First and foremost I need to express every extension of gratitude I can to DCI Engineers and HDG Architects as a whole for providing me with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to complete a solo journey through three personality-laden European cities: Prague, Berlin, and Amsterdam. I’d like to specifically thank Stephanie and Mark Aden as well as Josh Hissong for providing this wonderful chance for civil engineering and architecture students in Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho to fly across the pond and travel for three weeks. Backpacking through Europe is a dream of many but realized by few. Amy Pugh, the Director of Marketing at DCI, was my main contact for uploading and editing blog posts. She made it very easy for me. I only had to upload my posts and photos to Dropbox and the rest was taken care of by her—along with Jami Sollid and Maggie Whaley, both Marketing Coordinators at DCI. Thanks for everyone who spoke with me during my visit to the Seattle DCI office in March and the engineers who took me out to lunch were great. I felt welcomed and included while I was there. And last but not least, I’d like to thank Molly Johnson, the 2014 DCI European Travel Scholarship winner. She was excited for me and happy to talk about her experience last summer. I personally look forward to reading and seeing photographs of the experiences of subsequent scholarship winners.
Not only did I gain knowledge and perspective of the built world in each city, but the solo travel gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about myself and grow on many different fronts. One of the most obvious aspects of solo traveling is having the desire to socialize. You don’t have your friends around you so you have to put effort in meeting and befriending people. I would say I’m much more comfortable approaching strangers and starting a conversation, although there’s still a lot of room to grow there. For extra motivation, I put two quotes on the lock screen of my phone: “Always do what you are afraid to do” and “High risk, high reward.” These were both quotes I came across during my three week European Travel tour. I think they were appropriate for this trip. There were few times where I didn’t think twice about what I was doing and just approached someone and started a conversation. Normally a situation like that would include at least five minutes of internal analysis, deliberation, and anxiety before the first move. In situ, conversation would be relatively easy. I’d like to bring up my friend Sasha from Slovenia, who I met up with before my trip. He was a large motivating factor in my confidence and desire to approach people. Even though he was part of a traveling OSU group, he still approached and met new people like it was the easiest thing in the world.
This travel scholarship also gave me opportunities that were much larger than just this trip. Before my travel blog tour, I was able to go on a trip for academic credit with OSU. I also secured an internship at a cross-laminated timber manufacturer and engineering company in Germany, which starts when I wrap up here. Neither of those would have been possible had it not been for DCI Engineers and HDG Architects in Washington.
Lastly, I would like to share a few of my favorite photographs of architecture and engineering feats that were not posted in a previous blog post over the last three weeks as well as some more quirky photos.