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Category: 2016-Summer (Page 3 of 3)

Train Strikes Can’t Bring Us Down

posted by Morgan

The 2016 summer semester for GTL students is quite different than most years. It is not because it is the 25th anniversary for Georgia Tech Lorraine, nor is it because the Euro Cup is being held in France. No. This year is different as a result of the record breaking rainfall in France and the almost daily train strikes.

As you can imagine, these two things are somewhat problematic for us students. Walking to class in the rain, while unenjoyable, is not the end of the world nor is having a train cancelled. Hey, it happens right? We all knew that getting stranded in a train station overnight with friends was a possibility when we signed up for the program (Believe it or not, we were explicitly told stories by former GTL students of these occurrences). I did not, however, expect for train problems to prevent me from leaving GTL. I can “deal” with being stuck in Paris or Rome for an extra day, but being stuck on campus for a weekend is not what I would call “appealing”. It appeared that a weekend at GTL might be the case for my friends last weekend. We had planned to go to Munich, but upon arrival at the Metz train station we quickly learned our train was cancelled.

So it was time for plan B! Off to Brussels we go! An hour later we were sitting on the floor of the Luxembourg train station with another disappointing look strewn across our faces. Our train to Brussels was canceled.

So now it was time for plan C! What was plan C? Well, we did not really have a plan C, so our plan C then became, “Ask the Woman at the Information Desk Where Four College Students Could Go For a Fun Weekend in Europe.” Cologne, a smaller city about 3 hours away in Germany, was the answer.

As we sat on the train with our eyes glued to our phones, we quickly learned that expensive shopping and few city sights was not exactly our idea of a fun 3 day weekend, so I looked at the train route and found a new destination: Koblenz. It was déjà vu moment. MK6-1-10 years earlierI had faintly remembered my experience there with my family when I was 8 years old. Something about beautiful rolling hills and a quaint town rang in my mind, and, seeing as we were all out of options, I figured we could just hop off the train at Koblenz and hope for the best!

And that’s exactly what we did. After an hour of wandering the streets and searching for the cheapest, last minute accommodations we could find, we finally found somewhere to sleep and it wasn’t even the train station. The next morning we were up and ready to go see what Koblenz had to offer; backpacking our way towards some fortress we went. Of course, we got lost on our way up the steep incline in the humid, slightly rainy weather, with our luggage weighing us down, but when we finally made it to the top, our eyes were met with the rolling hills I had remembered from my time in Koblenz almost ten years ago.

Quaint German houses lined the rolling hills, reminding us of the fairytales we read when we were children; picturesque vineyards wove their way up the sides of mountains, making us question how someone even managed to stand on something so steep; small boats sailed their way down the Rhine, inviting tourists to fill their cameras with photos. While the rain didn’t seem to leave us when we left for Germany, we were still met with these beautiful sights.

When we had finished touring the impressive fortress and observing the detailed architecture, we decided to make our way back down the incline, but this time we were going to find an easier, less physically exertive way. Using my rusty German to converse with a local, we found the cable car that made its way over the river and down the mountain. My high school German teacher would have been proud as I discussed directions, where we were from, and what we thought of Koblenz so far.

The rest of the day was spent wandering until we made our way towards the train station and headed to our next destination: Trier. According to a friend of

mine who was studying abroad in Germany, Trier was the place to

Quaint Trier

Quaint Trier

go if we wanted the traditional German experience. The oldest town in Germany, it is full of history: a cathedral, old town square, Basillica dating back to the 4th century, and the Roman baths. After hopping off the train and making our way to our last minute airbnb, we realized that Trier was the perfect place for us girls to spend a weekend. It was calm, traditional, quaint, and the most important part– it had delicious gelato.   

We still did not really have a plan at this point, but we just spent the rest of our weekend exploring. When we passed the palace and gardens, we took time for a photo op. When the rain began to pour, we found a local cafe that served Wiener-Schnitzel. When our feet began to drag, we found an international music festival to sit down and listen to.

The unexpected and unplanned weekend was a little anxiety-filled for me at first, but I could not think of a better memory to look back on. So I guess these train strikes are not as unfortunate as I thought. I was with three wonderful friends enjoying company and culture. We might not have made it to the castle of Neuschwanstein or the city of Munich, but I think our adventure in Koblenz and Trier made up for it. No train strikes could bring us down.

