Soccer. . . Er, Futbol

Many Georgia Tech-Lorraine students have a passion for soccer – or futbol, as they call it in Europe – and end up both playing pickup and going to see professional games!

Thursday, October 3, 2019 | Written by Karsten

Europe’s most popular sport is futbol, or what we call soccer. I have never played soccer in my life—unless of course, you count Upward soccer when I was five as real soccer. I began enjoying soccer around 2013 by playing FIFA 14 on the Xbox. Through this, I learned the rules of a sport that I now love. I’ve played countless hours on every FIFA video game released since then (except this year’s release, FIFA 20, as I do not have a way to play it). After I began playing FIFA, I could also watch soccer and appreciate it. Not long after, my dad also began watching it and so on Saturday mornings, that’s what we would do if we weren’t busy—watch the Premier League and eat breakfast.

My freshmen year at Georgia Tech, I actually played soccer for the first time. Though intramurals are not organized, this was my first taste of eleven versus eleven soccer. Cru made a team—called the Crushers—and we were pretty successful. It was a co-rec team, meaning there had to be even numbers of guys and girls in the field, excluding the goalkeeper. We managed to make it to the school championship that year, which we lost on a cold, rainy night. Last year, we made another team and made it to the playoffs but subsequently lost in penalties. However, playing real soccer made me realize how much fun it is to play.

There are tons of people that are in the GTL program that have played soccer. Within a week, there was a group message in GroupMe solely for watching and playing soccer. A couple times each week, we’ve gone out to the high school that’s very close to the Georgia Tech-Lorraine campus and played on their turf field. If we couldn’t play there, there are lots of other possible options. It’s always a great time to go play pickup, and I’ve been able to make quite a few friends that way.

Coming to Georgia Tech-Lorraine, I knew I wanted to go see a few professional games. Being in France, PSG is the easiest choice of teams to go see, with Paris being only a couple of hours away. In the first week of being in France, I was able to go see them, so that’s one checked off. Since FC Metz got promoted last year into Ligue 1, I would like to see them, but I’m not sure I’ll be in Metz on a weekend that they play at home. I would also love to see a Premier League game, but it’s not looking too likely. Lastly, being a Real Madrid fan, I have to see a game at Santiago Bernabeu. I believe that I’ll be able to see them over fall break, and I’m very much looking forward to it.



A Voyage to Monaco

Sometimes the best trips are the ones that come together at the last minute! Georgia Tech-Lorraine students are masters of flexibility and taking advantage of the opportunities before them, and Karsten is no different. Check out his latest blog post about their trip to Nice and Monaco!

Sunday, September 29, 2019 | Written by Karsten

I must be honest. We were not planning on coming to Monaco this weekend. I knew I wanted to go to Monaco, but wasn’t sure when I’d be able to make it. Originally, we had planned on going to Monaco last weekend and then London this weekend, but since tickets had sold out, we made the last minute decision to go to Copenhagen. On the way back from Copenhagen, while stopped in the Paris Gare de l’Est, we looked at train tickets to London. Surprise, surprise, they were sold out. Once we got back to Metz from Copenhagen, we decided to look at Monaco again and there were still tickets available, so we tried to book them. It would’ve been more than $1000 to stay in Monaco for both Friday and Saturday night, so we chose to stay in Nice on Friday. Three days later, we all had our tickets to Nice and Monaco, and then back to Metz.

 The night before we left, we had the great idea of playing cards until 1:30am, knowing that we were going to need to be awake at 4:30am. In addition to that, I hadn’t packed yet. After we won, I packed my bag, got my two hours of sleep, and we went on our way to the train station. During the eight hours of trains to Nice, I only made up an hour of sleep. Thankfully, I had some coffee, or the rest of the day would’ve been rough. Once in Nice, we dropped our bags at the Airbnb and went to the beach. Though I had been to a Mediterranean coast before, I had never stepped foot in the water, so I did that. After watching the sunset, we had dinner, gelato, played more cards, and then went to sleep.

