The Columns

Around the World: Eric Schwen ’15 Around the World, Johnson Opportunity Grant, Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; London, UK

— by on September 5th, 2016

“While the conferences were very interesting and informative, I enjoyed experiencing the culture of the countries I visited even more.”

I really loved my trip around Western Europe. The main purpose of the trip was to present my research at two physics conferences in Paris and Madrid. It was an excellent opportunity for me to present my research in a truly professional setting and learn about the presentation and publication process in general. The conferences were both international, but they were made up of mostly European physicists. It was very interesting to talk to the Ph.D. students from around Europe and compare the structure of European graduate programs with that of American programs. I am planning on going to graduate school next year and I am in the process of deciding where I want to go and applying to graduate schools. It was great to get the perspectives of current Ph.D. students and recent graduates.

While the conferences were very interesting and informative, I enjoyed experiencing the culture of the countries I visited even more. While staying in London, Paris and Madrid, I visited the major monuments and museums, ate the local delicacies, met the local people and experienced their culture. I gained even more from the experience because I traveled alone. I was forced to meet new people and make new friends every day, and it was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of the trip.

I would highly recommend that other students take the opportunity to study abroad or go on a trip such as mine. The conferences were a great experience and will be very helpful as I prepare for and apply to graduate school. The exposure to other cultures was amazing as well. Do not hesitate to go, even if you are on your own.