Hi! My name is Megan Ray. I am a Junior Mechanical Engineering major, and I am doing today’s blog!
After 21 days, 11 cities, and 320,000 steps, we are on our way home. We are sitting in the Amsterdam Airport, waiting for our long trip back to the United States. The flight is delayed, so we have some time before the trip. Today isn’t super eventful, so this blog is going to be a bit of a recap from the past 21 days.
This course is Roman Structures and Engineering, so obviously, we saw and learned all about the engineering in Rome. We started with a bang by heading to the Colosseum our first day there. That was followed with exploring the whole city by visiting the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, St. Peter’s Basilica, Trajan’s Column, Aqueducts, and so many other places. We visited museums and learned about the history behind these places too. This showed us how advanced the Romans really were with their Engineering. We can learn a lot from them about their way of life, including hard work and not giving up on their projects.
After Rome, it was a bit of a whirlwind going from city to city. Pompeii, Naples, Florence, Pisa, Sienna, San Gimignano, Modena, and Milan. All of these places had engineering features that we could learn from. We climbed Brunelleschi’s Dome and were able to see the double shelled dome. We learned about the Tower of Pisa and talked to the expert for the project. He taught us how sometimes the best solution is the simplest solution. We also saw some modern engineering at the Ducati Factory. Someday, some of us may be working on projects like that, so it was cool to see it actually happening.
In addition to the engineering we encountered, we were all lucky enough to learn more about intercultural living and learning. By being in a foreign country for 3 weeks, we were able to live in the culture, learn more about it, and ask questions about things that were unfamiliar to us. With all of our amazing guides, hosts, and new friends, we learned to be more understanding and accepting of things that are new to us. Instead of immediately judging something that is different, we are able to look at it, learn about the new culture, and understand why other people do what they do. We will be able to use these skills for the rest of our lives in our jobs, traveling, and everyday lives.
To finish off this blog, some of us (shout out to Grace for the awesome idea) thought it would be fun to put together a list of advice, quotes, and memories for any future travelers out there. We hope you enjoy it!
1. This is a ONCE in a Lifetime Experience.
2. If you see a bathroom (especially a free bathroom!!), you better use it.
3. Check the Weather! You never know if you will need your rain jacket, sunglasses, or hand warmers.
4. Rice Balls are GOOD!
5. Be careful when you fall asleep on the bus/train/plane… you never know who might be taking a picture.
6. Hydrate or Die-drate!
7. ALWAYS look for the Free Wi-Fi.
8. Art is cool, but sometimes it would be cooler if it was made out of butter.
9. Carrara Marble rules the world.
10. Fanny Pack Squad rocks.
11. Rick Steves is life (Shout out to Grant for being an awesome stand in).
12. Find the nearest Irish Pub.
13. When in Rome, try Greek Food.
14. Download the city map… or get an awesome navigator (Thanks Charles and Kristen).
15. There is NO such thing as too much gelato… or pizza… or croissants… or cappuccinos
16. Walking shoes are a necessity! Don’t be surprised when you hit a 10-mile day.
17. Arches and Arcades are everywhere!! Engineering is awesome.
18. See the Churches! There are so many of them!
19. Learn how to say ‘Can I pet your dog’ in Italian. This will be the most important phrase.
a. Side note: Sienna has the best dogs.
20. Sometimes seagulls make a picture 10x better.
21. Tuscany is a must see. It might even be worth a homemade song.
22. Everyone needs a Claudio for their guide. He made this trip the best trip we could have asked for!
23. Domes and towers may be scary, but climb to the top! The view is worth it!
24. Before you leave, find an amazing group of people to be with (preferably engineers). They make the trip the best it can be, and become awesome friends.
Italy, you stole a PIZZA my heart. Thanks for all the memories!