GPP day 2 – Impressions of Zurich

Zurich is the first cty outside the United States that I have travelled to and I have to say I don’t think I could have picked a better place. The historical architecture and cobbled streets have been wonderful to tour around. My initial impressions are that Zurich is both quiet and clean for a city of its stature. The Swiss people are kind, multi-lingual, and abruptly direct. It is obvious that there is great wealth in the city but the Swiss people carry it with almost a certain nonchalance; as if every country has BMWs and Audis cruising along every street. However, the best part of the trip so far has been the people and the conversations. The GPP cohort has been touring the city together and discussing everything from higher education to politics to future career goals. The conversations have been intellectual and personal. They have been the best part of the trip for me so far because it is something I feel my graduate education has lacked. Having people challenge me intellectually on something outside of structural engineering is rare in my day to day life in Blacksburg. It has been refreshing and inspiring to be around such a multi-disciplinary group that all want the same thing; to drastically change higher education for the better. The group has a way of seeing the bigger picture outside of everyone’s specific discipline. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 days have in store for us, but if the first 2 are any indication this will be a truly life-altering experience.

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