On Saturday morning, we took one of the early trains to Monaco. Once we got off, we realized a potential tragedy—none of us had any signal or available data. Luckily, it turned out to be just where we were. From the train station we went to the Prince of Monaco’s car museum, Top Car Monaco. Seeing some of the cars that were there was absolutely crazy. He had everything, from late 1800s wagons to modern Formula One cars. From the museum, we went to the Jardin Exotique. It was a hike there. I think we climbed 30 flights of stairs. They had tons of cacti and many varieties of other plants, and it also had a very cool outlook over the city. It was 75 degrees Fahrenheit and partly cloudy, which was actually the hottest day we’ve had in a couple weeks. Walking around with our bags proved to be a bit much, as we were all wishing it was cooler.

After the garden, we dropped our bags off and then went back down by the water. From there, we did what I was most excited for—walking the Formula One circuit. I have watched this race for as long as I can remember and know it by heart, though it looks much different from the street and without the guardrails. We passed by the Casino Monte Carlo, took some pictures of the cars parked out front, and made it most of the way around the track. Unfortunately, however, we were unable to complete the track because the Monaco Yacht Show was happening at the same time, and they had some parts by the water closed off. Still, seeing so much of such a famous track was a very cool experience. We had a very chill rest of the day and just walked around, went down to the beach again, and played even more cards.

Monaco is known for its glitz and glamour, and it definitely did not disappoint. Every fifth car it seemed was a Bentley or a Rolls-Royce. I was so excited to be there, by the water, the Formula One track, and the ridiculous amount of money on display in the forms of boats and cars. Unsurprisingly to me, this tops Copenhagen as my favorite spontaneous trip yet.

Managing Time with Travel (Part 2)

Balancing school with travel can be difficult, but Karsten has hit his learning curve! Check out his latest blog for his insights and tips.

Friday, September 27, 2019 | Written by Karsten

Last Wednesday, I had my first true exam of the semester. Next Wednesday, I have my second. In between, I’ve had thermodynamics evaluations which are like miniature exams and need to be prepared for in a similar manner. Even so, I’ve been traveling (as evidenced by my travel-related posts). Here’s how I’ve managed to travel and try my best to keep up with school and the blog.



My first class of the week is French. This is the class that has its first exam next Wednesday. I’m not prepared for it yet, but thankfully one of the people I’m traveling with this weekend is also in French, so we can practice on the way back. Madame Sonia Serafin gives a very fair amount of homework during the Monday class so that she doesn’t have to give us any (except practice) on the Wednesday class and subsequently the weekend. I feel like I’ve learned a pretty good amount from class, but then when I’m out and about in French-speaking places, I understand absolutely nothing that’s being said.

Probability and Statistics

Probability and Statistics is immediately after French. This class’s first exam was last Wednesday, and though I didn’t do amazing, I did well enough. I think I learned how to be better prepared for the next one, which is an important takeaway from any class’s first exam. For this class, the best way to stay caught up is to pay attention, and therefore go to all of the classes and doing the homework. I’m good with the latter, but I definitely need to work on the prior.



My only Tuesday/Thursday class is Thermodynamics. We’ve already had three evaluation periods and five available points, of which I think I’ve gotten three. That doesn’t sound great, but since we get to make attempts each week, I’m pretty close to on track (and I’d be in good shape if I hadn’t made a dumb mistake during the evaluation period yesterday). To stay caught up with this class, it is necessary to watch all of the video lectures that are posted as well as to practice with problems that’ll be attempted during the next evaluation period.


Science, Technology, and the Modern World

To prepare for this class on Tuesdays, I usually read the readings that are posted while I’m traveling. In fact, I’m going to read this week’s readings after I finish writing this. The other part of the reading is posting thoughts on it and replying to other’s thoughts which are posted on Canvas. Doing this helps us be ready for the discussion that occurs in class, which makes it my most interactive class.


