Part 3 of the American adventure of University of Groningen student Julian Bos

News | October 4, 2019

He's eaten Joe's Pizza in New York, befriended the cleaning crew, and spent the last three weeks staying at the home of the founder of online data service Dropbox. The final stages of his research project with homemade piezoelectric nanofiber sensors are tough. This is it third and last part of the adventures of Julian Bos.


3. Final Countdown!

Although I've been living a few dozen yards away from my Ashdown apartment since September 8, I still regularly do fun things with my former roommate Gabriel from Singapore. For example, we went to New York together. There are many tour bus companies that offer rides to New York for a bargain price of around twenty dollars. Unfortunately, the overnight stays in New York are a bit more expensive, but after some research on the net we ended up at a great hotel in the middle of lower Manhattan. We left early Friday morning, so that we would have something for the day. The bus ride took us to New York in four hours, where we got off near the Brooklynbridge. From the bridge and Brooklyn you have a great view of the 'concrete jungle', or the skyline of Manhattan with all the skyscrapers. We bought a weekend pass for the metro, since the city is so insanely big. No fewer than 8.5 million people live there, which is almost half of the entire Dutch population. With the metro we can easily get from one touristic hotspot to another.


We visited the World Trade Center and the 9/11 memorial where the Twin Towers used to stand. This was very impressive. We took the ferry past the Statue of Liberty, where we, together with all the other passengers, tried to take a nice picture. Tourist activities make you hungry, but luckily you have come to the right place in New York. All world cuisines are at your feet here. After filling our stomachs with Ukrainian delicacies, we continued to act like a tourist. So off to Times Square. The 'Big Apple' never sleeps and Times Square certainly doesn't. Every day and night it is full of people here. There are so many billboards out there and they are so big and bright you just feel the heat radiating off them. At night it almost seems to be daytime, but it really is nighttime so time to go to the hotel.

Joe's Pizza

After breakfast to Central Park. You can walk around here for a few days, there is so much to do in this park. The weather was lovely, plenty of sun and around 30 degrees. We would love to stay longer in the park, but New York has more to offer, of course. After a few hours in the park, on Gabriel's recommendation, we ate at Japanese restaurant Ichiran in Times Square. Here everyone has their own booth with a button to call the waiter and order food. After a while a hatch will open and your food will appear, just like in Japan. After this we walked past the Charging Bull in Wall Street and got a slice of New York's best pizza at Joe's Pizza. While enjoying the pizza, we watched a semi-professional tournament along a basketball court. Then along the 'Top of the Rock' from where you have a great view over the New York skyline. Of course we couldn't skip the typical New York bagels, so the next morning we had a nice breakfast in a bagel shop and then visited Williamsbridge and Chinatown. In Chinatown we strolled around a market and tried some food. Then the weekend was unfortunately over and the drive back to Boston started. The next day I had to get up early in the lab again.

cleaning crew

The last period has become increasingly busy with the project. This was partly due to some new research directions that director Michael Triantafyllou of MIT Sea Grant had 'just' thought of. So I was often in the lab from 9 am to 2 am. Also on weekends I could often be found there until the late hours. This made me befriend the cleaning crew, who always come after office hours. In the end I completed the project on time with the 'project defense' at the end. The professors and the director were very pleased with my report and my presentation. In fact, they were so impressed with the quality and quantity of my work that they expect my project to lead to the publication of a scientific article in a renowned journal.


And then my rental period at MIT Edgerton was over and I had to move again. This time for the last last period of about three weeks I found a normal house (so no MIT-dorm), which I shared with three other roommates. Via via I came to this address, because it is not easy to find a good spot here. Especially not when the semester just starts again and the city fills up with students. But this house is well located and it is also very cozy with nice roommates. Another fun fact: the founder of Dropbox also lived here. From time to time we still receive mail addressed to him.


After almost 4 months it is now time to go home. As I write this down, I realize that this has been a long period of time. I can remember exactly the beginning of this adventure; time passed very quickly afterwards. I really like it here and I have met inspiring people and made many new friends. Of course it is also nice to see everything and everyone in the Netherlands. I can look back on a great period in America where I did everything I could. I learned a lot from my studies at MIT. And the experience of traveling independently to the other side of the world and arranging everything myself has taught me what it is like to be dependent on yourself. I am a whole experience richer and have seen beautiful things. I will never forget this adventure.

I would like to thank everyone who made this experience possible for me, Innovatiecluster Drachten, the University of Groningen, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and FB Oranjewoud. I'll see you in the Netherlands!


Julian's scholarship is made possible in part by FB Oranjewoud.