Visiting the Doctor While at GTL

MK-doctor

What do you do when you get sick abroad? Everyone gets sick occasionally, especially when we travel as much as we do. Last week, I caught the common cold, and just like at the Georgia campus if you are too sick to go to class you have to go to the doctor. There are a few English-speaking doctors near GTL – the one I visited is located right off the Mettis bus line, and is the GTL-recommended physician.

After getting sick, I headed to the doctor with the cost of the visit in cash. This doctor doesn’t accept credit cards and it is advised to bring exact change; 23€. Just make sure to keep your receipt as the GTL insurance will reimburse you later. Seeing the doctor here was different than visiting one in the US though. The doctor’s office is located in the back of a large apartment complex right next to the bus station.

After walking into the building I was expecting to see a reception desk or a hallway which lead to an office with a reception desk. That was not the case; when you walk into the building there are a few chairs and this is where you wait for the doctor to come and ask you into his office. Once this happens, you go in and tell him what is wrong. There is a difference in the office setting as well; while in the US you would typically talk to the doctor in an examination room whereas at this doctor’s office, you talk to him in his office.

Unlike in the US where you can make an appointment with a general physician, in France the doctor has open hours where you go to wait to see him. This makes it slightly difficult to get in to see the doctor. Be sure to make it to the open hours early to try to limit the time that you spend waiting to see the doctor when you are sick.

Overall, while the experience was new, the entire visit was quick and effective. I walked out of the office with a prescription for some cold medicine and an excused absence note for my professors.

Time Management

Posted by Morgan

“There are never enough hours in the day”

Georgia Tech Lorraine (GTL)

Georgia Tech Lorraine (GTL)

My mom always told me this as she attended my soccer games, cooked my sister and I dinner, spent the day coding at her job, attended my band concerts, picked me up from field hockey, sorted the junk mail, cleaned the house, and helped me with my homework. As a child, I did not understand this statement, but as a student at Georgia Tech Lorraine, I could not hear her any more clearly.

Packing your weekends with sightseeing, train rides, 12 mile walks through the city, and a few hours of sleep is tiring. When the school week finally returns and your back at GTL, you want nothing more than to collapse in your dorm room and sleep. But, being Tech students, we don’t really have that option. The classes are hard and while the professors are understanding, the pace is still fast. As a result, I have had to learn how to manage my time efficiently.

While this was a skill I learned my freshman year of college, the rules are different here at GTL. Instead of balancing school, social life and sleep, you must balance travel, social life, school and sleep. I’ve learned a little bit along the way though that I think has helped.

  • Study Groups: Even if you don’t know anyone in your class at GTL, the class sizes are small, so you have to just grab someone and ask them to study with you. It reduces the time you spend mulling over problems and actually helps you learn the concepts better.
  • Office Hours: Yes we have these in Atlanta too, but often times you can get more one on one time with your professor. You can ask them to explain a concept or work through a detailed problem with you. They are the equivalent of your TA now.
  • Studying on the Train: When I say “study on the train,” I do not mean bring your textbooks and laptop. You simply will not have the patience or time for that. Instead, pull out a few notes you think are necessary or important. Then try downloading power-point presentations onto your phone. It will save you space and time.
  • Sleeping on the train: Find sleep whenever you can. If you’re on a train, but wide awake and don’t want to study, close your eyes. Just do it. Even if you’re not tired now, you will be later and you will be thankful you took the time to rest on a train instead of sleeping through your travels.
  • Plan your week: Plan out your week ahead of time. If you have a test the following week but are taking a 20 hour train ride to Budapest the weekend before, you are not going to want to study that much the day you get back. Start early so that you are prepared.
  • Plan your travels: This makes life so much easier. Don’t wait until the last minute to book a train otherwise you will be standing in line forever and might not even get a ticket to your destination of choice. You should also try to book an airbnb or hostel about two weeks in advance. It greatly diminishes the time you spend searching for that perfect price. 
  • Cook with Friends: Feeding yourself in France takes a little more patience. You have to walk to the supermarket, carry all of your groceries back, and you don’t have the same resources you would back home.  Then you have to spend the time actually cooking your food. Cooking with friends though reduces the time and counts as part of your social life!

These tips and tricks have been vital to my survival here at GTL. I am still tired after a long weekend of travels, but these tips help me stay on top of my studies and still have the full GTL experience.

