I cannot believe that summer is right around the corner with only a few finals standing in my way. Right when the semester comes to a close, I will have the opportunity to go abroad to the Middle East, and work a technical internship back in Los Angeles. A fun and jam packed summer ahead of me, I am trying to find some time to relax too!
This summer, I am very excited to have the opportunity to study abroad in South Africa! The program I am working with is a Community Development and Social Justice program run on the University of Cape Town campus. On the program, I will first take a class focused on poverty and development, using Cape Town as a case study. We will talk about socio-economic issues impacting the communities there. Then, for the second half of the program, we will participate in service-learning and community engagement. We will gain an understanding of South African tradition and beliefs, and use our knowledge of these beliefs to work hands on with a community-based organization.
Today marks the start of the last week of classes. At the end of this week, I will be half way done with college, having completed two full years here at the University of Southern California. Looking back on these last two years, I am a little nostalgic and somewhat melancholy that I only have two more years to spend at this beautiful university. That being said, my nostalgia stems from all the amazing experiences I have had over the past two years, and this past semester was no different. Continue reading
As the semester is coming to a close, I wanted to reflect on some of the courses I have taken. This semester I am enrolled in the USC iPodia Program (ENGR 345). This is a unique program that allows students from around the world to come together in a single course and collaborate. The official course name is Principles and Practices of Global Innovation.
With graduation rapidly approaching I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on my experience at USC, particularly as a woman in engineering. To be honest, I haven’t noticed a difference in my experience compared to my guy friends in engineering or USC in general. While my classes aren’t 50% girls, the ratio is high enough that I don’t even notice it in my classes. I’ve had such an incredible experience at USC, from my classes to doing research to studying abroad, and participating in student orgs, club sports, and greek life.
In my blog last week, I briefly discussed my trip to India. Over Winter Break, I had the opportunity to travel to Rajasthan, India with the USC Volunteer Center. This week, I want to delve into further detail about the trip that changed my life.
The past six weeks have flown by, and it is crazy to think that I only have two more weeks left in London! With at least one main essay each week, homework, weekly quizzes, traveling every weekend (and I mean every weekend), and trying to see London to feel like I actually lived here, I have decided that sleep can wait. This has been the most hectic, exhausting, and incredible adventure that I have experienced, and I have Viterbi to thank for it!
In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned my main worry about living in London: a lack of peanut butter. Luckily, there is no shortage of peanut butter whatsoever! London is primarily fueled by Nutella, but peanut butter is easily found. Needless to say, I am very happy about this! It is funny, though, how big Nutella is. When going through security at an airport, there are always the examples of “what not to bring” in your carry-on. At home, it’s always water bottles and large-sized toiletries. In every European airport that I’ve been in, there is always a jar of Nutella on display along with the toiletries and water bottles. I found that pretty bizarre and funny!
Anyways, I have found that living in London has been much easier than anticipated, but doing all of the touristy-stuff in London has been much harder than anticipated. I’m pretty directionally challenged, but I’ve found that it is very easy to get around here! There are maps almost every block, hundreds of bus and tube routes that can take you anywhere you want to go, and people who are always willing to point you in the right direction. I’ve been able to find my way to and from many of the main areas of London, and I’ve never gotten lost to the point of panic!
Though I feel like I have seen most of the areas of London, I do not feel like I have seen any of them in enough depth. I don’t feel like I have been to even half of the main tourist attractions. Like I said earlier, I have been traveling every weekend, so I haven’t had much time to spend at the museums or on main tours within London. I wish I stayed in London more often, but traveling to different countries and cities within England has been spectacular!
I have been to Stonehenge and Bath, the Seven Sisters cliffs, Dublin, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Oxford, and will be going to Brussels this coming weekend. Culturally, I think I would have to say that Dublin was my favorite because of the live music. Scenically, I would go with Edinburgh because it felt like I was in a medieval castle-village. It was funny in Edinburgh because every building looked like a castle and was made of beautiful stone and brick, but then you would look at what was inside the building and it would be a McDonald’s or H&M. Definitely not what I was expecting, but it was really cool how they could keep the whole scenic feel of the area even within the main center of the city. Food-wise, I’m thinking that Brussels will be my favorite with Belgium chocolate, waffles, and the original French fries, but that’s just a guess!
Traditional Irish Band at Open Mic Night.
Seven Sisters Cliffs.
The highlights of London for me have been the markets. Borough Market and Portobello Street Market are musts while in London. Borough Market has about every kind of cuisine you can imagine, but for me, the highlights are the fresh fruits and vegetables and cheeses! Portobello Street Market also has street food, but there are more vintage vendors selling clothes, jewelry, souvenirs, and small trinkets of all sorts. Both markets are fun to shop at, and they’re perfect for unique London souvenirs. They are also the perfect places to pick up an assortment of food for a picnic at a local park, which has been one of my favorite things to do.
I am sad that this program is coming to a close, but my plan is to fit as much into these next two weeks as humanly (and homework-permitting-ly) possible!