Instrum and Electronics Lab

To prepare for lab on Wednesday, my lab partner, Jake, and I print out and read the lab for the week we’re on as well as glancing at the prior week’s lab. Looking through both labs allows us to be ready for the lab quiz, which happens every week. Other than the lab quiz, we must complete the labs, but so far we’ve been able to get those done in lab and haven’t had to go in outside of our class time and hopefully it stays that way.



Keeping up with the blog hasn’t been as easy as I would’ve expected, though I’m still glad I’m doing it. Having ideas for what to write about has proved to be moderately difficult and staying on top of editing the pictures I take has always been a struggle of mine. However, working on the blog while traveling is another productive way to spend my train and plane rides.


I think the biggest thing I’ve taken away from this semester is how important it is to pay attention in class, as that saves so much time outside of class. Being at home on the weekend means I can catch up on what I missed during that week, but I don’t want to be trying to catch up on school while I’m traveling on the weekends, as I might miss a once in a lifetime opportunity to see places I’ve never seen before and may never see again.

The Journey to Copenhagen

As Karsten attests in his latest blog, sometimes half of the battle is getting there. Follow along on his trip to Copenhagen!

Sunday, September 22, 2019 | Written by Karsten

This weekend, D.J. Akers, Jake Tjards, Julia Kerns, and I decided to make the journey to Copenhagen. Jake and I went by train, and Julia and D.J. went by plane, since they were having Eurail issues. The original route had Jake and I leaving at 8:30pm on Thursday night and making it to Copenhagen at 2:40pm on Friday afternoon. We booked the couple of train reservations necessary, booked our Airbnb, and were off.

Jake and I left Lafayette, our residence hall, at 7:30pm and all went according to plan—that is, until our very first train was delayed upon arrival to the station. Needless to say, with tight layovers, we missed our third train and first reservation, thus messing up the rest of the planned trains. We had to stay in the Mannheim Station for an extra two hours until the next train left, putting us on a train from 2am until 10am. When we got on, everyone was sleeping and there were next to no available seats, but towards the middle of the trip, it became rather empty. However, at about 6am, it filled back up—this time with drinking Germans instead of sleepers. The train went from dead silent to full of noise, and I was not a fan, as I had only gotten an hour of sleep by laying across the two seats. However, and much to my surprise, since the noise was constantly loud, I managed to get a couple more hours of sleep. Everyone on that train got off at Hamburg, so that was a bit of a struggle.

Jake and I searched for food around the train station, but there were so many options that it was difficult to decide. The primary goal was to get coffee, as we packed food for the entirety of the train rides, so we decided on Dunkin Donuts. A couple of girls from America in front of me were very excited for and ordered Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Their excitement rubbed off on me apparently, because I felt inclined to order one as well. I had it on the next train, and it was as good as the last one I had, so I’m glad I ordered it. On the next train, I ate the rest of the food I had packed, and we crossed the border from Germany into Denmark. The rest of the train ride was very uneventful and we made it to Copenhagen at 4:15pm in the afternoon, almost twenty-one hours after leaving our rooms. We met Julia and DJ, went to our Airbnb, and then set out for our adventures in the city.

After a rather rough start, Jake and I ended up being a little downcast and even slightly considered going to other cities from Mannheim, but I am so glad we didn’t change our minds. Copenhagen has been my favorite trip so far (excluding the trip to Belgium with my dad). The city is beautiful, a pretty decent amount of English is spoken, and we didn’t have a set plan. We just did what we wanted to when we wanted to, including taking the train into Sweden (which puts me at eight countries for the semester so far, but who’s counting?) and playing cards in the King’s Garden. Perhaps it was the city that I enjoyed so greatly, perhaps it was the spontaneity, but I’m just glad I got to have this experience.

