Hey everyone! I’m currently writing this blog from a train going to Berlin, Germany!
This summer I jumped over the pond and landed in London, England to embark on Viterbi Overseas summer program. Viterbi Overseas is a summer abroad program offered exclusively to Viterbi students where you can take engineering classes abroad. I made so many incredible new friends on this trip (shout out to new VSA Alex Budde), and was able to experience Europe for the first time! Last week just completed 7 of some of the greatest weeks of my life, and here are some of my top experiences and memories from the trip.
1. Living on the Thames River
Our housing could not have been more incredible. We lived right in Southbank (a borough of London) close to the London Eye, Big Ben/ Parliament, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. My afternoon jogs would be running along the Thames, across the millennium bridge, around St. Paul’s Cathedral and back! In addition, we were right across from Waterloo station (the busiest station in London) and could just hop on the tube (London Metro) and go anywhere in London!
2. Budapest, Hungary
We were given a few free weekends in the program so the first free weekend 10 of us embarked on a journey to Budapest, Hungary! Budapest was one of my favorite cities I visited and I definitely want to go back. The city had so much history and incredible architecture, but most importantly, amazing and CHEAP food! The currency is $1 to 277 HUF, so everything was soooo cheap compared to London and the States. If you ever are looking for somewhere to go in Europe, go to Budapest!
My entire life I grew up playing tennis and watching all of the majors on TV, so when I found out I was going to London, my number one priority was to go to Wimbledon. I got my grounds pass and walked around the grounds for the day and saw so much incredible tennis! In addition, I had the traditional strawberries and cream as I sat on Murray Hill overlooking the stadium. It was by far one of the most memorable experiences of my trip.
4. Paris Weekend Trip with Viterbi Overseas
For the program, Viterbi plans a weekend trip for the entire group and this year we got to go to Paris! The city was so beautiful and had way too much to see. I definitely need to go back and spend more than just three days there and 3 hours running through the louvre. It was great to have everyone on this trip so we could meet up and walk along the river at night, or just sit on the lawn in front of the eiffel tower and hang out.
5. New Friends!
Overall the biggest takeaway from my Viterbi Overseas experience was making so many new friends. I went into the program only knowing a couple people and being nervous that I wouldn’t make any new friends; however left with amazing memories and so many new friends that I plan on staying in touch with at USC. The program brought together so many different people and people I would never cross paths with, and some how through traveling Europe, surviving London, and managing engineering classes we came together and formed unparalleled friendships.
Countries Traveled so far: United Kingdom, Scotland ( I know it’s not a country, but it was once!), Hungary, France, Ireland, Germany.
I’m now in Germany doing research at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology for a month, and then I’ll be backpacking through Italy for 9 days! While I miss home and my family and friends, I am so excited for the rest of my European journey! Keep up with my adventures and new insights to German culture on twitter. So far, I’ve discovered Germans don’t eat vegetables or exercise. They only eat candy and sit in parks. I think I’ve found my new home!
However, I managed to get some exercise in my first day here when my professor dragged us out on a hike to a 1000 year old castle in the Black Forrest in Baden-Baden Germany (supposedly the Beckhams come here to “spa” every year).
Ciao for now!