Student Post: Wrapping up the adventure of a lifetime

Jul 28, 2014

"As sad as I am to leave this beautiful country of Germany, I am so incredibly thankful for the experiences I have had, for the places I have seen, and for the memories that have been made."

Photos from Lisa Mitchell's study abroad experience.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post by B-Section senior Lisa Mitchell, who is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and works as a co-op at UTC Aero Systems LK in Connecticut. She is currently sharing her experiences in study abroad. If you’d like to write a guest blog post, e-mail phayes(at)kettering(dot)edu

By Lisa Mitchell

Germany, Austria, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, The Czech Republic, Spain, Italy and Greece. This has been the adventure of a lifetime and it's hard to fathom that it is coming to an end. I'm actually writing this post as I ride what is likely the last train I can ride for free with my Global Eurail Pass. I took five classes while I was here, Dynamic Systems 1 & 2, Fluid Mechanics, German History and German Language and I just finished up with all my finals (yay). I studied quite a bit in this last week to prepare for the exams but I still found a few of them to be exceptionally difficult.

Previously from this author:

Hopefully, all went well though. After our last final, I went to finalize details with my Visa. Then, we had the honor of meeting up with Kettering faculty and administration (who flew in to celebrate the 20 year partnership of the exchange program) for a two-hour bus ride/tour through Esslingen. It was such a delight to see familiar faces (although I can really sympathize with how exhausted they must have been because most of them had flown in that day then went straight to the tour, which was on a warm bus. I was genuinely impressed with the professionalism and graciousness of each of them especially because Commencement had occurred just days before, so I can image they were sincerely tired from hopping from one event to the next while simultaneously fighting jet lag).
I was quite excited because I got to meet the new Provost, Dr. James Zhang. He really seems like a great fit for the University and is certainly passionate about the co-op program and Kettering students. I am eager to see how he will inevitably better Kettering. I also had the honor of talking with President Robert McMahan for some time on the bus tour. I'm continually impressed with his leadership and with all he is doing for Kettering. Kettering has experienced a major transformation since my first term because President McMahan is a visionary who complements his dreams with action. Beyond that, he takes a sincere amount of time to get to know and understand the needs of those influenced by his decisions (which is, in my opinion, the mark of a true leader). Kettering has really, truly benefited from his Presidency and if he ever decides to write a book on his leadership experience, I will be first in line to read it.

The next day, Savannah, Abhi and I woke up early and took a train to Switzerland. We stayed there for only three hours or so because we were looking for a specific gift (which we didn't end up finding) for my two sisters. We saw these beautifully unique Swiss-made gifts when we stayed in Interlaken but had no luck finding them in Basel. We had to get back to Germany in time for the USA vs Deutschland FIFA game. All the Americans met at a Biergarten for a "public viewing" of the game and we cheered for the USA in a sea of Germans. It was sad they lost but it was still fun.
Friday I took a train to Lake Konstanz to meet up with a German friend who had studied at Kettering. Now I'm heading home to the dorms, and I sincerely need to pack because I have a taxi picking me up at 4 a.m. to take me to the airport. Luckily, I am not heading back to the U.S. quite yet. I am meeting my sister and cousin in Wales (UK) to hangout with some relatives for a few days then we are taking a 5-day "girls trip" to Copenhagen, Denmark. Afterward, we are coming back to Germany for three days, then I fly back to Hartford, Connecticut (the city in which I work over co-op term).
However, I will be in Hartford for only one night, then I'm flying out the next morning to Seattle to meet up with my parents and my other sister. The day after I arrive in Seattle, we are driving to Canada for a wedding that my sisters and I are bridesmaids in. Then I will have four days in Seattle (and will attempt to see as many friends as possible while simultaneously hanging out with my family) before I fly back to Connecticut. I will start work the day after I fly in. Welcome to my life, it's busy and really the only thing constant in my life is how frequently it's changing.

I will leave you with this: I have moved from one state to the next a total of 18 times (soon to be 19). As a result, I have learned the importance of "being where you are." It's so easy, and yet so incredibly detrimental to focus too much on what the future holds, or what the past has already finished. So, as sad as I am to leave this beautiful country of Germany, I am so incredibly thankful for the experiences I have had, for the places I have seen, and for the memories that have been made. It's easy to think the adventure is ending because I'm leaving Europe yet, the truth is, my adventure is only going to continue. My thesis is awaiting me at United Technologies Aerospace Systems and although it may be less glamorous than visiting a different country every weekend, it is ultimately a stepping stone on the road that is leading me toward more exciting experiences and places.

Writing this blog has been great fun for me, and for those of you that have stumbled across it and have chosen to read it, I hope you enjoyed the informal version of my writing and were somehow able to live vicariously through my stories and pictures.