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Study Abroad Student Trip Report: Stephen Qiu

My name is Stephen Qiu, and I am currently a junior majoring in mechanical engineering and minoring in computer science. During the EIL program, we were enrolled in 6 credit hours, ME331 Thermodynamics and ECE301 Circuits. Along with that we took many excursions to places such as the Kew Steam Museum, Greenwich, and even took a ride on the London Eye, but one of the most memorable experiences for me was the visit to Bletchley Park and the National Museum of Computing.

Computer at the National Museum of Computing.
The Turing Bombe Rebuild Project in Bletchley Park.

In the morning, we took a train to Bletchley Park and first visited the National Museum of Computing, which houses many different computers and machines, but most famously the Bombe machine, which helped crack the enigma code and the colossus computer, which helped crack the Lorenz cipher. Both these machines helped the Allies win the war and being able to see the machines run in real life, clicking to life in front of me, was really exciting. The machines had thousands of wires going all around, all organized and several thousand transistors in the machines that were the size of rooms. Also, our guide Robert Dowell, gave a very in depth explanation of the logistics and mathematics behind the machines, as well as the history and the evolution of computers, which was eye opening to me as a mechanical engineer and also as a computer science minor. The machine was a combination of the engineering building the machine and the theory of the mathematical computations and it was truly a wonder to visit and be able to see.

Overall, this trip not only allowed me to learn course material to help go towards my college career, but also allowed for many unforgettable excursions and experiences such as Bletchley and has shown me how vast and grand engineers can affect the world. I could not recommend this program more to anyone looking for a different out of the classroom experience.