What I got up to this summer
Quick writer’s profile:
Name: Aris Kapsanakis
Degree: Civil and Energy Engineering (4th year)
Summer highs: Going all the way to Paris (by coach!) to compete in a football tournament with the College of EPS; first, British, work experience; finally trying haggis (from its assumed motherland); and a lot of table tennis!
Summer lows: Living next to the Highlands for more than 2 months and never actually visiting them and spending almost no time at the beach.
This quite interesting summer started very well! Paris is quite the place (I actually went back for 5 days two weeks ago!) and I would recommend it to everyone. Oh, and please, pretty please, buy bread and other, bread-related stuff every morning! So, so good! Not just tasty; delicious!
Funnily enough, I found out about the event that initially lead me there from a friend on Facebook, although I had received an e-mail about it a month before as I later realised. The event is called the ‘World, Academic, Sports Challenge’ or ‘Challenge du Monde des Grandes Ecoles et Universités’ as the neighbours in the south call it. It’s basically an event where students of the respective colleges of Engineering and Physical Sciences of France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine compete against each other in sporting events and do some networking with big companies, including…*drum roll*…Disney! The little boy inside me felt so happy when I saw their banner! The sporting events were quite impressive with the French students showing great, football skills and triumphantly winning the tournament (I sense a feeling of indignation springing up as this is read).
Following the Parisian adventure, came a long-awaited-for, summer, work experience. Aberdeen is not exactly the ideal, summer destination, especially when you’ve spent the first 18 years of your life in Greece (oh, warm and sunny Greece, how I’ve missed your treasures!). Nevertheless, I was greeted at lovely Deen by a surprisingly pleasant summer (the best in 6-7 years as locals told me) with temperatures reaching up to 27-28 degrees. Boiling!
The work itself was a very nice and educational experience, the benefits of which I am not going to bore you with (Rachel, our Special Features Editor, is on it already with her series of articles on work experience!). My first and last point on this topic is that you should never underestimate the importance and impact a work experience can have on your development.
Back to Aberdeen now, as I found out when I went up there, it is one of the cradles of a number of delicacies: from the very, very, very buttery, but orgasmically-tasty-when-fresh, ‘butteries’ and the lovely ‘Cullen skink’ to more unconventional tastes, such as Scottish-style, black pudding (or blood pudding or blood sausage; I think you’ve realised what it is by now) and the local-favourite, deep-fried, Mars bar. Yes, that’s right; Deep-Fried Mars Bar!
Following the end of the placement, I took a small, 2-week break at Thessaloniki -the lovely city in the north of Greece, where I live. All you international students that only visit home once a year, in the summer, probably can appreciate the whole depth of what I mean when I say that the feeling when you get back home and you spot all these small changes around -from people to new shops and restaurants to new roads- that seem extremely big in your eyes is amazing; you can easily spend the first week back home going around and trying to see what’s changed in the past year! And I live in a small city! So, one week down, one to go, what did I do there? Well, aside avoiding getting stepped over by cars passing by (in Greece the traffic current moves on the right -in every sense- side of the road) and non-stop-eating everything I had so dearly missed before, table tennis definitely was an occurrence of unexpected frequency.
To conclude, the last of my undergraduate summers was a combination of moments of great activity and moments of intense sloth, but…oh, well…I loved both of them!