Neptune – Sophie Burgess

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This summer I attended EASA Denmark. EASA, the European Architecture Students Assembly, is the largest network of architecture students in Europe and this year the workshops and events accommodated around 600 students from 200 different architecture schools. Every year since 1981 this event has been held in different locations around Europe, incorporating lectures, workshops and networking.

For my time in the town of Fredericia, I attended the workshop called Neptune. This workshop aimed to provide the fishermen in the harbour with a place to prepare and cook the fish they had freshly caught. The diverse fishing community, although at first seeming antisocial, gradually welcomed us and by the end of our time there we exchanged warm goodbyes. As well as building for the fishermen we became part of the community by fishing every day, managing to catch mackerel and garfish.

The workshop culminated in a day of cooking fish and sharing it with other EASA participants and the fishing community.  The structure is left standing and the hope is fishermen will continue to use it to cook their catch. Our workshop developed many of our skills including construction, woodwork, welding, fishing, cooking, talking, laughing and dancing. We hope EASA’s international community has left its mark in the wonderful town of Fredericia and that our work will benefit the local community.

ISLS in Albuquerque, New Mexico

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My adventure started in Edinburgh when I took my first connection flight to New-York City ! I had a really long journey ahead of me ! Thank God, I did not experience any delays or cancellations, and that’s true for the three connections I had to take: EDI – NY, NY – Houston (Texas) and Houston – Albuquerque (NM).

On the last flight, I even met two wonderful families, whose children were approximately the same age as me. They gave me their contact details and helped me find my way, once arrived in Albuquerque ! … Such wonderful people ! I could not have wished for a better welcome !

On the way to my hotel, the Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn, I had the chance to experience an amazing sunset ! It was truly incredible and so beautiful ! I was blessed.

Once all settled, I wandered around and visited Albuquerque. The weather was amazing ! There were 40°C, so hot ! The cars, the streets, the shops, the buildings and architecture seemed so different there. Everything was huge; I knew I was in the States ! haha

Then I attended the conference I was here for, organised by the International Society of Language Studies. I have been really impressed by all the presentations I had the chance to attend. The linguistic issues, which were addressed, were not the usual topics you would find in a university based program. In other words, if I had to describe the conference in one word, I would definitely say: marginal. However, positively marginal ! I met fantastic people there, coming from all over the world and from completely different backgrounds, and having different areas of interests in regards to the linguistic field. The conference was hosted at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, a great venue.

In my free time, I met several times with the new friends I had made on the plane, Costa Logothetis and Maddy Lowry. With Maddy I had the chance to take a trip on the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway, which transported us above deep canyons and breathtaking terrain. Have seen some of nature’s more dramatic beauty unfold before us, was an incredible and unforgettable experience. Up there, the panoramic view of the Rio Grande Valley was just stunning !
Costa took me to a really nice restaurant, as well as ice-cream shop. He also showed me the University of New Mexico, based in Albuquerque; we went to his campus and fraternity. It was so funny to see one of his mates bathing in a children’ size pool in front of the fraternity house ! haha

On top of all this, I made the most of my time there and jumped on the opportunity of going to a country music concert of Tim McGraw ! I really enjoyed his song I like it, I love it.  I was also invited at a BBQ and got to know a lot of new faces and great personalities.

Overall, I really had an amazing time and this would not have been possible without the great help I got from the Principal’s Go Abroad Fund‘s team. This gives me the opportunity to thank you all for your incredible support.

On the way back, I unfortunately didn’t get so lucky with my connection flights ! In New-York, we took off and traveled a good distance already, but just before crossing the Ocean Atlantic, the pilot told us we had to head back to NYC airport. Then back in NY, I realised that we were actually really lucky, as we were still alive ! I hadn’t seen so many police cars and fire-brigades in my entire life. It turned out, that the engine did not function properly, and that there was a leak in the hydraulic system of the plane. But anyways, after a good night sleep arranged by the airline, we went back on our journey and arrived safely in Edinburgh. This gave me another opportunity to meet great people and taught me a lesson: life often hangs by a thin thread, thus we should make the most of it ! Carpe Diem to you all ! 

P.S.: in the video, I of course meant “wandering around”, sorry for the spelling mistake! 😉

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