This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program blogged their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty in Talloires, France. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France.
By Hernan Gallegos
Ready to step off the mountain
“Trois… Deux… Un… Allez!”
Not even three steps into my walk, I realized I wasn’t walking anymore – I was gliding. Suspended only by a parachute, I did what others always say not to do: I looked down. I could see the trees, Lake Annecy, Talloires, the city of Annecy, and even my own home! While my guide was concentrating on the air currents, I had time to reflect on my experiences.
I have analyzed several things throughout my time in France. Through my courses, excursions, and the many people in the program, I realized there was no way for me to use my engineering mind. Personally, I’m glad that this program enforced more of a liberal arts mentality. In the long run, this mentality affected me big time.
As I felt motion sickness from the air currents, I dwelled on the events that arose from this program. Some were enjoyable, while others were questionable. However, I don’t regret being involved in the program. It showed me the world we actually live in and that I know what I can be working towards as an engineer. Being suspended in the air reinforced my passion to become an aerospace engineer, but with a twist.
As I landed on my butt, I thought, “What if I wasn’t exposed to these experiences in Talloires? Would I be the same?” I realized that I wouldn’t. This exposure showed me that as an engineer, I should still remember the humanities as well, or else things will go corrupt within my mind. This entire experience further emphasizes a quote that I strongly believe and that others should understand as well:
“Engineering without humanities is insanity.”
P.S. I’m very glad to have traveled with my fellow BESTie, Michelle Chan!
Hernan Gallegos is a rising sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in mechanical engineering.