Friday, September 7, 2012

Exciting research plus travel adventures

Nicolas Barbera at Bruges Monastery
While the research I undertook at IMEC gave me valuable experience with imaging techniques and cellular science, the most rewarding part of my time abroad was the travel opportunity. Before my time at IMEC, I had never been to Europe. As you can guess, I tried to make the most of my ten weekends, visiting a different city each time, including Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Bruges, and Antwerp.

For me, each city was an adventure. The fun was not only in seeing all the different and amazing sights (of which there were a ton), but in learning to navigate and explore cities where the language spoken isn’t English. This was especially true for the food. Some of my fondest memories include finding an out-of-the-way burrito shop in Barcelona, a doner kebap shop on the streets of Berlin, and my first time ordering in a Belgian restaurant.

One thing that really struck me about Europe was the architecture. So many of the cities I visited had markets and streets with buildings dating back hundreds of years, something you don’t get to see in America. (The closest thing for me would be some of the older sections of New York City, but even those are relatively young by European standards.) Needless to say, a large portion of my photo album consists of the various facades and buildings I came across in my travels. This includes churches: I explored and photograph dozens of them all over, each one a work of art.

While the travel opportunities I had were my favorite part my time at IMEC, I can’t discount the research experience. Being able to work in a lab like IMEC was great for both building my lab skill set and acquainting me with a working culture different from the ones found in Hopkins labs, things that will come in handy after graduating.

All in all, I’d say my time abroad was a worthwhile experience for my personal life as well as my professional one.

Blog post by Nicolas Barbera

More photos follow!
Checkpoint Charlie

First steps in the Mediterranean

Entrance to la Sagrada Familia

Hopping the Berlin Wall

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