Tag Archives: travel

Summer Plans

Jelena Mrvos

Jelena Mrvos,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 5 April 2019

With graduation being less than a month away, I am thinking about summer more and more! There is still plenty to do between now and the end of the semester, but I can’t help but to think of summertime. I am continuing on to graduate school here at OU in the fall and will be spending the better half of the summer in Athens. However, I am also planning on doing a fair amount of traveling throughout.

The largest trip I have planned is a two week long trip to Serbia. I will be going the second half of May, and I can’t wait! I am 100% Serbian; both of my parents are Serbian, as are their parents, and so on. This will be my first time visiting the country, and I am extremely excited to see the country of my ancestors. I am going with my parents and my sister, and we will be travelling all around the country over the span of the trip!

The other trips I have planned for the summer are relatively small in comparison. I will be staying mostly in Athens but will be taking many trips back home to Pittsburgh to visit family and friends. I am also planning a trip back to Nashville with my friend (and former ambassador) Jane! The picture below is from when we went last summer, and both would really like to go back again! My remaining time in Athens this summer will be spent doing research and moving towards my master’s degree! Overall, I am excited for a fun summer.



Sarah Bailey

Sarah Bailey,
Junior, Aviation

Athens, OH 17 March 2019

Last summer I was able to go to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the annual EAA Airventure Fly-In Convention. It is the world’s largest fly-in and for that week the Wittman Regional Airport becomes the busiest airport in the world.

There is something there for people interested in all branches of aviation, including military aircraft, seaplanes, amphibious planes, vintage aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial systems, and more. The event featured hundreds of exhibitions with everything from repurposed airplane parts to building your own engine. There were air shows several times a day and hundreds of airplanes to look at on the ground.

While I was there I volunteered with the Seaplane Pilots Association, a nonprofit organization that protects, promotes, and advocates for seaplane aviation. I have always been very interested in seaplanes. When I turned fifteen I got a seaplane ride for my birthday, and it is actually what inspired me to pursue a career in aviation.

Volunteering with the SPA was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the history of seaplane flying and to meet people in that community. I was also fortunate enough to win a scholarship to get my seaplane rating at Kenmore Air in Seattle, Washington! Becoming a seaplane pilot has been a dream of mine for years now so I’m very excited to do that at the end of spring semester.

“Moving” to Texas

Veronica Ammer

Veronica Ammer,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 10 March 2019

When I left my home state of Pennsylvania and went off to college, I made my parents “empty-nesters.” It was tough in the beginning. My first semester, I cried when my parents dropped me off and again when the they left after a weekend visit halfway through the semester.

When I finally went home for the first time for Thanksgiving, I was so relieved to see that home had stayed the same. We had the same orange couch with the down feathers and the Pittsburgh Penguins playing on the television. I thought that while college was a new experience and I was growing into a new person, home would always be home: constant and unchanging. This has not been the case.

Looking back, it seems silly that I expected life in Pennsylvania wouldn’t move on without me. Amid all the changes, the biggest has been my parents’ relocation to Texas. This spring break, instead of returning to the familiar, I got to adventure to the unknown.

Dallas, Texas

When I landed in Dallas, my parents knew they would need to feed and water their daughter. I expected them to take me to a burger joint or maybe a steakhouse, because, well, it’s Texas. I was pleasantly surprised, albeit a little confused, when they took me to get sushi instead.


At this restaurant, the sushi passed by our table on a conveyor belt. I was entirely too amused and ate far too much.



After dinner, we went to a Japanese supermarket featuring Hello Kitty udon and some tasty free samples. Visiting Texas astonishingly came with a brief tour of Japan.

Afterwards, we went to my parents’ new apartment where we watched the Penguins at Bluejackets game. Overall, my first day in Texas was well spent and I am looking forward to some more new adventures this spring break. Go Pens!

Spring Break is Coming

Melissa Kuchta

Melissa Kuchta,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 3 March 2019

Spring is finally almost approaching! I can’t believe how fast this semester is flying by. This time of year is one of my favorites and I bet you can guess why. We have spring break of course! I love hearing about everyone’s spring break traditions and thought I would share a little bit about my own.

Every year since I was a senior in high school, I have gone to Fort Myers, Florida to visit my boyfriend’s grandfather. Because he lives so far away, it is a real treat to get to see him this time every year. It’s also great that we know someone who lives in such a warm place, as we are able to go to the beach, the pool, and the outlet malls in March—a month that is typically still freezing here in Athens. We also save money because we don’t have to book a hotel or beach house!

There are so many fun activities to do in the southwest Florida area. Last year, we got the chance to take a riverboat tour of a section of the Everglades. It was so amazing to see the different wildlife—including jaguars, crocodiles, and dolphins!

I am looking forward to heading back to one of my favorite vacation spots in one short week, and to see what new adventures this year will bring. Hopefully we don’t miss our departure flight this year, as it is at 6:00 in the morning.. I’m sure the excitement of vacation will guarantee my getting out of bed at 4:00 am.

I hope everyone has a great spring break—whether you are going on a vacation or just relaxing at home.

Grad School at Johns Hopkins

Quinn Mitchell

Quinn Mitchell,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 24 February 2019

Starting next year, I will be pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. I recently had the opportunity to visit my future school as well as the specific lab in which I will be working.

