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The McDermott Scholars Award covers all expenses of a superb four-year academic education at The University of Texas at Dallas, in concert with a diverse array of intensive extracurricular experiences, including internships, travel, and cultural enrichment.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Meeting Bill Archer

The Bill Archer Fellowship Program was established by The University of Texas System in conjunction with Former U.S. Representative Bill Archer as a way to bring highly motivated and accomplished students to Washington, D.C. to participate in varied internships and take part in classes focusing on policy, economics, and persuasion. This semester, two McDermott Scholars -- Mary Makary and Sophie Rutenbar -- are Archer Fellows. You can read more about the Archer Fellowship Program here.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Visiting Cape Point

Contrary to popular belief, Cape Point is NOT the southernmost point in Africa and it is NOT where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic. It is, however, the most southwestern point in Africa and the location of the true Cape of Good Hope. We stopped at Hout Bay - a small fishing village - on the way.

We continued on and made it to the tip of the peninsula. While standing on the Cape of Good Hope I couldn't help but laugh at how ridiculous this was. Thinking back to elementary, middle, and then high school geography - every time I labeled the Cape of Good Hope on a map or did a matching exercise where this was the answer to a question, I never even fathomed that I would one day go there. And here I was. Outrageous. My life's been that way a lot, I think. I should just stop imagining what my future is going to be like because it never really turns out that way after all!

We made a few more stops on the way back after grabbing a bite to eat (swordfish is good!) including a visit to a beach overrun by miniature penguins. It was strange, but cool, to see penguins living on one of the warmest, most beautiful beaches I've ever seen. Hot sun beating down, naked kids splashing in the cool, clear water, and penguins chillin' on the rocks.

>> See Tim's blog

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Life in Vienna

This is a picture of me looking down on the long-lived Austrian mountain town, Murau. Filled with skiers in the winter, its local brewery is well known (and well loved) across most of Austria.

If asked on the street what they thought of Austria, nine Americans out of ten would conjure up images of Kangaroos or the Sound of Music. At best, public memory can recall that the country played some role in the first and second World Wars, if only as a matter of proximity. In spite of this, I came to the heart of Austria to study for the 2004 fall semester and I haven’t regretted a moment of it.

Life in Vienna is a fascinating mix of old and new. There’s something distinctly quaint about European life; everyone, it seems, walks a daily path that’s been traced for centuries into the past. In our world of plastic wrap and lunch to-go, many Europeans still go to daily food markets for vegetables, hang up every piece of wash, and travel by train more often than by car.

At the same time, this is still a very modern city. Many of the clothing styles are above and beyond the curve (compared to what you see in Dallas). You can find any number of chain restaurants and retail stores ranging from Hooters to McDonald’s. Ask any person on the street (though you may need German, Italian, French or Turkish to do so) a question about American politics or the policies of the EU and you will receive an energetic response.

Yes, Austria and Vienna have played an important role throughout history but they continue to play one today. Vienna remains one of Europe’s most prominent cultural centers, and you cannot help but find operas, symphonies, and musicals playing nightly across the city. The collections of art amassed under the discerning (and rich) hands of the Hapsburg rulers are worthy of any nation’s capital, and the long tradition of Vienna’s embroiled political significance continues to this day in the strong educational scene for aspiring international diplomats.

Life in Vienna has been very different for me; it’s given me a much more international outlook on the world and taught me much about history, in general. Living in a place that has played such a unique role in the historical development of a modern Europe encourages you so much to actually appreciate and learn the history. I’m sure that long after I’ve returned to the States, I will look back on Vienna, Austria, and Central Europe with an empathy and fondness that would be utterly foreign to me had I not had the opportunity to study here.