Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hello! Bonjour!

June 13, 2012

Hello, my name is Wei Jie. I’m an international undergraduate student from Malaysia majoring in Microbiology under the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences in Rutgers.

This summer, I will be heading to France to participate in the Microbiology and Culture in Cheese and Wine program! I first heard of the program during the Fall semester of my junior year from a person who once went on the program. He called it “the best course in Rutgers ever”. This program definitely has all the words that sit well with me: microbiology, culture, cheese, wine, France. I often imagine myself going on the course, thinking that I would never have the chance to do so as I could never afford it. Until I heard about the SEBS Summer Scholarship…

As I planned my itinerary, I realized that a flight into UK is way cheaper than a flight into France. Luck has it that I have a couple of friends staying in the UK. My travel instinct took charge, and so I’m heading to Britain a few days before France.

With due honesty, I actually dislike the process of traveling. Lethargy is a feeling I try to avoid. But still, trading comfort for the opportunity to experience new things, new sights, and new tastes ultimately doesn’t sound so bad. At least I’d have more conversation topics with acquaintances and lot of stories reserved for my grandchildren (if I have any).

UK and France will be the fifth and sixth country respectively that I would add into my travels. I’ve previously been to Malaysia, Singapore, China, and the USA. This would also mean that I’ll be stepping in European soil for the first time. Well, maybe not exactly the first time since I’ve transited in London-Heathrow Airport on my way to the United States for the first time, but transits don’t really count right? I’m looking forward to see how European countries compare with the United States. Also, I’m looking forward to view some landmarks (images of Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, Lourve Museum, Buckingham Palace, and Stonehenge flash across my mind). Then there’s food (dying to try escargots out), history, and culture.

Equally on top of my list is to explore Microbiology in a whole new different way. As a proud Microbiologist, I am really interested to explore Microbiology in many different ways. I’ve taken classes on microbial ecology, biochemistry, applied microbiology, and virology. For each different aspect of Microbiology that I take, I find myself loving the subject more and more. Through this course in France, I am really looking forward to learn how the development of Microbiology has been influenced by culture, and to view and experience how microbiology is involved in our daily lives.

As I write this post, I am actually on flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to London Heathrow Airport with Louisa (another fellow traveler, friend, housemate, SEBS Scholarship recipient, and program participant). Preparations for this trip has been very-very interesting, but that’s another story to share for another time. :D

P/s: I’ve actually circled the world once. From Malaysia, I took a flight to the United States westward, transiting in London. Last summer, I took a flight from the United States westward back to Malaysia, transiting in Hong Kong. That’s one circle around the world!

Written on:
11:00pm EST, 6/13/2012

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