a lot of varieties of food on their menu; such as, Asian cuisine, French cuisine, as well as, Italian. For myself, I chose a 5 course meal. My favorite dish was the Pan Seared Tuna. I can tell you that the combinations of flavor truly set the bar high for this restaurant. Here are some pictures that I’d like to share with you.
During my time in Auckland, I stayed in Sofitel Hotel. Sofitel in Auckland is known for many things. However, the location and the view is unbeatable. Sofitel is located in the heart of downtown. There are many restaurants and bars nearby. My favorite would be Restaurant 88. Restaurant 88 is a Vietnamese restaurant that specializes in modernization of traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Below are some dishes that I ordered. I have to say, the tossed beef was a bowl of explosive spices and flavors.
Since Auckland is a culinary hub. I’d like to take you to a place a little bit outside Downtown Auckland. Outside of Downtown Auckland there are many restaurants, particularly, Ponsenby Center. Ponsenby Center is a small town that has all the restaurants and bars in one street. There are shops like The Chocolate Botique, Argentinian BBQ (El Sizzling Chorizo), and last but not least, Bedford Soda & Liquor. Ponsenby Center is designed like food court in the U.S. However, it is outdoor seating. Ponsenby Center is decorated with many trees and flowers, making it very relaxing to dine and drink there. My girlfriend and I tried a few drinks from Bedford Soda & Liquor. Though it was a bit pricy for a few drinks, we walked away with satisfaction. We ordered the Bedford Summer Cup and The Jamaican Cobbler. Both drinks are full of flavor; a mixture of mints, lime, lemon, peach, and pineapple. Again, what an unforgettable experience.
Finally, for the final chapter of this blog, I want to take you a historical place in Auckland called One Tree Hill. Yes, it is similar to the TV series. One Tree Hill is a monument that was built because in the past there were arguments between the Maori people and the British. Maori people is the native New Zealander. Apparently, before the monument was established, there was one big sacred tree that stood up on the summit of the hill. It was worshiped by Maori people at that time, but the unfortunately, one night the one white settler cut that tree and the Maori people were very upset which caused a war. However, today, it is widely known as a tourist destination. Below are some photos on the summit of the hill. Standing on the summit really gives you the bigger picture of Auckland’s sky line. On the top you can see all 360 degrees view of Auckland.
Well, that was it for my first blog. I hope you enjoyed our journey through Auckland city and its surrounding. Stick around for more blogs from me as I head down south to Queenstown and the famous Hobbiton! Until next time lads!
It’s crazy how fast time goes by now a days! It feels like just yesterday that I first came to Embry-Riddle and visited the campus for the first time. It has been almost four years, two different changes of major, and countless life lessons since that day. But lets not get ahead of ourselves… Here’s a quick run down:
My names Kealey Cela and I grew up a Navy Brat; living all over the world and moving more than 13 times! I lived in places like Hawaii, Japan, Virginia, and California. Finally my family settled down in a small town in New Hampshire where I went to high school. I’m not the biggest fan of snow which is why going to school in Florida was such a nice change of pace!
I started my college career at a school in Northern Virginia, and then transferred to Embry Riddle for my sophomore year. Over the last three years of college I have learned just as much about my degree as I have about life.
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. -Lao Tzu
One of the most challenging life lessons that I learned during my time in college has been change. Change can present itself in many different ways. For example: The transition from home life to dorm life is a huge change, changing your mind about your major, changing clubs, or even changing your order at Starbucks. The hardest lesson that I have had to learn is overcoming change. Almost every college student at some point will question their major or their career path.
I came to Embry-Riddle with the mindset that I was going to be an Aerospace Engineer, and that I was going to work for a big company like Raytheon or Boeing one day. But it turns out that it just wasn’t for me. I thought about what I wanted to do with my life and after taking some different courses I ended up on Operational Meteorology, which I have more passion for now than I ever did with Engineering. The best advice I can give based on my experience is to ultimately do what makes you happy in life even if its something you never saw yourself doing originally. If something truly is not making you happy anymore, don’t do it! Once I realized this I felt like I was able to navigate the seas of college life much easier!
Something else that has made me very happy in life has been everything that I have gotten involved in here on campus!
This summer I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Siena, Italy. I received 3 upper level and 3 lower level humanities credits while I was abroad! I would highly suggest getting involved in the study abroad program, it gave me memories and friendships to last a life time, and its the same price as staying on campus and taking classes over the summer!
Sigma Sigma Sigma
During the Spring semester I joined Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority here on campus, and it was certainly one of the best decisions I have made while being at school. Sigma has helped keep me more involved in my studies as well as around campus and in the community!
