Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cambridge -- Closing ceremonies

Hey everybody-

Today we turned in our final paper, marking the beginning of our summer vacation...or is it the end? Without a doubt, this summer has been an enjoyable one, and the opportunity to experience new people and cultures has been unforgettable. Carleton is known for its study abroad programs and it is clear as to why many Carleton students take advantage of them.

Tonight we will have a group dinner at Brown's and will begin to move out of Hughes Hall tonight and tomorrow. I've had a great time getting to know the students in this program and each member has had his or her unique experience that they cannot wait to share with you in person.

So, thanks for reading the blog and I hope it was helpful. We are excited to set foot on American soil, eat buffalo wings and have ice cold drinks. We will see you soon.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hughes Hall -- Week 7 (Aug. 6 - Aug. 12)

Happy Reading Days!

As mentioned before in a previous post, the academic portion of our program will wrap up this Tuesday when we turn in two final papers and a visualization exercise, as well as take a final test. Then, on Wednesday we have our final group dinner in which the program will wrap-up. After that, it's home to all of you -- unless your family member/friend likes it over here, in which case they will spend a little more time (and ask for a little bit more money) travelling around Europe. I plan on making one brief post next week to wrap up it up as well (probably Wednesday during the day before our group dinner).

This past week marked the end of our final lectures in the classroom. Once again, it was a fairly normal week with class on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday with an excursion on Wednesday. On Tuesday, we had an alum, Jeff Severts ('92), come speak to us in our classroom. Severts is involved with marketing for the Best Buy Europe project and it was insightful to hear his take on how a 'brick and mortar' type store can compete against an increasingly competitive market.

This week, our Wednesday excursion took us to Oxford where we could walk around 'the other place' during the morning. After lunch, we took a trip to Hook Norton to tour the Hook Norton Brewery. On the tour it was interesting to learn about how the brewing industry made an impact during the rise of industry in the mid 19th century in the United Kingdom. As you may recall, we also toured sites that were key to three industries (iron, textiles, and pottery) on our trip to Shrewsbury a couple of weeks ago.
Having lunch at the Sun Inn in Hook Norton

Showing off the steam engine in the Hook Norton Brewery Tour
Perhaps the most entertaining news of these past couple weeks is the majority of our group have become severely ill -- with Olympic fever. With a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a short train ride to the hub of the sporting world, many students have taken advantage of it. Although no one can make it to every event, the students on our program have been to a wide variety of sport. Here's some pictures to recap:

Taylor Hanson ('14) and Danny Geiger ('14) could be seen on NBC watching the eventual gold medalist duo of May-Treanor/Walsh take on Austria in beach volleyball. Also, I misspelled Hanson's name in an earlier post so my apologies, but it's a difficult name to spell because you have to guess on Taylor/Tayler and Hanson/Hansen. I went 50/50 and got it wrong. Good news is we learn from our mistakes. Let's move on.

Carleton was heavily representing the USA while watching the US women's soccer (football) team defeat Japan for the gold medal. 

The following day, a group of Carleton students went to watch the men's soccer bronze medal match between South Korea and Japan
While visiting Shrewsbury, a group of Carleton students got their hands on tickets to watch the USA play Great Britain in men's basketball. Although the game was only an exhibition event for the Olympics, it was very entertaining to watch live. In fact, various members of the USA team have ran into Carls at other Olympic events. NBA stars such as Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Kobe Bryant have all brushed shoulders with Carleton students. They tried to get a picture with us but our publicist wouldn't let them.

Independent Travel Week

Hey everybody-

Here is the much anticipated 'Travel Week' post. There is good news and bad news. The bad news is we only received two entries from students who travelled together. In our group's defense, this weekend is quite busy academically-speaking. We have a two final papers, a final, and a visualization exercise due on Tuesday. However, the good news is that if you cannot find you're favorite family member/friend in the following two entries, you have an excuse to pester them with questions about their adventures. So have at it.

Six of us split travel week between Barcelona and Amsterdam. The first half of our trip was very relaxing, as we visited the beach for at least part of every day. When we weren't stuffing ourselves with delicious Spanish food and drink, we toured the Sagrada Familia and saw other sights in the city, like Park Guell and La Rambla. On Wednesday we flew to the Netherlands and settled into the houseboat that we had rented just outside the city. It was a tight squeeze, but we were glad to have our own place. Over the next few days, we rented bikes and cruised through the Vondelpark and along the canals, and visited the Van Gogh museum and the Anne Frank House. We had an amazing time, and made it back to Cambridge safe and sound by Sunday.