Making a Train Reservation in French

Traveling can be difficult, especially in a country where you don’t speak the language. Here are a few tips that should help you when you get to the train station.

LM3_1Before you go to the train station you should have a few things ironed out. You should have the trains that you want to make reservations for already, and a backup itinerary in case those trains are booked. That means that you should know the train ID number and the time that it is departing and from which station. It is also important to note that all trains don’t require a reservation, and if you have a Eurail pass you just need to get on the train.

After gathering this information it is time for you to head to the train station.

 

Introductory Formalities

<<Bonjour>> or <<Bonsoir>>: The attendants at the desk will greet you with one of these greetings typically. Bonjour is a greeting used before the evening where Bonsoir will be used later in the day. You should repeat the greeting back to them.

Requesting Your Reservation

<<Je voudrais réserver un billet de train . . .>>

This is the start of your statement saying the you would like to make a reservation for a train. After this you need to provide the information about your journey.

<< . . . Pour [Insert Departing Station] le [Insert Date – first the day, then the month] et arrivée de [Insert Arriving Station] sur le [Insert Date – first the day, then the month] s’il vous plaît>>

The only other thing that should be in French will be the dates and times of the trains. In French, they list the day first and then the month. Below is a table with the months and days in French.

January – Janvier

February – Février

March – Mars

April – Avril

May – Mai

June – Juin

July – Juillet

August – Août

September – Septembre

October – Octobre

November – Novembre

December – Décembre

0 zéro
1 un
2 deux
3 trois
4 quatre
5 cinq
6 six
7 sept
8 huit
9 neuf
10 dix
11 onze
12 douze
13 treize
14 quatorze
15 quinze
16 seize
17 dix-sept
18 dix-huit
19 dix-neuf
20 vingt
21 vingt et un
22 vingt-deux
23 vingt-trois
24 vingt-quatre
25 vingt-cinq
26 vingt-six
27 vingt-sept
28 vingt-huit
29 vingt-neuf
30 trente
31 Trente et un

One last thing to note is that you should always check the times and dates on your reservation before you buy them, because depending on the situation they might not be exchangeable or refundable. Typically the attendant will show you your ticket before you purchase it, so make sure to check the dates, times, and stations.

 

Praha

Posted by Morgan

Being a student at Georgia Tech is challenging, stressful, tear-jerking, and let’s face it, at times it makes you question why you decided to put yourself through such misery. I was asking myself this exact question, “Why did I choose Georgia Tech?,” as I downed my coffee, pried open my eyes, and hit the books during finals week.

I knew that my summer semester at Georgia Tech-Lorraine was ensuing and I needed to start planning trips in advance so I could try and save what little money I had, but of course my studies took precedence. It wasn’t until three days before I left for France that my friend and I randomly decided we wanted to fly to Prague for our first weekend in Europe.

It was a spontaneous decision to say the least. I was sitting down watching “Chasing Liberty,” a clichéd but enjoyable chick flick that follows a rebellious teenager as she travels around Europe.

All I needed to see was the Charles Bridge, and that was it. I wanted to go to Prague. The clichéd “rom-com” had sold me on some destination I knew very little about, but it was new, different, and fun, which was exactly what I wanted after finals. Next thing I knew, a week later my best friend, Mirna and I were strolling the streets of Prague.

I am fortunate enough to say that I have traveled to many different places in Europe, but never have I been to a place as magical as Prague. You see, when you walk around Atlanta, or Amsterdam, or Barcelona, even some place as beautiful as London, you come across those buildings that try so hard to be the quintessential piece of modern art when in actuality they are nothing more than an ugly brown cube.

The same could not be said for Prague.

I saw only one ugly building–only one ugly building in the entire city. I know that sounds superficial and inconsequential, but believe me, it was a wonderful surprise. Perhaps that is why our trip was so enjoyable having had little to nothing planned. Everywhere we looked there was an old, beautiful piece of history. Even the McDonald’s was coated in ornate, romanesque architecture. It was just so easy to live in the moment, forget about the worries of school, and enjoy the beauty around us.

The cheap yet delicious food definitely helped intensify this atmosphere. When walking around old town for example, Mirna and I stumbled across a charming traditional Czech dessert. At first we were taken aback. What were this things? They looked like ice cream cones but they were being roasted over the fire. We figured the only way to answer our question was to perform a professional taste test! I can safely say that they were worth the few euro.