Moselle Open

Thanks to the Bureau des Etudiants, students at Georgia Tech-Lorraine this semester were able to attend the Moselle Open, which served up some fun and impressive sport.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 | Written by Karsten

A couple of weeks ago, Adam Bradshaw mentioned to me that the Moselle Open, a tennis tournament, was happening soon and that he wanted to go. He said that it was a large tournament but because the U.S. Open was happening a week prior, the faces of the sport wouldn’t be coming, which is pretty unfortunate. Fast forward roughly a week and he created a GroupMe to gauge the interest of people coming with him and thirty people joined it, so he did his research on tickets.

Last Friday, we had our election for the Bureau des Etudiants (BDE), which is similar to a student government. One of the roles available was the sports coordinator, who is supposed to create events that everyone would want to do related to sports. Georgia Tech-Lorraine can subsidize or entirely cover ticket prices that we have to pay. This is exactly what happened, as we received an email within twenty-four hours about the ability to get free tickets to the Moselle Open. There was a draw for it, but I believe that everyone that responded to the poll within a couple of days got free tickets as well as free transportation to the arena.

Today, we received our tickets and then were able to head over whenever convenient. Adam and I decided to get there around five because we’d be able to see some of the bigger names of the tournament—namely Frenchman Richard Gasquet who’s ranked in the top fifty tennis players in the world. We caught the end of his match versus Spaniard Marcel Granollers and then the entire next match between Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Spaniard Pablo Andujar. Seeing professional tennis in person is mind boggling, especially when able to move around the arena and sit where you want. When we were seated on the side, it was difficult to keep up with the speed that the players were moving and hitting the ball at.

In the early rounds of this tournament, matches are best of three sets, whereas in the biggest tournaments it is best of five. Richard Gasquet won in three sets and Tsonga also won. (I guess the luck was with the French today.) I definitely expected the more agile-looking Andujar to win the latter match. I saw multiple serves at speeds greater than two hundred kilometers per hour, including a max of 211 kph. That’s well over one hundred twenty miles per hour.

Knowing how bad I am at tennis, these matches were crazy to watch. The speed at which the ball moves and the anticipation required to play and win is next level. I would have considered going to the tournament even if I had to pay, but I’m so glad that I was able to experience it for certain through the Georgia Tech-Lorraine.

Coffee in Metz

Coffee is a staple for Georgia Tech students, and whether instant or gourmet, students find a way to get their coffee in Metz and across Europe! Check our Karsten’s feature on coffee.

Saturday, September 14, 2019 | Written by Karsten

I am a big fan of coffee. No, I don’t drink it black, and no, I’m not a coffee connoisseur, but I do very much enjoy a nice, sweetened cup of coffee. I also generally have multiple of these sweetened cups of coffee every day. I was a little worried as to how I was going to get my daily caffeine over here, but very early on, my friend Jake showed me the world of instant coffee and cappuccinos. These are what I’ve had each and every day that I’ve started in Metz. Jake got an electric kettle during the item swap, so that’s been extremely convenient. I just fill it with water, put a spoonful of instant coffee and a spoonful of instant cappuccino in a mug, pour the hot water in, and mix it up (and then add a little milk because I’m weak). Though I drink quite a bit of coffee, I do drink it because I enjoy the taste, and not because I need the caffeine entirely (though I definitely need some of it). Perhaps I should drink more decaf just to be safe. 

Anyway, when I’ve travelled, I’ve also had quite a bit of coffee. In Paris, I had an iced coffee with milk with my caramel crepes. The Airbnb we booked there also had a Nespresso machine, which makes espresso. Espresso alone is extremely strong for me, but I had a couple anyway—one each day. In Belgium, with my dad, the hotel breakfast that was included had an awesome cappuccino and coffee machine. Accidentally, about half of the cups I had were decaf, as I didn’t put together how similar “deca” and “decaf” are. In Interlaken, the hostel also had a breakfast with a nice coffee and cappuccino machine, and I had many cups over two days, as sleep was not a priority. 

