Amy Rader, Madrid, Spain

So this week has definitely been a crazy one.  I take my finals this morning.  My Finals.  How is that even possible?  I just got here.  It has been a whirlwind and its not slowing down yet. 

This past weekend I visited the beautiful city of Segovia, home of the famous Roman Aqueducts and the castle that inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  Every single excursion I have taken with my program has been phenomenal.  I was also able to visit the Senate, which is pretty cool,  and revisit El Rastro,  the outside market, where I did quite a bit of shopping and a ton of spending.  I took a lot of time this week to see some of my favorite places in Madrid and to find a few more new places.  I went to places that were known to have the best croquetas, mojitos,  tapas, sangria, and more.  I wanted to get as much authentic Spanish cuisine before I go.

The Aqueduct

Segovia Cathedral

Alcazar, Castle of Segovia

View from the top of the Alcazar

Library at the Senate

This week was also the farewell dinner for my program.  Which just makes me want to cry thinking about it.  But we went to a little restaurant and we were served all the famous Spanish dishes.  It was awesome, and the food kept coming.  The absolute best part of the evening was the Flamenco Show that occurred between the main course and dessert! It was probably one of the most incredible things I have ever seen in my life.  Jaw droppingly beautiful. 

This guy blew me out of the water, he stole the whole show, absolutely incredible

So I have a grand total of 4 more days in Spain.  And only 2 of them will be in Madrid.  I am taking a trip with some friends to Barcelona for the last weekend.  I am really excited about it but I am sad to leave Madrid.  I feel as though I have come to know the city, where things are, how the people  are, how to avoid tourists, where to go for great food, get deals at clubs, and somewhat present myself as a local.  Madrid is definitely a city I want to visit again in my lifetime.   It is a beautiful thriving city that is a mix of history and culture, and modern day technology and exciting night life.  I will definitely miss the feeling of safety everywhere I go.  I live pretty close to Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ which are basically know for the opposite of safety.  I hold my bag in Madrid to prevent pickpocketers, but I never feel in danger.  It’s relaxing.  I will also miss my host mom, preparing me dinner every day.  My own mom doesn’t even do that for me anymore.   It is great to leave all day and come back to a nice hot, healthy Spanish meal. 

During my month here,  I have learned a few things, and a few tips about studying abroad.  Here are some of my intensive month study abroad tips.

1.  Chose a program that has excursions in the price.  Yes, they are definitely a little more expensive but once I arrived and realized all the things that were included in my price, I got a fantastic deal, and I didn’t have to worry about paying any extra while already here.  And I didn’t have to plan the trips, which is awesome.  (My program- API Study Abroad, highly recommended)

2.  Take the time to see YOUR city.  You are only here a month.  Go out and see what your city can offer you before you spend every moment trying to plan trips to other places.

3.  Do the touristy things.  Go to the famous museums, and the Palaces, and all the historical stuff.  You’ll regret it if you skip it.

4.  Don’t be afraid to say no.  Say no to going out, or skipping one restaurant isn’t a huge deal.  If you don’t take the time to rest your body, then you will probably get sick and miss a lot more.

5.  Don’t be afraid to put city exploring before school.  Yes, school is important, but your teachers know you are here from another country and they want you to see everything their country has to offer. 

6.  Speak to locals without fear.  This is probably the hardest one for me.  Yes, they are going to know you are American.   And that’s okay.  At least you’re trying.  If you talk to them with confidence, even if you mess up, they’ll probably know what you’re saying and it is way better practice than in the classroom. 

7.  Don’t expect to go home fluent.  Everyone asks if I am fluent now.  I wish.  I’ve only been here a month.  It is absolutely true that my language skills have improved so much since I got here, way more than any intensive month in the states.  But a month is not enough time to become fluent in any language.  No matter how much you know before arriving.

8.  Know that you are capable to do this.  It is hard. Really hard.  Leaving family and friends and maybe a boyfriend/girlfriend, but it is absolutely worth it.  People always tell you that it will be an amazing experience, but they often leave out how hard it is.  Everything is new, you have new classes and teachers and friends and a new city and language and you are expected to take it all in flawlessly. No.  It is a growing experience and will help shape who you are as a person.  This is an experience that I will never be able to replace.

I am sad to leave, but I don’t have the deepening sadness that other have because I know I will be back in 6 weeks.  I will be starting my semester abroad in Paris. 

 

Amanda Kopil: The City of Reading GIS Intern/DCNR Tree Surveyor

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My very first fully completed, printed map! I use it to reference what section or parcel I am working with on the computer; just on a bigger scale. 