-Katie Claiborne ('13), Mike Chappell ('14), Simon Johansen ('14), Andrew Tiano ('13), Seth Althauser ('13), Travis Nordgaard ('13)

The crew in Barcelona.

We had seven people in our group however we ran into members of our program on more than one occasion. First, we met up with Katherine Greenberg ('14) and her family in Prague. Graciously, the Greenbergs took us out for dinner one night and it was a lot fun getting to know Katherine's parents and her little sister. After a one day stay in Vienna, we decided it would be a good idea to miss our overnight train to Venice. Just kidding, we didn't plan on missing the train, but it still happened. Somehow, we were able to catch up with our overnight train at a different stop. In Venice, we unexpectedly bumped into Danny Geiger ('14) and Taylor Hansen ('14) and had lunch. Following Venice, we traveled to Florence and Pisa to check out Michelangelo's Statue of David and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, respectively. Finally, we arrived in Rome. We spent the final three days of our travel week in Rome exploring the city, seeing such historical landmarks as the Roman Coliseum and the Vatican. In Rome, we also met up with Cody Young ('14) for a brief period. It was a hectic week of travel -- we went from the gorgeous city of Prague to the history of Rome, yet I don't think we made it on one train without having to run.

-Max Timm ('13), Andy Zweber ('13), Miami Austin ('13), 'It's a 5-10 min. walk' Elder ('13), Josh Estes ('14), Jens Lillehei ('13), Ben Truax ('14)

Outside the Vatican in Rome

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hughes Hall -- Week 6 (July 30 - August 5)

After a hectic and exciting week of travel it was time to get back to business at Hughes Hall. It was a regular week by all accounts -- we had two class periods on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday as well as an excursion to London on Wednesday.

The travel week accounts have been slowly coming in yet I am waiting for a few more so I can publish everybody's travel week accounts on one posting. We had a busy academic week with a paper regarding the Shrewsbury trip and we are also beginning to prepare for the final papers or exams in our remaining two classes so reminiscing about their epic weeks was (understandably) not everybody's top priority. Since we have only one small assignment due this week that focuses on the picture project we completed during travel week, I will be more persistent in asking people to get their summaries in. Translation: I will be more annoying than a confused fly that can't find it's way out of a Hughes Hall dormitory.

On Wednesday we caught the earliest train to London in order to be on time to visit Matt Thomas at Barclay's. Although we visited Barclay's John Winter earlier in the program, the visit with Thomas was quite different. First, we got Krispy Kreme (remember those?) doughnuts for breakfast along with the usual coffee or tea. More importantly, we were also able to listen to Thomas as he discussed his experience in financial research. Thomas, who is relatively new at Barclay's since he's only been at the company for six weeks, specializes in the Russian energy market. Along with learning the ins and outs of financial research, it was also cool to listen to how Thomas and his associates took a meandering path into the financial industry. For example, out of Carleton Thomas was really interested in eastern culture so he began taking Russian language classes before moving out there during the time when the Soviet Union was collapsing. In short, opportunities came and the ability to learn-on-the-fly helped immensely as Matt finds himself with a job he enjoys today.

In the afternoon we went on a tour of Parliament. Unfortunately we could not take pictures once we were in the venue but we were able to see the House of Commons and House of Lords. Although I do not have photographic evidence, the tour had fantastic sights and it is worthwhile to see. 

We had to catch the 6am train ride to London. For a large group of us, this meant waking up at 5:45 and running to the train station. As soon as we got on the train we decided to scrap our dignity for the sake of not smelling like body odor for the next twelve hours and let our dress shirts (and ourselves) air out before we got into London. Needless to say, our train car was not popular with the regular commuters. 
Lauren Linde ('14), Travis Norgaard ('13) and Andrew Tiano ('13) pose stylistically outside Barclay's at Canary Wharf.  

Checking out the personalized ID cards handed out at Parliament.

Walking into the beginning of the Parliament tour, Big Ben is in the upper left. 

Another interesting aspect of the trip was to see London for the first time after the Olympics had started. If you recall, we started the program in London for three days. Along with the beefed up security and Olympic officials seemingly at every street corner, the city is also much cleaner than it was only a couple months ago. The tube system, which was feared to be log-jammed with spectators throughout the entire span of the Olympics was not bad at all. They even replaced most of the trains though the design is not complimentary to anybody over 6'2''. 

This past weekend (along with the weekend upcoming) many members of our program will take advantage of being only a short train ride away from the Summer Olympics. Events that have been attended include men's basketball, football (soccer), beach volleyball, judo, volleyball, and table tennis. 

Hopefully the travel accounts will come in soon but until then, have a great week.