Hey everyone! I hope you are all having a fantastic summer! Mine is off to a great start.
I spent the first two weeks of my summer in South Korea with my iPodia class. Cassandra, Steve, Vlad, Gavin, Zach, and Lyssa were also there! I had an unforgettable experience in South Korea. The city we were staying in was beautiful Daejeon- home of KAIST campus. It was wonderful to reconnect with the KAIST students who visited us back in February- and just as great to meet our other classmates from China, Israel, and Germany in person!
Here were some of the highlights from our stay:
-Visiting the Jeonju Traditional and Cultural Center, where we made Bibim-bop, an authentic Korean dish, learned about Korean theater and percussion, and even learned how to host a traditional tea party.
-Attending the USC Global Conference, where we saw a few familiar faces- Viterbi Dean Yortsos and USC President Max Nikias.
-Getting an up close look at a Hyundai production facility
-Going to the World IT Show
-And who could forget, presenting our final projects with our international teammates!
The trip was part of a class, so we did have a lot of work to do while we were there- but that didn’t stop of from having fun. Being in a new and unknown city for a couple of weeks was the perfect way for me to mentally transition into summer after such a busy semester. Plus, I made tons of great new friends!
When I got home from South Korea, I spent a few days having fun with some high school friends. Highlights of the week: Going to a live taping of “The Voice” (and if you’ve ever met me, you know I’m a diehard Maroon 5/Adam Levine fan) and going to an Angels vs. Cubs baseball game! If you were wondering, the Cubs won.
Since then, I’ve started my internship at Boeing. I love it so far! I’ve been given really great assignments and I’ve been able to draw on what I’ve learned in multiple classes back at USC- but I’ll save all of this for another blog!
So far this summer, I have had the opportunity to do some travel abroad and nearby. I spent the first two weeks of summer in South Korea with the Viterbi iPodia program. This experience was really amazing; part of the class was getting to know students from China, Korea, Israel, and Germany, and it was awesome working with these students all semester and then finally getting to meet them! My team had students from PKU in Beijing and KAIST in Daejon. We also got to explore a lot of the Korean culture. Naturally there was a ton of Korean BBQ, but we also got to learn how to make the traditional meal of bibimbop. We also spent a day at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea which was particularly interesting- we were only 600 ft. from the border! One of my favorite parts was spending the night in a Buddhist temple. Even though we had to get up at 4:30 am to do 108 bows to Buddha, it was a really immersive experience to learn about the culture. It was such an amazing trip!
The USC students visiting KAIST campus
Learning to cook bibimbop
Learning about traditional Korean marriages
Exploring the palace in Seoul
My team with students from USC, PKU, and KAIST
VSAs in Korea rocking white polos
The Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea
600 ft from North Korea!!
The Buddhist temple we stayed at!
Once I got back to the states, I had an adventure a little closer to home. I spent a weekend in the mountains and got to experience the beautiful scenery that the California Sierras have to offer. It’s amazing the different types of scenery you can find in California, and that you can be at the beach in the morning and drive just a few short hours to the beautiful mountains. It was great to have a peaceful weekend watching stars and going on hikes.
Perfect little Creek
View from the top of a hike!
Definitely a perfect lake
I have a few more short trips to the mountains planned for the summer, and I’m also very excited about my internship at a nanotechnology company in Orange County, which I started a few weeks ago and will definitely blog about soon!
It seems like just yesterday that I was getting ready to go to the Kansas Cosmosphere to work as a space camp counselor for the summer after my freshman year. Now, I am studying for my last set of undergraduate finals and getting ready for post college life. And, while it is an anxiety ridden time, it is also a very exciting one, especially because this summer is going to be an eventful one.
After commencement next week, I will be traveling to South Korea for 2 weeks with the iPodia class that I am TA-ing. There, we will get to meet, in person, the students from Israel, Germany, South Korea, and China who are also a part of the class. We will get to explore a lot of the area around KAIST and even Seoul, the country’s capital. Oh, AND we get to go to a day of the USC Globalization Conference that will be hosted in Seoul. (I hear the Governator is going to be there too and I’m secretly hoping we’ll get to meet him.)
My iPodia trip to Taiwan last year! All of us Midwesterners in front of a temple
Enjoying Taiwanese street food!
After South Korea, I am coming back to Los Angeles for a couple days to pack up my room, store away some of it, and then drive down with the rest to Waco, Texas for my summer internship at SpaceX’s Test Facility. I’ll be there from June to the end of August and am VERY excited to get to work there (I mean, who wouldn’t be excited to see rocket engines get fired almost every day?). Once I’m done in August, things start to get a little hazey. But, I am excited to see what happens and where this next phase of life takes me!
Since this is my last blog post as a VSA, I wanted to wish all of you that are about to start your undergraduate careers the very best of luck. These next four years will undoubtedly bring a roller coaster of experiences and emotions, so prepare yourself, and, most importantly, remember to enjoy the entire ride!