I had a couple of friends in Cru study abroad here in the spring, and I got some coffee shop recommendations from them. I hadn’t had any coffee from a café in Metz until today. I really wanted to try out some of the places they recommended, and since I was staying in Metz this weekend, I decided today was a good day to start on that list. A couple of people were leaving for a day trip to Luxembourg, so I asked if they wanted to tag along since the first place, Fox, was right by the train station. They did, so we walked the two miles to the coffee shop. I ordered a vanilla latte and a yogurt with granola and fruit. The two who recommended it, Rose and Brendon, were absolutely right to—it was amazing. The latte was sweet (no complaints here) and the yogurt bowl was refreshing. Everyone else also enjoyed their breakfasts and then they went on their way to Luxembourg and I came back to my room to write this. I can’t wait to continue to try all the places they have recommended. 

A Hike to Switzerland

Interlaken is a favorite destination of Georgia Tech-Lorraine students, and Karsten has some advice for those thinking about going: “Be prepared with outdoor gear, because you’ll want be outside the entire time.”

Monday, September 9, 2019 | Written by Karsten

This weekend a group of us went to Interlaken, Switzerland. When I say a group, I mean essentially all of GTL—there were forty-nine of us in the GroupMe, and although everyone didn’t come, there are only just under ninety undergraduate students here. Interlaken literally translates from German to “between lakes,” and as you might imagine, it’s between to lakes—Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. It is a wildly popular tourist location as it is absolutely stunning, and there are many different, generally extreme, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to be had, including hang-gliding and paragliding, running a mountainous marathon, and ridged hikes.



Adam Bradshaw, the lone University of Colorado-Boulder student this semester, and I took the train after class to St. Louis (not the one in Missouri) and met up with four other study abroad students in Basel, Switzerland. To get from St. Louis, France to Basel, Switzerland, we just walked across the border, so that was a pretty cool experience in and of itself. We ended up at a Swiss bar to watch the Switzerland-Ireland soccer game, and there were a couple Irishmen there who talked to us for the entirety of the game.


The six of us left from Basel and went on to meet up with the rest of the group in Interlaken. From the train, we could all see just how insanely blue the water of the lakes was. It was the color of the Glacier Freeze Gatorades. Once we got off of the train, we went on to the hostel that most people were staying at. I think every traveler there was either from GTL or running the marathon that was this weekend. Once we dropped off all of our stuff, a group went kayaking while the rest of us decided to go for a swim in the lake. The water was absolutely frigid, as it was a very cloudy, fifty-five-degree day. Regardless, it was a good time and made for some funny pictures.


The main goal of going to Interlaken was to be able to hike up Augstmatthorn, an insane ridge ending in a peak overlooking the lakes. If you’ve seen pictures from a high altitude in Interlaken, they were likely taken here. We weren’t sure if we were going to make it, as it’s deemed an “expert” hike and the weather was very uncertain. We made it up Harderkulm without much of a struggle, but then the rain started and made going rather treacherous. We got to the point where we could turn and head down the mountain or continue all the way. As I hiked in some slip-on Vans (not my brightest idea but funny nonetheless) and the weather seemed like it was getting worse, I was in the group that went down there. All in all, I fell about five times and slipped many, many more, but it was a good time anyway, particularly when I slipped and fell from the path on the way down and somersaulted (but quickly caught myself) and scared the group badly. Once back and changed, we went out for dinner at a fondue place. I was particularly excited for this, as my dad has made fondue at home, and I love it. Needless to say, it exceeded my expectations.



On Sunday, we headed back to Metz. It was a pretty uneventful trip, but we played Spicy Uno for the entirety of one train ride, so that was a very good time. Once we were back, I edited my pictures from the weekend and reflected, and man, Interlaken is stunning. I highly recommend it to anyone reading this who hasn’t been before, but also be prepared with outdoor gear, because you’ll want be outside the entire time.

Creating the Nearly Perfect School Schedule for Travel

What goes into a semester schedule at Georgia Tech-Lorraine? Let Karsten walk you through the thought process in his latest blog post!