I am also an Ambassador for the Women’s Ambassador Program here on campus, which is something that I am very proud of. We work with the admissions department to raise the female population here on campus! We also do lots of events to support women around our campus and in our community!
College is all about embracing changes and going with the flow. Try not to get too stressed about anything, its honestly not worth it! Worry about things that you can change, and then change them. And lastly always do what makes you happy in life even if its a little unexpected! If you can do your best to live by these principles you’ll be Up Up and Away before you know it!
After Swindon, we took a two hour bus ride to London where we stayed for five days. I was excited to revisit the city and see how things had changed. Actually, nothing had really changed at all! Last time I was in London was during the summer as well, so the weather wasn’t too different. This Southern California girl definitely couldn’t handle the cold weather at night.
We did the touristy things like see Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London. We also went on a few “Spy Walks” around the city where we learned about the history of espionage through British lens’.
The next day we visited the Churchill War Museum, where we got to visit Churchill’s underground war rooms, which were kept exactly in tact since the war. It was definitely neat to be a part of history.
Afterward, we got a VIP tour of the US Embassy in London (thanks Jose!) where we got to hear great advice from a speaker in the Embassy and receive a tour of the facility. It is the largest American embassy in Western Europe and it used to be the headquarters of the General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The last day, the group got a tour of Buckingham Palace. The trip was complete with a plane ride from Heathrow to Dublin, a 10 hour layover in Dublin and a plane ride back to New York and onto Florida. I really enjoyed my time abroad.
A little advice: if you are considering going abroad, please do it! However, make sure you plan well. It’s not like going on a trip with your family where you’re more comfortable. You and only you are responsible for yourself, and no place is like the United States, so be prepared before you go. Also, stay hydrated and sleep! To be honest, the most sleep I got was 4 hours a night. I never adjusted to the time change because I wasn’t motivated enough. Sometimes when you’re so excited about the travel, you forget to rest. From that, you become dehydrated and sick. I learned from my lessons, but it was still so worth it. I’m not a very good influence on that part, haha.
In addition, pack light and bring proper clothing. All I brought was 1 check-in bag and a backpack, and that may have been too much. Of course, you have some room for luxury, but a 50 pound bag isn’t fun to lug up four heights of hostel stairs.
Overall, keep an open mind and be willing to learn- even about yourself. Travel makes you learn a lot more than you thought you could and gives you a great perspective on things so if you have the opportunity, seize it. You’ll regret it if you don’t.
If you have any questions about studying abroad through Embry-Riddle, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
C-130s over Normandy! Kid in a candy store moment. It was so neat seeing 5 of them or so casually flying over at extremely low altitudes. All of Normandy was filled with great patriotism; we were all a part of something bigger in remembering those who had fought for our soil and freedom.
In the streets of Normandy, France, squandering for crepes
After Normandy, we took a ferry and headed back to England. Here, we first went to Swindon to check out the German Enigma machine at Bletchley Park. If you don’t know much about the machine, the British used it to decode messages that the Germans were sending to one another during WWII. The whole place used to be a huge intelligence base.
The next day, we went to the Culture in Conflict conference at the Defense Academy of the UK. It was a three day conference consisting of various speakers from all over the world- people from the military, government agencies, companies like Lockheed Martin, civilian contractors, and intelligence companies to the Israeli Air Force.
Cranfield University/Defense Academy of the UK
It’s things like this that confirm my passions. Hearing these people speak from all over the world was very eye opening. Most of them had spent time in Middle Eastern regions like Beirut or places in Afghanistan doing research. I was intimidated, but I was inspired. I couldn’t take many pictures here…sorry, guys! But the memory of this conference will remain ingrained in my mind forever.
We had a free day in Swindon, so a few of us decided to visit Bath. Bath is a place that is exactly as it sounds; it’s famous for its ancient Roman Baths.
Somehow, I managed to come across this quote while I was abroad:
It definitely struck me. This trip had opened my heart up to many possibilities in terms of where I could take my career. I never knew how many petals this rose of the intelligence field could have. And wow, am I amazed. Studying abroad is such a great idea if you’re thirsting for more knowledge. I went only knowing so few things and came back so much richer than before. Let travel change you. You learn a lot about yourself, too.. which is probably the most important thing you could understand, especially when you’re trying to find out, well, what you want to “do.” Make your passion so big that you can’t fully grasp it even if you travel the world. You can never know enough about your passion.. I guess that’s what makes it what it is. That’s what makes you discover brand new petals of the flower over and over again.
