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Student Reports: Alysse Ness, United Kingdom and Belgium, 2012

Alysse Ness in Scotland
Atop Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands

Alysse Ness
Alysse Ness is a sophomore in Biosystems Engineering. She studied Environmental Science and Engineering in Leuven, Belgium.

July, 2012

I am studying Environmental Science and Engineering in Leuven, Belgium. My brother and I traveled around the UK before the program started.

Friday, July 6

Today we hiked to the summit of Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the United Kingdom! It is located in the Scottish Highlands and stands at 4,409 feet. We started the hike around 10:30 a.m. and it took us nearly six hours to finish. At the bottom of the mountain, it was about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but at the summit it was super cold and windy. There was still snow near the top of the mountain! The path was extremely well marked, but it was still a very steep and strenuous climb. We were exhausted, so we took a nap as soon as we got to our hotel. Tonight we are staying at a cozy hotel overlooking Loch Ness.

Thursday, July 12
Leuven, Belgium, is such a charming little city! I think I am going to love living here for the next month. Our student house is less than a five-minute walk from the main city square. The city is full of beautiful cathedrals and there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops. Luckily, almost everyone here speaks English. I am going to try to pick up some Dutch while I’m here, though! Flanders, the northern region of Belgium where we’re staying, speaks Dutch. The southern region of Belgium speaks French.

Today our group we went to the bike rental shop and checked out our bikes. There are bike lanes everywhere in Leuven and biking will be our main form of transportation. The classroom building is about one mile from our house, so we’ll bike there every morning. Tomorrow is our first official day of class!


Alysse Ness in Leuven
Leuven, Belgium is a really beautiful, old city – this building is their city hall!

Friday, August 3
This past week has been pretty stressful. We had both our hydrology and waste water system design midterms. I studied a lot and I feel good about both exams. We had 4 assignments due yesterday, so Walter, Jonathon, and I literally worked on homework from 3 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Wednesday night!
Yesterday (Thursday) we went on an awesome field trip. First, visited a surface water treatment facility. Our guide was great because he explained all the water treatment processes really well. In the afternoon, we went to Delta Works in the Netherlands. In the 1970’s, the Netherlands built 65 levies along the shoreline of the North Sea to protect against flooding. Now they have a large tourist exhibition there. We had beautiful weather and a really fun day walking around the area along the ocean.

I am now writing on the train to Interlaken, Switzerland. We left Leuven this morning on a train at 6:25. We are supposed to get to Interlaken around 3:00 this afternoon. I am excited to see the Swiss Alps!

Alysse Ness on a Gondola Ride
We took a 3 mile scenic gondola ride up to a small resort area near Grindelwald, Switzerland. We spent the afternoon hiking in the Swiss Alps.