The 2017 Universities Tour was a resounding success, providing the students with a snapshot of life in five major US cities, and at nine major US colleges. The trip included three-day visits to San Francisco, Washington DC, New York, and Boston, before finishing in Los Angeles. Each city offered an amazing contrast to the previous, highlighting the variety of lifestyles possible within the United States; from the very bohemian San Francisco with its beatnik and art region to the grandeur of the Whitehouse, The Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. It was certainly an eye-opening experience for many of our boys, especially when confronted with some of the harsher realities of big city life.
As well as experiencing the culture within these five wonderful cities, we also met with Westlake old boys at a number of colleges, including Connor Skeens and Michael Lough at George Washington University, Motaz Al-Chanati at Columbia, Harry Bell and Yishen Zhou at NYU, and George Han at Harvard. The boys were lucky enough to attend lectures on a range of subjects at Stanford and Columbia and received a personal invitation from George Han to a Harvard maths lecture. We were equally fortunate to connect with the broader network of New Zealand scholars studying in the US, who generously took the time to give us personalised and insightful tours of Stanford, MIT, UCLA and Caltech. A highlight of the trip was connecting with old boy Bowen Pan who is a project manager at Facebook. Bowen gave us a tour of one of two campuses in San Francisco and provided a valuable insight into working for one of the largest companies in the world.
The students all developed and matured during the trip and were excellent representatives of Westlake and New Zealand.