We’re in London next. I’m excited to visit again.
On Wednesday we went to Giant’s Causeway up in Northern Ireland – an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns (mostly hexagonally shaped). These uniquely shaped columns along the ocean are the result of an ancient volcanic eruption on the Northern Ireland coast. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
We arrived in Lisieux, France on Thursday night for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day on Friday, June 6. The celebration was incredible. A bunch of important people, from Obama and Queen Elizabeth to the US Secretary of the Army, to name a few, were there. We started by going to a museum to see a 1,000 year old script written on William the Conqueror, followed by a stop for crepes. I had never seen so much busy-ness in a foreign country. The gendarmerie (French military force) were on every street corner asking every car where they were going and who was in the car. The security was very serious. We headed to Arromache beach first for the celebration; the beach was completely covered with D-Day re-enactors, military tanks and vehicles.
After that, we headed to Omaha beach, one of the beaches where the US fought on. We also visited the American cemetery above Omaha, where Obama had previously spoken a few hours before. That night we headed back to town and had a great talk about D-Day over dinner. Needless to say, we were all speechless.
I loved France. It was a perfect time to put my French to the test and I don’t think I spoke English once except to the students with me. I want to go back already! Please mom…
On Saturday, the D-Day festivities continued. We went to Utah beach (another US beach) and a few museums. We also went to a neat festival in the town and grabbed a couple eclairs and jambon et fromage baguettes. We also got to meet the Secretary of the US Army and some secret service. That was definitely neat. It was also nice to see a lot of American military present at the celebration, they had already been there for about a week beforehand.
Today, we decided to go to Juno beach where the Canadians fought. These beaches were very solemn but had freedom written all over them. Some of the German bunkers were still intact and we got to walk inside of them. There aren’t many times where you can say you’re just hanging out on top of an old World War German bunker at the beach, especially on the D-Day 70th Anniversary. These past 3 days were a blessing.
We took the bus back onto the ferry to England and drove to Swindon, where we will be staying until Friday when we head to London. Tomorrow we’ll be going to Bletchley Park, where we’ll get to see the German Enigma Code Breaker. Very excited!
Greetings from Ireland! Location: Belfast Peace Walls
Official Day 2 has just ended and it’s 10pm in Belfast right now, but feels like it’s 5pm! Most of us arrived in Belfast on Sunday. After a 6 hour flight, sleep deprived, hungry, and after having an interesting encounter with customs, we were ready to go to bed. Of course, with the time change, we couldn’t until later that night. So, that day we walked around the streets of Belfast gathering up Belgium chocolates, last minute essentials, and a crazy amount of shepherds pie. Our hostel, the Vagabonds, is extremely nice and is filled with various free souls (mostly students) from all over the world. Every hall is decorated with historical pieces of Belfast and sprinkled memories. It’s cozy and quaint. I couldn’t complain.
For the beginning portion of Summer A, us students took two main courses: HS 405, Emerging Topics In Homeland Security and HS 325, Terrorism: Ideologies, Origins, and Goals. We mostly discussed the time of the Troubles here in Belfast, the time of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and their experiences with the British Government.
Signing the Peace Wall
(this peace wall was intended to separate the Catholics from the Protestants during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The city people do not plan on taking the wall down anytime soon.)
Yesterday, we had two political tours around the city of Belfast; one tour from an ex member of the IRA and the other from an ex member of the UUP. To say the least, it was a very interesting experience because we got to hear both sides of the story during the times of the Troubles.
Today, we went to Queen’s University for a lecture. The University was beautiful! We listened to two professors from the Institute of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice; they mostly spoke about the time of the Troubles here in Northern Ireland. We certainly gained a few gems of wisdom on the conflict.
Tomorrow, we’ll be hopping over to Giant’s Causeway for a tour of a great volcanic plateau on the ocean and experience old Irish castles and whiskey tasting. Thursday, we head to Normandy, France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
If you are interested in studying somewhere outside the US, definitely consider it for the future. You will gain a completely different perspective on not only social aspects, but also academics as well. And take the risk of going to somewhere foreign to you! The leap is totally worth it, after all.
Here’s a great quote on growth: “It is not that we love to be alone, but that we love to soar, and when we do soar, the company grows thinner and thinner until there is none at all. …We are not the less to aim at the summits though the multitude does not ascend them.”- Henry David Thoreau
Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and get uncomfortable. Safety does not always lie in security, which is why we grow when we are in unfamiliar situations. Allow yourself the chance for that growth.
Keep you posted.