Today marks 17 days until I leave for my trip. As excited as I am – which is like, incomprehensible – it’s hard to believe how fast this first half of summer is going by. It feels like just yesterday I was applying to UC Davis and looking into all their study abroad programs, and now three years later I’m finally embarking on what is most likely going to be the best month and a half of my life.
I haven’t started physically packing yet, but I’ve been mentally packing and planning for what seems like forever now. And even though the details are still being hammered out, I have a pretty good idea of what to be preparing for.
The program that I chose is called “Genetics: The Global Language of Biology” which will meet a requirement for one general upper division biology class, BIS 101 (BIS stands for Biological Sciences, not Business like most people first think). It will be taught non-stop every day for four weeks, which sounds like a lot considering the class is normally a ten week course, but it will be based in Cambridge, home of most DNA research history, and Stockholm, home to the Nobel Prize Ceremony.
My first week abroad will be spent in London. It’ll be my first time visiting and I know I won’t want to leave. I’ll be staying and traveling with my uncle during the week, but I also have plans to meet up with some close friends from high school and college who will happen to be in the area at the same time doing their own study abroad trips.
After London, my uncle will be escorting me up to Cambridge, which is about a 2 hour train ride from London. There I will start my two-week stay at the University of Cambridge, Clare College, and meet up with my friends and peers. The next day after the welcome dinner we begin classes. Here at Cambridge, our studies will focus on the history of genetics – how DNA processes works, important people in genetics, etc., things I’m very excited and interested in but are probably really boring to write about here, so I’ll leave it at that.
After two weeks at the University of Cambridge, we will be going to Stockholm, which is about a little over two hours of flight time. At the University of Stockholm, our course will be geared more towards the future of genetics, and how certain genetic practices are applied. There will be a strong focus on the Nobel Prize, which is given away in Stockholm for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology, Medicine, Literature, and Economic Sciences. This is where our finals will be taken, goodbyes will be said, and our program will be ending, but it is also where my best friend Carly and I will begin a week-long adventure on our own.
Our next destination will be Amsterdam, where we will stay for a few days before finally heading back to the US. We haven’t really determined our definite plans but we do want to visit the countryside and the Van Gogh museum. Plus I’ve received many requests that we have to go to the park bench in The Fault In Our Stars (a young adult novel by John Green; if you haven’t seen the movies, I highly recommend it), so we might have to make that stop.
My goal is to keep this blog updated throughout my trip so that family and friends can follow along and see what I’m up to and learning. Hopefully I will be able to upload daily pictures and posts of the people I see, the places I go, and the adventures I’m having. I want to be able to remember everything about this trip because I know that it’s a once in a lifetime experience, and I'm hoping with this blog I'll be able to. With each post I make, I will also be posting a link to my Facebook page so everyone can follow it from there.
I know it’s a few weeks away, but I’m too anxious to get this journey started!
Until next time,