Summer B: EE in Berlin – Week 4

And just like that, four weeks have come and gone. I’m going to miss my time here in Berlin. It was, as all cliches go, a life-changing experience that I would definitely do again. In typical Billy Nguyen fashion however, life is not always a walk in the park.

A week ago, I lost my camera and have been absolutely devastated. There were some photos on the camera that I might never get back, but the memories that remained will always be with me. But, I’m relatively optimistic. I know that I will never see my camera again but there is big news on the horizon soon for me. That, or it could just be another jab at my ankles while I’m already knocked down.

Anyway, let’s not dwell on the past. Actually, lets dwell on the past, but the fun part!

Last week, I traveled to the wonderful city of Budapest, which would make Hungary the fifth European country I’ve visited in my life. The city was originally split up into two different cities by the river. Not surprisingly, the names were Buda and Pest.

The city was super quirky and beautiful at the same time. Much like most major cities in Europe, a lot of the original architecture remained the same, though with some slight modern touches. Budapest’s transit system was also very unique in the offerings it provided.

The people we’ve encountered were super friendly, and the views were breathtaking. I definitely recommend visiting Budapest if you ever have the time to do so. Even if you can only do a day trip like I did, it’s totally worth it.

As I sit in my flat typing out this post, I know that another chapter of my life is coming to an end. While I’m very sad that it may be a while before I come back to Europe, the memories I’ve made and friends I’ve found are reminders of a time well spent in Berlin.

Traveling abroad is a surreal experience, and it makes me sad knowing that not a lot of people are as lucky as I am. Maybe that will change one day. For now, I think this is goodbye for now.

 

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.

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.

Ignite Research Abroad- Cuba

Hello everyone!

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.

Middle: Mayda Molina, Director of IACC

Middle: Mayda Molina, Director of IACC

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!

This is a picture of me in one of those classic cars in Cuba!

This is a picture of me in one of the classic cars in Cuba!

My boyfriend, Brent, and I took a "classic" cab back to our hotel.

My boyfriend, Brent, and I took a “classic” cab back to our hotel.

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.

Posing in front of the Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis

Posing in front of the Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis

"El Caballero de Paris" statue: Tourists touch this statue in the position displayed for good luck!

“El Caballero de Paris” statue: Tourists touch this statue in the position displayed for good luck!

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.

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Brent and I in front of Ernest Hemingway’s boat.

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!

Tobacco leaves in the factory that are hung for drying after which they are used to make cigars.

Tobacco leaves in the factory that are hung for drying after which they are used to make cigars.

Brent and I in front of a tobacco farm in Pinar del Rio.

Brent and I in front of a tobacco farm in Pinar del Rio.

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.

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Convento de Nuestra Senora de Belen

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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.

Bacunayagua: Cuba's tallest bridge

Bacunayagua: Cuba’s tallest bridge

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,

Maryam

Entschuldigung. Ich sprechen kein deutsch.

(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.

In total, we were twelve students: five girls, seven boys. Here, the whole group and Dr. Silverman are reflected in the panels of the central reflector in the Reichstag Dome.

In total, we were twelve students: five girls, seven boys. Here, the whole group and Dr. Silverman are reflected in the panels of the central mirror in the Reichstag Dome. The mirror illuminates the building below, where the Bundestag, the German Parliament, meets.

 

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.

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Dr. Ilteris Demirkiran, our EE professor. Classes met in the afternoons Monday through Thursday and often ran for several hours since we were covering a semester’s worth of material in one month.

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 Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, constructed by the German government, was initially controversial because people were concerned it would mean an end to the conversation of how to properly remember past atrocities.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, constructed by the German government, was initially controversial because people were concerned it would mean an end to the conversation of how to properly remember past atrocities.

The Vel d’Hiv  memorial in Paris commemorated the Jews the mass deportation of the Jews from Paris in July 1942.

The Vel d’Hiv memorial in Paris commemorated the Jews the mass deportation of the Jews from Paris in July 1942.

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.

Me with the glorious Eiffel Tower.

Me with the glorious Eiffel Tower.

The corner store on Mittenwalder Strasse, the street on which we lived for the month.

The corner store on Mittenwalder Strasse, the street on which we lived for the month.

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.

A canal near the Town Hall (Rathaus) cuts straight through the city.

A canal near the Town Hall (Rathaus) cuts straight through the city.

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.)

Kia Ora!

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.

Sky Tower Auckland, New Zealand

Sky Tower Auckland, New Zealand

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.

Hoisen Duck Breast, Sky Tower.

Hoisen Duck Breast, Sky Tower.

Pan Seared Tuna, Sky Tower

Pan Seared Tuna, Sky Tower

 

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.

Tossed beef with papaya salad.

Tossed beef with papaya salad

Viaduct Harbor, A view from our hotel room.

Viaduct Harbor, A view from our hotel room.

View from Sofitel Hotel

View from Sofitel Hotel

 

Jamaican Cobbler & Bedford Summer Cup

Jamaican Cobbler & Bedford Summer Cu

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Eden Park (Stadium for All Black, A Rugby Stadium) A view from One Tree Hill Summit.

Eden Park (Stadium for All Black, A Rugby Stadium) A view from One Tree Hill Summit.

 

One Tree Hill Monument

One Tree Hill Monument

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!

 

First sunrise in the world! A view from Hilton, Auckland! Until next time!!

First sunrise in the world! A view from Hilton, Auckland! Until next time!!

See you next time!

See you next time! KIA ORA!

Up Up and Away!

Hello All!

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!

Representing the U.S. on a bridge in Venice

Representing the U.S. on a bridge in Venice

 

The Pisa tower really does lean!

The Pisa tower really does lean!

 

Enjoying our last weekend in Italy in Rome at the Colosseum

Enjoying our last weekend in Italy in Rome at the Colosseum

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!

Initiation!

Initiation!

Hope For Hayley 5K with my sisters!

Hope For Hayley 5K with my sisters!

Sigma Sigma Sigma

Sigma Sigma Sigma

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!

Ambassadors for the Women's Ambassador Program

Ambassadors for the Women’s Ambassador Program at our Waiz Welcome Dinner

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!

007 Study Abroad Continued.

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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’.

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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.

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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.

DCIM101GOPRO

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. 

DCIM101GOPRO

If you have any questions about studying abroad through Embry-Riddle, please email me at giannotw@my.erau.edu.

007 Study Abroad Continued.

10154897_10203209384772142_272986979081192414_nC-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.

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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.

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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.

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Bath, UK

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.

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Somehow, I managed to come across this quote while I was abroad:

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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.

More coming!