And how are things in Seattle?

Welcome to the country where you can live your American dream: the United States of America! So here you arrive, in the country of which you’ve always dreamed of spending a longer period in, the country that will take you three months to receive your (internship) VISA, the country of which everyone thinks they only eat hamburgers, pizza’s and other fast-food meals, etcetera. To be more specific, for the next four months, you will find me in Seattle, Washington state to do an internship in a laboratory at the University of Washington (UW).

photo Privé-archief Jasper Sleumer

Since the US has a western culture, the cultural differences between here and the Netherlands are not that big as it is in Asia or Africa. Most of all, I was curious on how life is in America; is it as stereotypical as we think it is? In the last month I’ve been I was able to explore and experience this. Spoiler alert, some of the stereotypical things are true: there is a Starbucks at every corner, they drive around in large polluting cars, American Football is a real thing, fraternities with their drinking parties exist and the Americans try to ‘make’ work as to create more job opportunities (at least, that’s how I see it).

During weekdays I spend my time in the lab at the UW. As an Electrical Engineer I work on a project that does research to Spinal Cord Injury with the aid of ultrasound. My prime goal is to create tools for clinicians that gives 3D views of the disrupted blood flow in the spinal cord (of a rodent) after the vertebrae suffered from an injury. It’s a very interesting project where you get the opportunity to also collaborate with clinicians and neurosurgeons.

During the weekends and the evenings I’m free to go wherever I would like to go. So, I make good use of my free time! For example, the most memorable so far was when I visited an American Football game of the university team (Go Huskies!) where I cheered with all students and had pre- and post-game drinks on Greek row; what an experience! Furthermore, I’ve been hiking in the incredible nature where they have lots of mountains (of which two are active volcanoes), partying at a Halloween-house party, sightseeing the city of Seattle (there is a lot to do here!) and went socializing with roommates and newly made contacts.


Three months remain for me which undoubtedly will become filled with unforgettable experiences, memories and possibilities. If you are interested in the rest of my stories during my trip, I’m writing a blog at Polarsteps. 

God bless America!

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