A Trip to the NorthEuropean Union, Spring 2011

[gallery link="file"] We just got back from our third and last week long field study trip run by IES.  For the last trip we could choose between three places to go: North (London, Stockholm, Tallinn Estonia), South (Rome, Madrid, Barcelona), and Southeast (Athens, Bucharest Romania, Sophia Bulgaria).  I picked the North trip because I had never been to London before and I was interested in what life in Sweden was like. Here are a few of my impressions: London
  • It was really nice being back in a country that spoke English
  • We were there for three days and that was definitely not enough time to explore the city.  I didn't get to go to half the things I wanted to see
  • You really do need to be careful of cars that drive on the opposite side of the road... I almost got killed a couple of times for looking the wrong way
  • Stockholm is a very beautiful city but do not go in the Winter/Spring, it was too cold to do many of the outdoor things I wanted to do
  • One of our meetings was at Ericsson Headquarters.  It was definitely one of the highlights of the program. Some of the technology out there is really amazing
  • I'm starting to question how socialist Sweden really is.  Americans call it socialism, but due to the presence of private enterprise that runs the systems, is it really that socialist?
  • Tallinn is the capital of Estonia.  I had very little expectations for the city because I had never really heard anything about Estonia.  I actually liked it more than Stockholm
  • It was extremely cold and snowed (in April!) but we got a good sense of the people who live there.  As part of the program we went on a photo scavenger hunt and had to talk to the locals.  They were so nice and welcoming
  • Estonians were extremely impressed with US drivers licenses.  If you ever want to start a conversation with an Estonian, pull out your drivers license.
Overall, it was my favorite trip out of the three (the first two were Berlin/Prague and Frankfurt/Brussels/Paris.  There was a really good balance between free time and meetings and the meetings we had were interesting and different.
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