During my three-day stint in Baltimore, I explored the city and got to know my future advisor and labmates. While I was there, many of the other students considering Johns Hopkins were also visiting; this gave me the chance to meet many of the students with whom I’ll share much of my graduate school experience.

In addition to seeing the city and meeting my future classmates, I was able to discuss my future research with my advisor, Professor Tamer Zaki. This research is an extension of the work I have done at Ohio University with Dr. Sarah Hormozi. I was extremely fortunate to have worked with Dr. Hormozi, who has helped me develop as an engineer and researcher.

The final detail of the trip, which is perhaps more important than anything else I’ve mentioned, is the plentiful and delicious food! The other students and I ate at a handful of Indian restaurants and took advantage of Baltimore’s abundance of crab cakes. This type of culinary exploration is a necessary part of visiting any city.

Practicing Meditation

Lydia Seiter

Lydia Seiter,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 14 February 2019

This semester, I returned from a year away from Ohio University which I spent interning and studying abroad. During that year away, I learned so many things about myself and the world around me, and I have been attempting to incorporate some of those learnings into my daily life here in Athens.

One of these learnings is meditation. While studying abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I had the remarkable opportunity to participate in a 4-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat at Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, a 700-year old Buddhist temple.

Vipassana, or insight meditation, is the practice of continued close attention to sensation, through which one ultimately sees the true nature of existence. It is believed to be the form of meditation practice taught by the Buddha himself.

The daily schedule was as follows:

  • 5 am: Wake up

  • 5:30 am: Dharma Talk, which was an inspirational speech from our teacher monk

  • 7 am: breakfast

  • 8 am: morning meditation

  • 11 am: lunch

  • 12 pm: afternoon meditation

  • 1:30 pm: meditation report to teacher. I would report on my progress to the teacher monk, and he gave me new challenges and assignments, such as increasing the duration of each meditation session

  • 2 pm: more afternoon meditation

  • 6 pm: evening chanting. This practice involved reading devotions to Buddha in the ancient language of Pali

  • 7 pm: evening meditation

  • 9 pm: bedtime

Along with the strict schedule, there were many rules: wear all white, no speaking, no eating after 12 pm, no use of electronic devices, no reading, no writing, and no yoga or exercise. These rules were in place to limit our distractions and external stimuli, so that we could maximize our mindfulness. The hardest rule to follow was not eating dinner—I got extremely hungry fasting for 19 hours!

Though undertaking this experience seemed daunting to me at first, it was an incredible 4 days. It was surprisingly easy for me to remain silent at all times, because I enjoyed the chance to look inwards in a way I’m not able to in daily life. I enjoyed the practice of walking meditation more than sitting meditation—I found it easier to be mindful and not become distracted in this position.

The silent meditations were absolutely an exercise in self-discipline and endurance of suffering, such as when my legs would get tired or sore from sitting still. But our teacher monk advised us to focus on the suffering or distraction for 3 seconds, and then come back to meditation. I loved this tactic; I wasn’t ignoring the distraction or dwelling on it, I was simply acknowledging it and then letting it drift away.

The best thing about meditation is that it can be done anywhere. I don’t have to be with monks in a temple to focus on my breathing and calm my mind. It can be done in moments between classes, as a study break, a way to start my day in the morning, or a way to relax before I fall asleep. It’s important to make time for the things that make you feel good!

Customs of the Netherlands

Illona Hartman

Illona Hartman,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 27 January 2019

Over winter break, my boyfriend—born and raised in Ohio—and I traveled down to The Netherlands, my home country. During this busy, but fun trip I realized once more that two Western countries can still have a lot of differences.

When I first traveled to America about 3.5 years ago, my first experience was based on a 7-hour layover in a “fish bowl” a-like airport in Newark. Then a quick stop at MacDonald’s in Athens for my “late dinner” before passing out on a couch at my former teammates’ apartment while my body clock told me it was past 4 am. Ever since that day, I have experienced many other, foreign situations and differences in the Dutch and American culture:

  1. The Dutch love their cheese and eat it with a flat cheese slicer.

  2. The Dutch can eat bread for every meal, especially with “Calve Pindakaas” (peanut butter) and “Hagelslag” (chocolate sprinkles).

  3. In The Netherlands everyone bikes to school or work, even in winter when it is freezing outside and/or snowing.

  4. The Dutch LOVE black licorice candy, especially the salty kinds and in the shape of a Dutch herring.

  5. A typical dinner in a Dutch restaurant takes at least 2 hours and it is normal for the waitress/waiter to not introduce oneself and the customers may see at least 3 different faces to serve them over the span of the evening.

  6. Ohio is five times the size of my country, while The Netherlands houses twice the population of Ohio.

  7. It takes you 5 hours to drive from Athens to Michigan, while in The Netherlands you would have crossed Belgium to reach Paris, France, in the same amount of time.

  8. Americans normally get a driver’s license around 16 or 17, in The Netherlands the average age to start driving a car is 22.

  9. In America it is not common to go to graduate school (right) after an undergraduate degree, in The Netherlands it is basically required to get a master’s degree after a bachelor’s due to a leveled education system.

  10. The Dutch McDonald’s is much better and more modern even though it was first established in America. Especially the Dutch milkshakes are yum!

Even after this trip with my boyfriend and pointing out those differences once again, I still equally love my 2 home countries and I am excited to get the best of both cultures while studying at Ohio University.