When our trip was coming to an end, we decided to celebrate our first successful adventure (no passports or money was lost, no people were injured!) with a traditional Czech dinner. We ate in a Ratskeller and oddly enough were seated next to two recent UGA graduates.

Of course, we took this opportunity to tease them over the rivalry, a rivalry they could care less about, but they had no qualms in admitting the supreme intelligence of our school (even though they believed their football team to be superior). It was a fun experience to be half-way around the world but still be so connected to our roots.

As I endured the laborious and long journey back to Metz, I thought back to that horrible time during finals week. This was why it was all worth it. This experience. This education. This adventure. Even our new University of Georgia friends seemed to agree.

5 Times I Really Wish I Knew the Language

  1. Buying Plane Tickets: Believe it or not, buying a plane ticket online can be harder than you think, especially when it is in another language. When booking plane tickets to Naples, I had to try and use my rusty German in order to make sure we got 2 plane tickets to the right location on the right day. I’m still hoping that I did this correctly…I guess I will find out in a few weeks.
  2. Ordering Water: Tap Water. This might be what I miss most aMK2_1bout America. When you are at a European restaurant, if you ask for water they automatically bring you a fancy small glass bottle of water that costs more than a glass of wine. When you are parched from roaming the city all day you just want a tall, cold, refreshing vat of water, but sometimes they don’t always understand the translation of “the free tap water please.”
  3. Directions: When walking around Metz, France during my first week at GTL, a group of us were trying to find the bus stop to get back to our dorms. Not many locals know English though, so we just ended up walking around the city for about 45 minutes in the rain until a nice man took pity on us and walked us to the bus stop we were trying to get to.
  4. Reading Menus: French food is delicious. There are crepes, escargot, coq au vin, and of course my favorite – pastries. While pointing at a menu and just hoping for the best can sometimes be a good option, it is always an MK2_2unfortunate feeling when you look over at your friend’s dish and see some mouthwatering dessert like a stuffed, chocolate and banana crepe with caramel ice-cream and dusted almonds and then glance back at your boring croissant.
  5. Trains: America is known for not having good public transportation. We drive everywhere and rarely use a bus or train to get from place to place. In France, everyone uses the train, but it is not as easy as it looks. Sometimes you could be waiting on the track for your train that is arriving in 10 minutes and then next thing you know everyone starts dashing halfway across the train station. Let’s just say we learned later on that European trains tend to switch tracks at the very last second, but it would have been nice to have known that a little earlier on.

Georgia Tech-Lorraine — 25 Years in France

Posted by Morgan

When I walked into the GTL building on Friday, I was greeted with an unusual sight: shiny gold and white balloons, large Georgia Tech-Lorraine posters, and of course the warm, friendly smiles that adorned the faces of those staff members dressed in navy blue and old gold.

I, on the other hand, was dressed in a bright, bold, red dress. Clearly I had forgotten the dress code for any Georgia Tech Event–no bulldog red. But it didn’t seem to matter as it was the 25th anniversary of Georgia Tech-Lorraine and everyone was far more interested in the festivities at hand.

Dr. Peterson speaking before a full-house.

Dr. Peterson speaking before a full-house.

While many students were busy shuffling to their next class, those that had a break eagerly rushed to meet our president, Bud Peterson, and listen to his speech. It was exciting to hear our president talk about our study abroad program with an eagerness and appreciation that so many of us could relate to. At first Bud Peterson admitted to being skeptical of the study abroad experience at Georgia Tech Lorraine. How could that much be gained from a short summer on a campus with 250 Georgia Tech Students and only a handful of Georgia Tech Professors? But then he visited. He visited and described how his opinions changed from skepticism to enthusiasm. As Peterson closed his speech, he spoke of the value he saw in studying abroad at GTL both from a cultural and educational perspective.

For the majority of us that are here, being able to have an experience like studying abroad while participating in such an academically rigorous and prestigious school makes us feel like part of something bigger. We are not holed up in our rooms forever studying differential equations or thermodynamics but creating experiences, and hearing Bud Peterson’s speech validated those thoughts.

MK252

Tim Jaudon, a rising third year industrial engineering major, said it best:

“I liked the fact that Bud came all the way out here to celebrate other branches of the school. It makes Georgia Tech feel much bigger and more global than just Atlanta.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what Georgia Tech-Lorraine and our 25th anniversary was all about. Of course we college students loved the free food and instagram-worthy photos, but it was the message of Georgia Tech’s commitment to integrating into the global community in France that we could so easily relate to after only a few weeks here.

