Let’s Go On A (Up)Date

Bonjour, mes amis!

The past week has been packed, and this week will be too, so I wanted to give you all an update on what’s been going on.


I’m taking three classes and a seminar while here: Basic Statistical Methods (ISYE), Data Input and Manipulation (CS), International Business (MGT), and Introduction to Europe. The first two are required by my major, the third will satisfy a “global perspectives” requirement, and the last is a required class for this study abroad program.

Last week was the end of class for International Business, which included a final project and group presentation. The assignment was to take two given countries (my group’s were Singapore and Israel) and analyze them both in terms of attractiveness for market entry as a handheld communications firm. Our “company” made pagers for hospital staff and ended up “entering” Singapore. We researched factors that we had learned about in the class and compared the two countries in both a formal outline and our final presentation, which we gave last Wednesday.  And man, am I glad to be done!

Well, kind of done. Our final exam for the class is this Wednesday, and Jordan and I started studying on the trains to and from Brussels this past weekend.

In the computer science class, we just took our third exam (out of five). Not to brag, but I’ve gotten perfect scores on the two most recent tests! We are learning some pretty cool stuff in that class. We just worked with Graphic User Interfaces (aka “GUIs” – pronounced “gooeys”), which are the basis for video games and pretty web pages that allow the user to interact with the site. I used that knowledge (and coded some artificial intelligence!) to make a tic tac toe game for one of the home works.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 3.11.50 PM

I accidentally made the AI too smart, though, because I couldn’t beat the game for a while.  But we tied it up with a field goal and won in overtime (;

After GUIs, we moved on to web scraping, which is how hackers can steal your email address and other information from websites and then spam you. Watch out! Just kidding, we use it to pull the current temperature from weather.com and stuff like that. Nothing illegal to see here…

We’re working on a take-home test in my ISYE class, one that the teacher said should only take us “about seven hours.” Awesome. We also have a regression modeling project due Thursday that he hasn’t even assigned yet. Stay tuned for how that turns out. Jordan and I started working on the test at a café in Brussels today, giving a literal meaning to “study abroad.”

Not School

Since my MGT course is over now, I’m only in class for two hours each day. I have so much free time, and though I do use a lot of it to watch Netflix (I finished all three seasons of Suits already), I’m using some of it productively!

I’m learning to cook, trial-by-fire style (pun intended). The cafeteria stopped serving dinner midway through June, so Jordan has been helping me figure out how to feed myself. We basically have the world’s smallest, worst equipped kitchen, but we make it work. I cook chicken every night, and then some sort of vegetable (usually either peppers, cucumber, and tomatoes or canned green beans, which are Jordan and I’s favorite), and pasta. And I’ve only set off the fire alarm twice!

Side note: they really do not take fire safety seriously in France. In fact, doors can lock from the outside and if you don’t have a key you can’t escape, which seems pretty dangerous. Plus, when the fire alarm goes off, nothing actually happens. It’s just really loud for a few minutes and then stops. Which is less embarrassing for me but also a little worrisome.

I’m also teaching myself how to use Photoshop. I signed up for the 30-day free trial, and then I fully intend on mooching off of Tim’s software once I get home and it’s expired. I first learned how to create a watercolor effect, and then I learned how to make glitter! Here’s some of the stuff I’ve created.

You Are Here.
You Are Here.
Combining my watercolor and glitter talents.
Combining my watercolor and glitter talents.
Possible custom planner cover.
Possible custom planner cover.

I’m Out of Topics… Let’s Talk About the Weather

IT’S STILL SO HOT. The heat wave is almost over, but it’s been brutal. Check out the weather forecast I screenshotted last Thursday:

This was taken at 10:17 AM.
This was taken at 10:17 AM.

There’s no AC in our dorm, or in the common study area at GTL, or in most restaurants and stores and things all over Europe. They also don’t believe in ice. I’ve sweated so much that I’ve lost weight. Which would be cool if (a) I was trying to lose weight and/ or (b) the dehydration it causes combined with all the walking I do while traveling didn’t have me waking up with Charlie horses in my calves all the time.

Luckily, it should cool down by the middle of this week, and I can go back to my normal, less smelly self.

That’s all I have for you today. I’ll post about this weekend soon. As always, thank you for reading! I love love love writing this blog and I’m so glad you guys want to hear what I have to say. Or that you listen anyway.



2 thoughts on “Let’s Go On A (Up)Date

  1. I miss you so I have decided when you get home I am going to come and see the fam. I just LOVE reading your posts.


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