Writing and a Zurich Journey

Another week of “fun” and long lab reports and an interesting trip to Zurich. I worked on a group lab report with my classmates involving the lab I mentioned in my earlier blog post titled “Exploration Beyond the Bubble”. Writing this report was an extremely time consuming process. I worked with two other classmates on Tuesday, 24APR18, before my Heat Transfer class at 1530 to start the report. I started to write a little bit of the introduction and my group members worked on some of the calculations. On Wednesday, 25APR18, I met with my group members and we worked on the report for several hours. I also had an interesting experience from hearing a critique of my writing skills. One of my group members disapproved of my frequently used direct quotations from the lab protocol in the introduction section of the lab report. They stated that it was disrespectful to constantly use these quotations instead of writing my own thoughts in this report. I disagreed with my reasoning that I don’t have direct knowledge of certain scientific facts so it was important for me to cite who I was receiving them from rather than paraphrase their thoughts. Nevertheless, I eventually realized that some paraphrasing of the original texts was necessary or else the report would be boring to read especially if it was only someone else’s thoughts. I have always done this in the past since no one has openly criticized me for it and it has helped me do well on reports. As they helped me reformat the introduction I had written, I continued to write the other parts of the report. Unfortunately, we could not finish that day so we continued the report onto the next day.

The next day, we spent a total of ten painful hours trying to finish this report. We eventually spent our last hour attempting to determine a formula for calculating the sedimentation velocity of a particle but someone figured it out. Overall, it took nearly twenty hours to complete this report so I am not looking forward to the weekly lab reports we have to complete. However, my team is hardworking and capable of finishing our reports on time so I am not too worried about the future.

Besides classes,the most exciting part of my week was spending the weekend in Zurich, Switzerland. I booked this trip with my three other friends earlier in the term because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do in the weeks later. During the day of the trip, we traveled to Bochum Hauptbanhof where we would take a European bus, Flixbus, to Zurich. This was a painful mistake since it would take us nearly 11 hours to arrive to Switzerland. The bus also had no outlets or WIFI which meant that we would have to completely rely on our English and ancient navigation skills without the internet. Additionally, I overpacked so my bookbag was in front of me as my legs were cramped behind them. I also sat next to a tall person so that meant I was placed in an even more uncomfortable position.

When we finally arrived at 0750, I was exhausted. I tried sleeping on the bus but I repeatedly kept waking up. Nevertheless, we continued to a Starbucks and bought some coffee over there. Afterwards, we continued walking through the area and into the Old City part of Zurich where we ate at a small breakfast place with a name I cannot remember. I ate some bread, jam, and honey which was a bit dry but that helped fill me up. Unfortunately, it seems that everything is five times more expensive in Switzerland so I kept having to spend more than 20 Swiss Francs on a meal (they use Francs in Switzerland but the majority of places seemed to also accept Euros). Interestingly, these prices may reflect the fact that Zurich is the wealthiest city in Europe per capita so people have no issue with affording these prices.

Afterwards, we continued to explore part of the city and walked to a cathedral, the Grossmünster, where we traveled all the way to the top (Figure 1 shows a photo on top of this cathedral). At the top, we saw an amazing view of the city that extended for miles onward. It also helped me reflect on the large size of the world and how everyone continues moving forward even if some issue is affecting some place somewhere.


Figure 1: A day is too short to explore Zurich as the photo clearly shows.

Later in the day, we ate at a busy restaurant where I purchased curry beef and rice for my meal. Although the food tasted great, it was not worth the 25 Francs I spent for it. I would have loved some vegetables with my meal but it seems that Europe has many meat eaters so there isn’t too much of a focus on including these vegetables in restaurant meals.


Additionally, I enjoyed the boat ride (Figure 2 depicts our boat ride) we took of Lake Zurich for an hour and a half. We were relaxing in the great weather and reflecting on our complaints and experiences. Later in the night, we went on a Ferris wheel (Figure 3 shows the view from the Ferris wheel) and enjoyed another great overview of the city.


Figure 2: I’m on a boat.


Figure 3: Zurich, the orange city ahead.

We also stayed at a hostel (Figure 4 shows a photo inside it) called Linda’s Beautyworld. She apparently owns several hostels and has a bar and restaurant in Zurich which is quite nice. Unfortunately, the hostel wasn’t as nice as I thought it would be; this was also my first time using a hostel. It was a cramped room with three bunk beds, a small kitchen on the side, and a small bathroom on the other corner. However, it was relatively clean which made it acceptable to use.


Figure 4: The hostel room was somewhat larger than two college dorm rooms combined together.

When we awoke the next day, I annoyingly set several alarms after 7 am and completely disregarded my roommates. They were understandably annoyed when I should have simply just set one alarm so that I could wake up on time. Nevertheless, we checked out of the hostel and continued to tour the Lake Zurich shore front (Figure 5 shows our travel around this shore front). There were many ice cream shops and restaurants along this shore front but the beautiful weather and peaceful animals like ducks made our experience much more enjoyable.


Figure 5: Lake Zurich shore front with the Alps in the far distance.

For lunch, we ate at an Italian restaurant. I ordered tuna pasta which was quite tasty but I kept messing up my twirling of the pasta and also kept slurping the pasta strings which people find repulsive. Of course, learning these social norms will take time but at least I am now more willing to understand they exist based on what actions people consider acceptable. Then, we continued to walk throughout the Old City area and returned to the shore front. Eventually, we settled on a large patch of grass for an hour until we had to leave to the airport. Here we were able to relax and enjoy the weather. Although my friends did not want to visit museums like I wanted to, I still enjoyed the relaxing nature of the trip and I am excited to travel to other European locations in the future. As we left on our Eurowings flight, I was glad to have traveled a little bit outside of my bubble and experience Swiss culture. I am looking forward to the other experiences I will have on my trip so I don’t only spend my time on my homework and classes. For any other interested students who want to go on a similar trip, please be sure to save money from your co-op or other jobs. Please also be conscious of your spending so you don’t have to worry if your bank account will be drained on a trip.




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