Dartmouth College – Vivek Arte
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Vivek Arte is a 3rd year Undergraduate pursuing a Dual Degree in Electrical Engineering
Hi! I’m Vivek Arte, and this is my experience as a summer intern at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College.
Dartmouth is located in the town of Hanover, New Hampshire in the USA. There is an excellent bus service between Hanover and Boston (about 200km away), which is why the easiest way to get to Dartmouth is via Boston. It is worth noting that temperatures can be pretty low at the start of May, but it settles down to pleasant weather soon enough. I have been told multiple times, by multiple people, that the months of May and June are the best times to visit the area, and I have no reason to disagree with them!
Hanover is a quaint little town on the banks of the Connecticut River, which has frequently found mention in lists of the best places to live in the USA. The lack of any high-rises, and the Georgian style of architecture inherent in the buildings around here gives you a sense of having travelled back in time.
Dartmouth College is not a walled campus, and it’s many buildings are spread over a significant area of the town. The buildings have all the modern amenities you would need, while simultaneously maintaining their old-world charm. The library building, with its clock tower is particularly impressive.
The town is small enough that getting around on foot or with a bike is no issue. However, there are Advanced Transit buses which are completely free, and which run to various neighbouring towns in the area, which may have more shopping options than Hanover, depending on what you’d like to buy. It is worth noting though that the bus service runs only until about 6:30 in the evening, and does not run on weekends.
The people around here are very friendly, polite, and helpful. As in most places in America, vehicles will yield to pedestrians at crossings.
Travel – A Scenic Paradise
The Upper Valley region is pretty much Heaven for nature lovers. There are a great many trails which take you through the woods surrounding the town. Exploring these trails and taking in the beauty was a pretty fun way to spend free time!
It is worth noting that the Appalachian Trail, which is a famously long hiking trail (approx. 3,500 km long) runs through Hanover. There is also no shortage of trekking sites in the Appalachian, for when you decide to give your body a complete workout. If you can secure a partner-in-crime with a car, Mount Moosilauke and Mount Washington make for some scenic hikes. If not, the Dartmouth Outing Club also holds hikes to these (and other!) places from time to time.
Besides the trails through the woods, you can walk along the Connecticut River (which makes for some pretty awesome sunset pictures!). It is also possible to rent a kayak and go kayaking on the river. The state of New Hampshire has close to 1000 lakes and water bodies, which might make for some lovely picnic spots.
Dartmouth is about a three-hour bus ride from Boston, and about six hours from New York City. Exploring these cities over weekends also comes highly recommended, especially if you’d like a more urban setting.
Food is one area I really didn’t need to worry about. Vegetarian options are aplenty, and the lack of a language barrier made it super simple to either read the ingredients, or ask whether it contained anything you wouldn’t prefer.
The American fare however does tend to be noticeably cheesy and greasy, and, especially for an Indian palate, bland. There are Indian restaurants in the area too, but their preparations are noticeably milder than what we are used to. There are also three Thai restaurants in this very town.
There are also plenty of opportunities to get free food! All you have to do is keep your eyes and ears open. There also are a number of parties, concerts, and BBQs held in this period. It is summer, after all!!
Accommodation could end up being a bit of a sticky wicket. Various state taxes and rules have kept housing prices in Hanover pretty high. Plus, the fact that the semester here ends in June makes it harder to find accommodation in the month of May. I would recommend beginning the search for a place as soon as possible.
My project dealt with analysing data about airline schedules, and developing a model to predict the changes in the scheduling done by airlines due to the introduction/removal of certain capacity constraints. It involved both reading up on new material, as well as implementing it in code. Seeing the practical applications this work would have was really exciting!
As might be the case with a lot of University Interns, I had no fixed times for having to report in at work. If I wanted, I could work completely from home too. The only important thing was making progress in the work. As regards the workload, while there was never a lack of work to do, there was plenty of time for socialising with people, playing sports, and exploring the place (unless there were deadlines bearing down on you).
I have to say that a University Intern is a great way of exploring interesting new fields of research while simultaneously widening your horizons by making new friends, living in a new place, and experiencing their way of life.