Thursday, September 5, 2019 | Written by Karsten

When I make my class schedule for a semester, I normally try to get my classes all in the range from 9 am to about noon and make the beginning of the week heavier than the end of the week. However, this semester, I knew I would want to make my schedule a little different. Because Georgia Tech knows that students who take part in this program want to travel a lot, they give students Fridays off, for the most part, in the spring and fall semesters. The exceptions come on bank holidays and other reasons that we would have Monday off. In these cases, our Monday classes get pushed to the Friday of that week. I knew I wouldn’t want to take only electives while studying abroad, but I also did not want to take an entire course load of engineering classes. I settled by scheduling three classes that are required for my major, one class that will eventually complete my humanities requirement, and one 2000-level elective. I could have found a computer science class that begins the respective minor, but I’m still unsure if I want to do that. I talked to my advisor and the required classes that she recommended I take while abroad were ME 3322 (Thermodynamics), MATH 3670 (Probability and Statistics with Applications), and ECE 3741 (Instrum and Electronics Lab). It worked out well that Thermodynamics meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 am, Probability and Statistics meets on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3:30, and Instrum and Electronics Lab meets on Wednesdays at 9:30, and none of these hinder travel in any way. For Electronics Lab, it was convenient that I had taken the lecture part of the class (ECE 3710) in the spring, so I have some of what we’ll talk about in my recent memory. Since the other two classes are not required courses for my major, I had a bit more leeway with what I chose. I knew I wanted to begin getting my humanities out of the way and I was likely going to take a language, so since I am studying in France, I chose FREN 1001 (Elementary French 1). French class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays at 2 pm, which means I would have to be back earlier, but it’s unlikely that I would be getting back that late on a school day anyway. Lastly, I picked Science and Technology in the Modern World (HTS 2100) because it is a study of European regions and because it begins to fill up my 2000 level electives. This class meets on Tuesdays at 12:30, and therefore also doesn’t affect travel in any way due to lecture, though there are a few fieldtrips that occur on Friday throughout the semester. A normal week for me this semester starts at 2 pm on Monday and ends at 9:30 on Thursday, which technically gives me 100.5 hours per week to travel out of 168 total hours in a week. Though I won’t be using all of this time to travel, as school does come first, it is reassuring to know that if I have an easier week ahead, I can make some pretty ambitious travel plans and still make it back with plenty of time for class. 

A Race to Belgium

Karsten is an avid Formula 1 fan, and he was able to attend the first race back from their summer break at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, which was an exciting and sobering experience. See his photos and learn more about the sport in his latest blog post.

Monday, September 2, 2019 | Written by Karsten

This past weekend was the weekend I’ve been looking forward to since I first decided to study abroad. I knew that in any given semester at Georgia Tech Lorraine, there would be a Formula 1 race in continental Europe, but because I chose the fall semester, Formula 1 would be just returning from their summer break, and the first race back is always at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps just so happens to also be my favorite racetrack in the world, so I knew I had to go, so my mom and I started to plan it. I wasn’t sure who I’d be going with, whether someone from here, my cousin, who I’m really close to and also enjoys cars, or my dad, who I got my passion for cars and racing from. My dad ended up making the trip across the pond because my mom had a bunch of miles that he could use. This ended up being the best option, as neither I nor my cousin nor anyone here is old enough to rent a car, but my dad is. This cut three hours off of the travel time.

