What an amazing two weeks

In the first two days back in the United States, I found it harder than expected to revert back to life as normal. There's obvious things like the temperature on the east coast and the time zone change. Then there are little things, like remembering to bring a cell phone and ID to a bar, finding new appreciation for traffic lights, sitting alone for extended periods at a computer with internet, and sadly drinking sub-par coffee.

I have a hard time explaining to friends and family what made the whole JUAMI experience so special. Of course it was exciting to travel abroad and experience a new country. For all the nerds out there, it's also pretty cool to talk about how we had amazing lectures from professors across the world, and basically had a semester-long course on energy materials from experts - all crammed into 2 weeks. (For the non-nerds, it's a bit hard to explain why having class from 9-6 every day was such a great experience).

To be honest, I went to JUAMI not knowing what to expect. How many of us can really claim to have this cross cultural scientific experience we had..

  • Failing to describe the consistency of injera batter as runny or thick, but ultimately succeeding with "viscosity"
  • Working on optional problem sets with groups of people from all different countries and academic backgrounds, and having everyone in the group working to make sure each other understood the material? The entire room missed the beginning of coffee hour because we wanted to finish these problem sets
  • Heading back to the hotel on a bus with no air conditioning and plenty of radiative heat from the engine, and hearing discussions between an American student and Ethiopian student on programming in python
  • Lots more collaborative programming at breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Having your team pep talk before a football match be, "Play like a supercapacitor! High power! Fast charge! Fast discharge!"
  • Watching the team proposal projects evolve from utter chaos on Tuesday night to polished presentations on Thursday afternoon 
I didn't expect to make such great friends at JUAMI in two weeks. That is truly the hardest thing to describe to friends and family - that these two weeks were so special because of the people. That despite the short duration of JUAMI and our different backgrounds, these are people we call our friends and will keep in touch with. Thank you all for the wonderful memories! I hope we meet again :)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your personal viewpoint Nancy. It was a very special 2 weeks and your descriptions caught it perfectly.