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Home, Sweet Home August 20, 2011

Posted by lucyt33 in Travel Log.
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My arrival back home has been a complete whirlwind. However, the last few weeks at Oxford really sealed the deal of my overall study abroad experience.  After my weekend in London, I went to Amsterdam to meet several other Presidential Scholars from Georgia Tech-Lorraine.  I loved the feel of the city with all of its canals; it reminded me of the beauty of Venice but a lot more practical.  We visited the Anne Frank House and took a tour through the city via its fabulous canals.  The following weekend, I went with several sorority sisters to visit Cardiff in Wales.  The weekend was really relaxing in beautiful Cardiff; just what I needed before finals.  It was such a great time to spend with my sisters.  My last week at Oxford was spent studying, getting last-minute souvenirs, and cramming priceless last minutes with all the amazing people I met over the summer.  Oxford will forever have a special place in my heart: the forbidden lawn, High Street, the four flights of stairs to my room… However, the PEOPLE I spent such an unforgettable summer with are whom I will always remember walking around the lawn, window shopping along the streets, and yelling up the four flights of stairs.  It’s the PEOPLE I have seen around campus everyday since I’ve been back who continue the magic that was Oxford.  I am so very grateful to not only the people who were at Oxford but also the people who made such an amazing summer possible; through the Fleet Scholarship, I was changed this summer through extraordinary people, places, and experiences.  I am forever grateful for such an opportunity.

Life in Oxford July 18, 2011

Posted by lucyt33 in Travel Log.
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I’ve been in Oxfordshire for two weeks now, and it’s been absolutely wonderful.  The over 150 Tech students of the Oxford program are all staying in rooms at Worcester College at Oxford University.  The campus is stunning, and I’m staying in the main quad area with a view out onto the impeccable lawn that no one is allowed to get anywhere near, much less walk on.  Our meals here are made up of several courses and served to us; I leave dinner absolutely stuffed each evening.  Here at Oxford, I’m taking MSE 2001, an intro class to materials science, and CS 4001, a computing ethics course for Honors Program credit.  The courses are challenging, but the professors are definitely understanding of the fact that everyone wants to travel on the weekends; they are also very interested in everyone’s experiences and stories from the three day weekends.  The first weekend, I went to Madrid, Pamplona, and Barcelona.  I stayed with several Presidential Scholars in both Madrid and Barcelona, and I was so great to see them and catch up on our very different study abroad experiences.  In Pamplona, because it was during the famous San Fermin festival, my friend and I stayed up all night exploring the city, and then we watched the Running of the Bulls.  It was an experience that I’ll remember forever and probably my favorite adventure of the entire summer thus far.  This past weekend, I went with several new friends to London.  We experienced the craziness of attempting to take the “perfect” picture on Abbey Road and the overwhelming hugeness of Harrod’s, the department store that claims to carry just about everything.  One of my friends and I ended up separated from the main group, but we ended up seeing Wicked somewhat spontaneously before heading back to Worcester College Saturday night.  All in all, I’ve had two amazing weekends while based in Oxford, and I’m so, so excited for the next two in Amsterdam and Dublin!!

Ciao Italia! July 4, 2011

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Italy was absolutely fantastic.  We visited Florence, Rome, and Venice, and all three cities were really different.  Starting off in Florence, it was really nice to finally have a truly walk able city.  In Florence, I was able to see Donatello’s Mary Magdalene, a sculpture from wood that I found absolutely breathtaking.  Donatello sculpted her hair turning into her rags as it moves down her body and her tears becoming her wrinkles along her face; it was truly remarkable.  Also in Florence, we attended a concert of the London Philharmonic; hearing Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique” performed by one of the most talented orchestras in the world was such a wonderful experience.  Probably my favorite night of the trip thus far was when we climbed a hill that overlooks the city and watched the sun set while eating a picnic dinner of cheese and bread with olive oil.  I was such a spectacular moment to spend with new friends.  I have been to Rome before, but because on this trip we were very well prepared for what we would see on such a visit through our classes, I found this time in Roman museums and churches a lot more enjoyable.  For example, when I was in Rome a couple of years ago, I was absolutely astounded by the beauty of the Sistine Chapel, but during this trip, it was so, so much better being able to glance up at Michelangelo’s work on the ceiling and his “Last Judgment” on the wall knowing exactly what I was looking at and being able to truly appreciate it.  Venice was the most beautiful and most impractical city I’ve ever been to.   Every waterway and street was breathtaking; however, all travel (other than walking through winding, confusing streets that would randomly dead end into water) within the city was via these waterways, which got rather inconvenient.  Nevertheless, the city would be without its world-famous charm otherwise.

“Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens…” June 20, 2011

Posted by lucyt33 in Travel Log.
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After visiting Vienna, Prague, Saltzburg, and Munich, I am amazed about what all Europe has to offer.  Vienna was beautiful, and we got to see one of my favorite pieces of artwork: Klimt’s The Kiss.  We also visited the Vienna State Opera House and learned about the astounding number of productions it performs.  The language barrier went from bad to worse in Prague; we were a sight trying to use maps to navigate the winding streets.  Prague was even more beautiful than Vienna, and the view from the St. Charles Bridge was breathtaking at any time of the day.  In Prague, we saw the opera Aida, which was definitely an eye-opening experience for me.  I thought I would hate the opera, but actually, I enjoyed the blend of music and action that told the classic story of forbidden love.  The day spent in Salzburg, home to both Mozart and the Sound of Music, was my absolute favorite time of the entire trip thus far.  Salzburg, Austria, located nearby the German border, is absolutely gorgeous, and we got to visit most of the places where the musical was filmed.  We saw everything from the “Sixteen going on Seventeen” gazebo to the two different houses used for the Van Trap family villa and ended our day with some delicious struedal.  Munich was a lot calmer than the other cities we’ve stayed in so far, but it definitely didn’t have any less to offer.  My favorite part of Munich was BMW world and museum; I was amazed by all the engines on display, especially the aircraft engines.  Now, on to Italy!

Paris, Au Revoir! June 9, 2011

Posted by lucyt33 in Travel Log.
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Paris was just as beautiful as I remember it last summer.  Of course, I loved visiting the Louvre and D’Orsay again, but my favorite experiences were completely new to me: the Eiffel Tower at night and the Paris Opera House.  The Eiffel Tower was breathtaking with its lights, especially the sparkling lights that accompany the changing of each hour.  One night, I was able to meet up with some fellow President’s Scholars who are studying at Georgia Tech Lorraine, and we just went to the Eiffel Tower lawn and watched the Tower’s lights and possibly more entertaining people doing just the same things as us, but from so many varying backgrounds.  The Paris Opera House was one of the most ornate structures I’ve ever seen and the one and only home to the Phantom of the Opera!  We visited the Opera as a part of our Art course, which means we got a private guided tour included in the overall program fee and we previously covered information regarding the Opera House in our class time.  It has been extremely helpful to learn about the art and music we’ll be experiencing beforehand so that we can better appreciate all aspects of the trip.  For example, even though I’ve visited the Louvre before, I was able to understand the art works I was seeing since I now know their respective movements, artists, and significance.  Overall, Paris was wonderful, but now I’m looking forward to a city completely new to me: Vienna!

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