Milca Mendez- ACRE on 3D Printing

Milca

Hello Again!

Today marks another week I get to work on my research! It has been such a great experience and I am learning so much. My advisor, Professor Jocelyn Kolb, has been great and has taught me so much. On Friday she drove me to Clifton, New Jersey so we could check out a dental lab that does 3D printing. Arcad Lab was great! They were so kind and showed us how they use 3D printing. It is amazing how much this printer can do! At the lab we were able to see step by step the process of indirect bonding. So what is indirect bonding? Well if any of you had braces in the past you probably remember vividly lying in a chair for about two hours in order to get your braces put on. Well indirect bonding cuts the chair time by even more then 50%! With indirect bonding the braces can be placed on a 3D printed version of your teeth and then using vacuum forming the braces are placed in a clear plastic shell. This shell is then polished, sanitized, and shipped to your orthodontist office where you can get all of the brackets placed at once! It was great to talk to the staff at Arcad Lab and here first hand how 3D printing has increased their business. I am right on schedule with everything I had planned to do for my ACRE. However, to stay on schedule I must keep working hard! Luckily I have not encountered any major roadblocks or issues.

images_editorial_orthodontic-products_articles_legacy-images_issue_001_201111_2011-11_023511_2011-11_02-08 Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 4.39.40 PM 

Other exciting news…I am going to Nicaragua!! This coming January I will be going with a group of students to Nicaragua to help out as a dental assistant with a great program called Vida Volunteer. As a group we will “set up shop” and provide dental care, medical care, and vet care to people who typically would not be able to have access to this treatment. I can’t wait for this awesome experience!!!

DentalClinics_503035457840d 

Amanda Kopil: The City of Reading GIS Intern/DCNR Tree Surveyor

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This is my computer that helps me produce the best maps! Here I am working on a municipalities centerlines map. 

Amanda Kopil: The City of Reading GIS Intern/DCNR Tree Surveyor

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So it is official! I LOVE MY INTERNSHIP! My supervisor is great and really trusts me with a lot and encourages me to progress. I made my very first real printed map from scratch a couple days ago. I was so excited because when it printed it was the size of half a white board in a classroom!!! I am using it for my ongoing project to be able to see a lot better and reference when possible. I literally have this huge map pinned in my cubicle.

            Another fabulous thing about my supervisor is that she knows what I will need to learn in order to progress in my professional career. Yesterday, she took an hour of her own time to teach me a thing called geocoding, which is pretty awesome. We went over an example and then she gave me some tips and notebooks that she had from when she went to trainings with ArcGIS. I really appreciate everything that my internship is offering me so far.

            The workplace I am at is a typical office with people running around and phones ringing off the hook. Sometimes I have questions for my supervisor but she is so busy I have to find the right time to approach her, which for advice is usually when she has stopped talking/typing for a good minute! You don’t want to annoy and you don’t want to not ask questions so finding that happy medium is important. I have to wear business casual to work everyday even though some of my other coworkers wear jeans on occasion. It really is best to stick with business casual instead of even leaning towards casual (I know it is hard). Another tip; shop at thrift stores for business casual clothes! I have found some great buys at Goodwill and Plato’s Closet. Even if something is a little too big it is worth getting it altered for the price you get it for and it won’t look sloppy. Just a few tips ;)

Milca Mendez- 3D Printing: A Synthesis of Biology and Art

 Milca

Hi Everyone!
My ACRE project is moving along and I cannot believe we are already in the middle of July!! I was finally able to print a successful tray that resembles Invisalign! It took a couple of tries since the first time I attempted to make them did not work out the way I had hoped. However though the process was time consuming and at times a bit frustrating I learned to use the software very well! Because of my new acquired proficiency with the software I was able to design an anatomically correct tooth! I used the measurements from a dental anatomy book and made a little stand for the tooth so I can put it on display! I had only planned on making one since I was not sure how long it would take me to build my tooth, but now I think I’ll make one of every kind once I finish my other goals. My current goal is to make a screw (to represent an implant) to use as the clasp for my dentistry inspired necklace!

I have been very fortunate that though I have had some set backs at times, overall I am accomplishing my goals and sometimes even surpassing them. On Friday I will be visiting Arcad Lab, which is a dental lab that uses a 3D printer very similar to the one I use! I also plan on visiting Dr. Schwab’02 and checking out the Cerec Machine at his practice, which uses CAD/CAM technology. Both of these were tentative goals that are occurring!