Skipping over some details about the trip over and the practice sessions, we arrived at the track on Saturday to watch F3, F2, and Porsche Supercup qualifyings, as well as the final practice session, qualifying for Formula 1, and the first F3 and F2 races. On any given Formula 1 weekend, all of these take place. Formula 1 cars are the fastest. F2 cars, or Formula 2, are next, followed by F3 and finally Porsche Supercup. Call me a fake fan if you like, but I don’t know much about the F2, F3, or Porsche Supercup drivers or teams, but my dad and I do keep up with Formula 1 pretty religiously. It was still very cool to see the qualifyings of these series as that was the first truly competitive driving of the weekend, since it sets the order of the grid for the races. Formula 1 qualifying happened next, and as had happened so far during the weekend, our favorite team, Ferrari, qualified first and second. The joy that followed was soon transformed into gloom, as during the final event of the day, a massive accident occurred which resulted in broken bones of one driver and the passing of Anthoine Hubert.

As you might be able to expect, the mood of spectators and drivers alike on Sunday was rather dampened. However, all races except the final F2 race (the crash the day before happened in F2) still took place. The Formula 1 race is always the most anticipated event of any race weekend, and therefore happens last. Both Ferrari drivers escaped the first corner accident that so often happens, and they stayed first and second for the first stint of the race. On lap 19, the number of Anthoine Hubert, there was a touching moment where everybody watching the race stood and clapped for the entirety of the lap. Fast forward to the end of the race, Charles Leclerc, a Ferrari driver won his first Formula 1 race, and Sebastian Vettel, the other Ferrari driver brought home fourth. After the race, on the way back to our shuttle, my dad and I noticed that there were lots of people on track, and we managed to find out how to get on the track, so we took pictures on the start-finish line. That was definitely one of the highlights of my weekend.

Even though a tragedy occurred during the weekend, I’m so glad to have been able to go to my first Formula 1 race in nearly fifteen years, and that I was able to experience it with my dad.

Managing Time with Travel (Part One)

Georgia Tech-Lorraine students travel a LOT, but it’s a great way to learn time management and prioritization. Karsten has a plan in place so that he can do as much as he can while abroad!

Sunday, September 1, 2019 | Written by Karsten

Normally, when at school, I try to think about actually doing school as little as possible. While this isn’t always the smartest idea, I’d much rather hang out than do schoolwork, and therefore I can only really do schoolwork when I’m alone. Now that I’m here in France, I have even more distractions. It seems like all anybody can think about is where they’re going to travel next, and I’m the same way. Luckily, as with any typical semester, the first couple weeks—or first full week, in this case—are usually pretty slow, with the occasional homework assignment needing to be completed. Because of this, I’ve been able to make new friends, take lots of pictures (and stay on top of editing them), get the recommended eight hours of sleep, and yes, travel in both of my first two weekends (I’m currently writing this in Belgium).

The classes I’m taking this semester are Thermodynamics, Probability and Statistics, Instrum and Electronics Lab, French 1, and Science, Technology, and the Modern World. The most worrying ones are the three that are mandatory to graduate as a mechanical engineer: Thermodynamics, Probability and Statistics, and Instrum and Electronics Lab. These classes, though fair according to past students, will be very difficult to get an A in if I don’t take them seriously and make time to review the material. Thermodynamics is a flipped classroom, so in class we’re solving problems and outside of class we’re watching lectures. There are eighteen evaluations to be completed throughout the semester, and if they all get completed successfully, we get an A. Probability and Statistics is heavily based on the midterms and the final, but if I’m able to stay on top of the homework and not miss any classes, it shouldn’t be too difficult. Instrum and Electronics Lab is based around lab quizzes and lab reports, so if Jake and I are able to get the labs done in class, we should be set. French 1 will be the most useful class I take while I’m in France, because, well, I don’t know any French yet. Maybe by the end of the semester, I’ll actually understand what’s going on around me. Lastly, as long as I stay up to date on my readings in Science, Technology, and the Modern World, the class should be manageable.

The method of attack that I think is best for managing my time is to get as much work as I can done during the first three nights of the week, and then doing my reading, writing, and eventually studying while I’m on the train. So far, that’s what I’ve done, and it seems to be like the best idea. Hopefully, by managing school this way, I’ll be able to keep my stress levels low and stay ahead on my work (although I already feel a little behind—hopefully I can work to feel caught up this week).