Students enjoying the food after Dr. Peterson's speech.

Students enjoying the food after Dr. Peterson’s speech.

MK253

A Field Trip to Verdun

This past week GTL students took our first field trip of the semester. During this field trip we traveled to Verdun in northeastern France to the location of the Battle of Verdun.

For those of us not well versed in major battles that occurred during the First World War, the battle of Verdun was one of the largest battles during WWI. The battle was fought between the French and Germans from February 21 to until December 20, 1916. By the end of this battle the casualties and losses totaled nearly 500,000 on the French side and 400,000 on the German side.

One of the Verdun cemeteries outside of the Douaumont Ossuary

One of the Verdun cemeteries outside of the Douaumont Ossuary

One of our first stops was Fort Douaumont, one of the largest forts that surround the city. The majority of the fort is located underground and as we walked further into the fort the living conditions of the solders could be seen immediately. It happened to be pouring down rain the day that we visited and the rain water had sunk into the fort covering the walls and floor and lowering the temperatures.

As the tour through the fort continued the guide mentioned that this was the place where the soldiers rested for a short time before they were expected to go back out to the front lines. At each new discovery it became apparent how dedicated the soldiers were to their cause and how much they sacrificed for that cause.

After leaving the fort we drove to the Douaumont Ossuary. Throughout the ride the countryside could be seen and it still bore the results of the war. Everywhere we looked there were huge divots in the ground where shells had hit during the war. Even after a century the changes and effects of the war could still be seen on the land.

The Douaumont Ossuary is the site of the final resting place of many of the unidentified soldiers from the war. We were told about the rooms where 130,000 unidentified soldiers from both the German and French side that were located right below our feet. This Ossuary was built by Charles Ginisty, the Bishop of Verdun, from donations that he gathered to create a cemetery for the bones of the fallen, and a place for families of MIA soldiers to come mourn their loss.

At the end of this day all the GTL students walked away with a different understanding of what the war meant. Viewing the living conditions of the soldiers, the battlefields, and the cemeteries makes WWI more tangible to us. It is far different to read about the numbers and events of WWI in a textbook compared to seeing firsthand the life of a foot solider.

Shell blast holes in the countryside

Shell blast holes in the countryside

One of my fellow students put the feeling that we were all feeling, but didn’t know quite how to express, into words:

“There is nothing quite like climbing out of the damp darkness, stepping into the sun that is just breaking through the clouds that have been hanging over it since morning, and scaling steep steps up the side of the fort. Standing atop the highest point in the countryside with the wind in your hair ….and realizing you’re standing on the bones of thousands of men that never made it out.”

 

Day-tripping to Luxembourg

LM1_9

The first weekend of the semester I had nothing planned going into the week. That wasn’t really what I had in mind for the start of the semester, but I wasn’t going to let anything hold me back from going somewhere new and having a weekend to remember!

I had to think that I wasn’t the only GTL student in this situation, so I turned to the GTL Facebook group and found other students that still didn’t have anything planned for the weekend. After a few of us had gotten together, the plans started to form. Since most of us still didn’t have a Eurail pass, we wanted to go somewhere on our list of countries that had cheap train tickets available for the weekend. One of my groupmates found roundtrip tickets to Luxembourg for 17€ and we were off for a day trip.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg

Notre Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg

After a quick train ride we were in Luxembourg. Our first stop was the Notre Dame Cathedral, a quick walk from the train station.

The cathedral was filled with beautiful stained glass windows and detailed architectural sculptures. We walked around the cathedral admiring the artistry in the architecture, the murals on the walls, and the stories told in the stained glass.

After spending some time there we decided to head to the palace. Unfortunately, the palace wouldn’t start tours of the inside until vacation season starts in Europe in mid-summer. While we were there we stumbled upon a festival of sorts happening. It happened to be the day that Luxembourg celebrated Europe Day. We got a chance to walk around from booth to booth, each representing a different country in Europe. Each booth had material on tourist attractions in their country as well as some traditional foods and drinks. Even though this part of the day was unplanned it was a great opportunity to learn more about the other countries in Europe and where we wanted to go further in the summer.