I cannot complain I have had a great support system throughout my years at Albright and also during my research. Professor Kolb has taught me so much about 3D printing and design and has been super helpful. Not only has my advisor been super helpful but everyone else too! Reading Orthodontist Group, where I had my braces, has been willing to help me with pretty much anything I have needed this summer, Dr. Schwab is always willing to give me advice, and Arcad Lab is letting me visit tomorrow! This has been such a great experience!!

Amy Rader, Madrid, Spain

Hola Chicos!

It is now my third week in Spain, and this past week has flown by.  This past weekend I went to Salamanca which is known as a huge university city in the west of Spain near Portugal.  Since it is summer vacation, the city was filled with tourists and some locals.  The city isn’t very big but it is absolutely gorgeous.  We had a walking tour which was awesome.  One of my favorite moments of my trip so far happened during our tour.  We had the opportunity to go into the Cathedral.  There is an old Cathedral and new Cathedral attached to each other and they look like one big building.  We were able to climb to the top of the bell tower for the most amazing view I have ever seen in my life.  It was incredible.  On one of the old schools in Salamanca is tons of detailed carvings.  Hidden in them is a frog.  If you can find the frog on the wall, it will bring you good luck and you will pass your exams.  Lucky for me, the tour guide pointed it out!  After, we went kayaking and I absolutely loved it.  I don’t have pictures because I didn’t want my phone to get wet. 

(Catedral Vieja de Santa Maria)

. (Can you find the frog??)

(To show this is the new Cathedral there is an astronaut carving)

(View from the top)

(Mis amigas)

Classes are also going well for me.  This week we had midterms. (Crazy right? Only 2 weeks in and time for midterms)  I only had one and it was pretty easy.  I can’t say enough how great the professors are.  It is obvious they have a passion for teaching.  For the most part, classes are fun and easy to follow.  They start a little too early for me, but it is so nice to be done by 1 everyday. 

Now that I have been here 3 weeks, I have had more time to explore Madrid.  Sometimes people who study abroad spend so much time traveling that they forget to explore their host city.  I do not want that to happen to me!  Some of my favorite places to go during the day are the Retiro Park, which is huge, or the pool.  The weather in Madrid is exceptionally hot and today’s high 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  Thankfully, my host mom decided to turn the air on yesterday once it hit 97.  I also visited the Reina Sofia this week which is the modern art museum that holds much of Picasso, Dali, and other amazing works.  The coolest part of that was seeing “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso.  I studied this piece for over a week in my history of Spain class and got to see the real thing.  

(Parque Retiro)

(Guernica, photo from online, pictures in museum prohibited)

The country of Spain also has huge rebajas (sales) during the month of July.  So a ton of shopping must be done!  The streets of Madrid are filled with stores to check out.  Madrid is also known for its night life.  At night, my friends and I will often go to small bars such as El Tigre or Copas.  El Tigre is the best because if you order 1 drink, they bring you free food such as tapas, croquettes, y patatas bravas.  It is a great place to hang out and see locals. 

It is nice to have to opportunity to visit and travel throughout the city and country and the transportation is very easy to figure out.  With my host mom, I don’t have a curfew but if I don’t want to take a cab, I must be in the metro before 1:30am.  I really like the independence.  But I also have the responsibility to do my homework, write blogs, be home for dinner at 9, and not skip school (this is the hardest).  One of the other hard parts about have the freedom to do what I want, is to say no when I need sleep.  Many people get sick when studying abroad because they go out every night, wake up early for class, and explore all day.  Sometimes I have to say no and go to bed early so I can have more energy for weekend trips.  I have two more weekends left in Madrid and I will be visiting Segovia this weekend and Barcelona my last weekend in the country.  I can not wait!

PS.  The frog is on the top of the skull that is on the left side of the pillar!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Face Your Fear- Alone!

Yes, we know, networking events can be super scary.  It may seem like a great idea to go with a friend- someone who can be nervous with you, and can help fill in the gaps in conversations.  However, our friends at the Culture and Manners Institute don’t agree. Here’s what they have to say:

“In a list of Top 10 Fears, somewhere after Public Speaking and before Death, falls the Fear of Walking Into a Room Full of Strangers.  None of us wants to spend the evening standing along the wall, feeling like we are at an eighth grade dance.

 But the challenge of networking is we have to go it alone.

