Tufts in Talloires: A word of support offered by watermelon and ice cream

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program are blogging 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 Michelle Chan

BEST4_MichelleAbout once a week, a certain ice cream shop in Annecy has been emptying out my wallet, five euros at a time, in exchange for three scoops of cold bliss. I have yet to try all 58 flavors, but my favorite one so far is lychee. It tastes almost like biting into the white flesh of the fruit itself.

Mentally, I keep a full list of justifications for this new spending habit, but the most satisfying one is that my mom wants me to treat myself well while I’m in France. Remembering times of greater financial difficulty, every unnecessary purchase was accompanied by guilt. Now, each bite of ice cream is a personal victory for allowing myself a simple luxury. Since college, I am thankful that my worries revolve around academics more than my basic needs.

Currently, I feel nervous about starting my first paper in college for my Global Health Crises class. My entire freshman year, I somehow managed to avoid writing a single paper. The majority of my work consisted of projects and problem sets, to which I became fairly accustomed. However, I always believed writing to be an important skill for engineers to express ourselves. The material in this class reinforces this belief through assigned readings of epidemiological studies. Words communicate methods and results, laying groundwork for the contribution of others. By writing this ten-pager, I hope to improve my ability to produce words that achieve a purpose.

I also want to share one peculiar custom I learned from my host family. We get to make a wish for eating our first watermelon of the season. Even from France, my thoughts keep returning to the queer people of color who were victims in the Orlando shooting this weekend.  For all those affected, I wish they find healing and peace.

Michelle Chan is a rising sophomore from Eugene, Oregon, majoring in computer engineering.

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