Daily report: Visiting NYU and G4LI

By Albert de Graaf

The wake-up alarm went off at 7:00AM, and after some chaos (who goes to the shower first etc) , some of us ended up being somewhat late for breakfast. So we had to hurry down to Europan, which is a small sandwich shop, for our breakfast. After that, we headed to a subway entrance, in order to get to the Games for Learning Institute (G4LI). The subway ride actually went very smooth, there was some confusion about the tickets. There was one ticket for every four persons, but not everyone got that so the committee ended up buying an extra ticket. After some descent instructions from the committee we had to get on the metro ourselves and get out at the right station. This actually went well, and we arrived at the G4LI right on time.

We met Ronald there again, who had gone an hour early to make sure we were going to the right building. Ronald could not get a confirmation of that though, because even the security guard did not know the G4LI was in that building. Luckily, just a minute after we arrived, someone from the G4LI came to pick us up and go to the 12th (the highest) floor. In about two hours, we got a very interesting presentation about G4LI’s work and the learning concepts behind it. Jan, the co-director, left much room for questions, this made it more of a conversation than a presentation. Overall, it was very interesting and everyone was very positive (the bagels and coffee were good to).

Immediately after the presentation we went downstairs were a (student) guide (Grace) waited to give us a tour around the New York University (NYU) campus. First, we went to a college room in one of the main buildings where Grace explained something about US universities in general. There was also plenty of time for questions, including something like: do you have a social life if you’re so busy? After this we got a tour around the campus which ended in a building with a nice view over Washington Square. Talking there, we ended up with some conversation and comparison of university clubs. The discussion ended when Niels Boom told about the cheep beer we can get at Inter-Actief, of which Grace was somewhat jaleous.

After this tour we were all very hungry. Unfortunately, because of the bad weather, we could not get hot dogs (which was the initial plan), but we went to the McDonalds instead. The next point in the program was free time. I went with a small group on a mission to find a starbucks where it is possible to sit inside and use a free wifi hotspot. Unfortunately, after an hour of walking through NY, we still didn’t find anything, so we went back to the hotel. At the hotel, I spent $5 for 45 minutes internet use.

After this, the free time was over and we were going to Maria Pia, a nice Italian restaurant. The service there was great and fast. Maybe even a bit too fast, because I just put the last bit of food in my mouth and still had the cutlery in my hands when they already took my plate. On the upside, we got our food very fast. There were also some other nice things, like a guy with a huge pepper mill, going by the tables asking if we wanted pepper on our food. We had a three-course menu, which left us pretty stuffed in the end.

The last thing on the schedule for today was a surprise visit to the broadway musical The Lion King. We were informed yesterday we would go there, which was quite unexpected. On top of that, we were seated in row three to nine, so almost completely up front. From the start it was very awesome, actors appeared not only on the stage, but also from somewhere behind us, where they walked to the stage using the pathways. Another fun fact is that we went in a suit, and there were quite some people talking about us. In the end, we started the standing ovation, and everyone followed after us. It was a really immersive experience and although everyone knows the story, it was wonderful to see it as a musical.

I never saw a musical like that, it was the best I’ve seen. After a group photo in front of a poster we split up, some people (like me) went back to the hotel and others went to find a club or pub. In the end, I went to the club as well, together with some other people who went to the hotel and we ended up with like fifteen of us, including Rom, in suit. Alcohol flowed like water, the suits worked as chick magnets and the music was good, so it was very fun and a nice way to end a day in NYC. I went back at 2 o’clock, because we actually have to be ready at 8AM tomorrow. Despite this, some other people were not back until 6 in the morning.


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