The rest of the day we walked from attraction to attraction around Luxembourg. We went to the Casemates du Bock, were we saw the catacombs and the wall that once protected Luxembourg.

Casemates du Bock

We walked from the top of the Casemates du Bock down cobblestone ramps and winding stairs to the bottom of the valley to see the small creek that flowed through one of the small fields of flowers there.

Afterwards we headed across the valley to what remains of Fort Thüngen. Here we got the best view of Luxembourg and we spent a lot of time just enjoying the view, company, and good weather.

This was a great way to finish our first day of traveling at GTL. We returned to Metz and were excited to continue our summer traveling to new places and meeting new people.

 

France: Take Two

May 16th — My suitcase was packed, my fuzzy socks placed in an accessible part of my carry on, my ticket was printed and my passport was neatly stowed in my wallet. I was all set to fly out to France and spend the next three months studying abroad in Metz.

As a typical paranoid traveler, I arrived at the airport three hours early dressed in my over-sized Georgia Tech sweatshirt so that the other students on my flight would easily find me. I passed the time Googling what Metz, my new home, looked like until I met up with a few other students.

We conversed for a while, discussing our majors, MK3_1what classes we were going to take, where we wanted to travel, even the absurd amount of luggage we girls managed to pack. When they finally called our zone, we shot up from our seats and quickly rushed to the front of the line. As I handed them my passport and ticket, a smile shot across my face.

It was finally here. I was finally departing to France, about to embark on a…

“When are you leaving France miss?” the customs lady interrupted as her eyes scanned up and down my passport.

My smile suddenly dropped. “August 5th” I replied.

“Oh no. Please step aside ma’am,” she said.

And that’s where it began– the longest and most stressful 48 hours of my life. You see, where a typical expiration date signifies when your passport will become invalid, the same rule does not apply for France. My passport was set to expire in October of 2016 but French law requires that it must have an expiration date of at least 3 months after your return flight in order to enter the country. I was one month short.

As I was taken aside my smile turned to a horrified look of panic and the shaking began to set in. What was I going to do? How was I going to get to France? Where was I going to get a new passport? How was I going to tell my parents I missed one of the most important details when planning my trip.

Fortunately enough, the woman at the gate explained to me that I would still be able to fly out tomorrow night; I would just have to go the United States Customs House in Philadelphia to get a passport the next morning.

So 6am came and my mom and I were up, out of bed, on our way to Philadelphia, ready to be the first in line. The process, while stressful and filled with anxiety, was easier than expected. I was at the airport by 3pm and this time when I handed over my passport I was not met with a look of pity but a look of boredom as I was waved through to the plane.

I had made it onto the plane. Now I just had to make it to Metz. I would no longer be met by Georgia Tech students holding a sign saying “Shuttle B” or a huge hug of excitement from my friends on the bus. I was alone.

Fortunately, another student, Frank, had also missed his flight and was flying in around the same time as me. Together, we were able to navigate the French public transportation system.

It was a process though–a long and tiring process. We had to drag all of our luggage through the airport in order to make it to the train station, and finding where to buy the tickets was a struggle. When we finally purchased our tickets there was an evacuation of the area due to suspicious abandoned luggage. MK3_2Police, heavily armed security, and dogs entered the area. This was just what I needed to calm my nerves. Now I didn’t even know if we would make it on our train. How were we going to make it to Metz?

Thankfully, the threat was lifted and we were allowed to go back down to the train station about 20 minutes before our departure time. Then we had to find our train to Lorraine. Then we had to find our seat on the train (which believe it or not is harder than it looks when the tickets are all in French). Then we had to take a bus to Metz. Then we had to take a taxi to GTL. Finally we had made it. Somehow, we managed to do this all on a few hours of sleep and a few phrases of French. Thank goodness Frank was there with me to calm my nerves over being in a foreign country alone and commiserate over our unfortunate luck. Who knows where I’d be without him?

When I entered the GTL building, exhausted and hungry, I was met with laughs and hugs from a few friends. While they had all had a good night’s rest, filling breakfast, and an information session to describe what to expect at Georgia Tech Lorraine, I was tired, sore, in need of a shower, and just thankful to be in the correct country.

Later that night my friend Mirna and I began planning our trip to Prague. We were set to fly out in two days, and we had nothing planned except the flights.

“Ugh! How are we going to get to the airport?!” she asked.

“Don’t worry,” I muttered, “I’ve got that covered.”

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