Saturday knocks on the door quite early for some of our peers, telling us to leave for the old world once again. Departure means the group is being split apart after two weeks of intense – day and night – closeness for flight booking has been managed beforehand by the students themselves. Most of us have to find their way through the subway stations of DC to get to the airport, while others relocate to a different hotel for a prolonged stay. The flights tend to make their way to Europe via the Big Apple giving us one last opportunity for indelible memories and snapshots.
But these last impressions cannot hold a candle to the near incomprehensible experiences of the last two weeks. Our perfectly fine-tuned schedule has allowed us to witness some of the most well-known landmarks of western civilization while simultaneously giving us the once in a lifetime chance to attend an unmatched variety of classes at the Old Dominion University. Unforgotten are the people we have met and who have welcomed us without hesitation in their midst.
Being this close for two weeks has made us grow together as a group, leading to new and refreshed friendships. We thank all the people we have met on our incredibly tense journey along the East Coast, with a special thanks belonging to our contacts in the US who have opened their doors for us:
- Jatinter Kaur, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority
- Afroze Mohammed, Virginia Tech Research Center
- Marty Kaszubowski, Strome Entrepreneurial Center
- Bruce Seifert and Ling Li, Strome College of Business
- Kerstin Steitz, Assistant Professor for World Languages & Cultures
- Helmut Baumgart and Charles Reece, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Laboratory
And last but not least the two people who labored day and night to make this trip across the globe possible in the first place:
VAST19 has been a success. VAST20, good luck beating this experience. You will need it.