 When you bring a friend, it’s like bringing a security blanket.  You may feel more comfortable, but you won’t meet anyone new, because you will have your friend to fall back on for conversation.  Being alone forces you to seek out others.  Bringing a friend also makes you look dependent on others.  You want to let others know you can hold your own.

 Ditto for “Helicopter Mom” at the Career Fair.  Or cradling your cell phone for the entire evening.

If you want to move forward in your career, it’s time to get uncomfortable.  Smile, introduce yourself and give a firm handshake.  It might feel awkward at first, but with each person you meet, your confidence will grow.  And who knows, you might meet the person who will make a difference in your career.  Or make a new friend to not bring the next time.”

Find out more at http://www.cultureandmanners.com

Amy Rader, Madrid, Spain

So I have been in Spain almost 2 full weeks. It is hard to believe because it feels like I just got here, but it also feels like I have been here forever with my friends in my program. There aren’t tons of huge differences between Spain and American culture but there are a few big ones. In Spain, people eat breakfast around 7-9 in the morning. They have lunch between 1-3 and it is a big meal. Usually a starter, entree, and a dessert. From 3-5 many stores close for siesta. Spain just takes a nap in the middle of the day. Many places in Madrid stay open because there are so many tourists, but smaller parts of the city shuts down for nap time. Dinner is the craziest for me to deal with because people eat between 8-10. My host mom makes dinner for me and my roommate at 9pm everyday but she won’t eat with us because it is too early for her. I start to feel hungry around 6pm! The night life starts at crazy times too. People don’t go to bars and clubs until 1am and it is common for people to stay out all night and take the metro home when it opens at 6am.

(Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena)

I go to class everyday from 8:30-1. It is early and I have to take the metro to get there, but the classes are pretty easy. Since most students just have to pass the class for credit, so they are not striving for A’s. The grading scale is way easier than Albright as well. My professors are very passionate about teaching and it is a great experience to learn from them. Universidad Antonio de Nebrija is a university mostly for students who want to study Spanish. Almost all of the students in my class are from the States. But the teachers are true Spaniards. It is interesting to learn about the culture of another country and also see the differences between people from all over the States. In my program, there is no two people from the same place. We have people from Miami, LA, Boston, North Carolina, and more. This experience is teaching me mostly about people, how to accept them and learn from their differences. I think that is the most important.

(El Escorial)

This past weekend, I went to El Escorial, which is a Monestary not to far from Madrid. And was the summer palace to some of the Kings of Spain. It was absolutely breathtaking. I also visited the Museo del Prado, home of some of the most beautiful paintings in the world. It was like walking into a history textbook. I saw the Royal Palace, The Cathedral of Santa Maria, took a cooking class, went to a huge market called el Rastro, saw the city’s gay pride parade, and visited a few more places that Madrid is famous for.

(Palacio Real)

(El Rastro, this went on for about 2 miles)

(Gay Pride Parade)

These past two weeks have been a rollercoaster of business but I am having an incredible time! I am learning so much about people, Spanish, and mostly myself. I come across challenges everyday that are out of my comfort zone but I know I am strong enough to take them head on. I also have a strong support system back home when I feel scared or nervous. My goal by the end of this trip is to learn to do things without fear.

(Chocolate con Churros, muy delicioso!)

More from me next week!

 

 

 

 

Milca Mendez- 3D Printing: A Synthesis of Biology and Art

 

Hi Everyone! My research titled 3D Printing: A Synthesis of Biology and Art, is going great and I am accomplishing different goals that I had originally set out for myself! I am still working on mastering Rhino, but I am learning a lot. It is a great and it is an amazing feeling to create something digitally, and then be able to hold it in my hand. The duck that I made when I was first learning Rhino was a success! I also finished printing my first 3D teeth!! These are the teeth I will be using to compare the traditional plaster model and the patient’s teeth to! In order to print a file it needs to go through a series of checkpoints, which can take several hours, especially if you are just learning the software. However, the printing process is relatively fast for quality of the finished product. I am working on printing a clear tray to make something that resembles Invisalign. I did a first batch but the model came out way too thick! Though this was frustrating I started from scratch and will be printing a new trial!

Most of my research I undergo in the digital media classroom and in the office with the 3D printer. However, since the design aspect of things can be done on my computer some days I work from home or at jakes java (where coffee is readily accessible). This is great and provides flexibility, though that also means sometimes I decided to work on things late at night “for fun”. I have accomplished a lot but I also have a lot to do. I am excited for the rest of the summer!

Ps. wish me luck I will be taking my dental admission test next week!

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