A Unique B-more Experience

Name: Steven Albers
Year: Class of 2015
Hometown: Apple Valley, MN
Major: Biomedical Engineering

As some of you may already know, Hopkins winter break is pretty unique because of our Intersession. Basically, every student gets a 3 week winter break (which is probably sounding good to you guys, and trust me, it’s great!) and then there is another 3 weeks before the spring semester starts. During these three weeks, students get a lot of great options – There are a ton of unique classes offered on campus for one or two credits each, with topics from neurodegenerative diseases to the science of baking . Alternatively, it’s a great time to study abroad or do some volunteering. And since it’s totally optional, a few people even take it as an extended winter break (but most students love Hopkins so much that we come back)!

As Freshmen though, there’s a really unique opportunity to take part in the B’more program. The program only occurs during the last week, before which you can take a few classes, or do what I did and spend it with your family, and there are tons of opportunities available. Basically, there are a ton of different themes, from photography to writing to sociology, and you spend the week getting to know Baltimore better and meet new people.

I took part in the B’more class called Studying Innovation and Change, and all in all, I had a really great time during the week. I think the main reason I really liked it was that we spent a lot of the time off campus at notable locations around the city. I’ll talk about a few of the places to give you guys an idea about the kinds of field trips we took.

One of the first trips we took was nearby, just down Charles Street to the Peabody Library to see the rare books collection. This library is absolutely gorgeous. I have to say, if and when you tour, this place is something you need to see. A fun fact about Peabody Library: You know the library Beast gives Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast? It’s based off of this library. And the best part of all: it’s open to Hopkins students to study in.

As a class, we also took multiple trips across town to the Johns Hopkins medical campus. We had various guest speakers come talk to us about the city and the innovations that Hopkins medicine sparked in the area, and afterwards we went to a street market to get a bite to eat. The most memorable part about that specific trip were these great smoothies we found at the market. There were dozens of flavors, and all of them sounded great!

Finally, since we were only using the free transportation available to the community, we got to spend our travel budget on a nice lunch in Fell’s Point, one of the neighborhoods in downtown Baltimore. Our instructor chose the restaurant because it actually used to be an old factory. It was really cool, because the place was completely transformed but you could still definitely feel some of the elements from the days it had been a factory.

 I think the best thing I got out of taking part in B’more was that now I’m more aware of the opportunities that Baltimore has to offer, and am more willing to venture out into the city. Me and my friend Cara even went back to the smoothie shop just to get off campus and have a relaxing afternoon! :) The intersession program here at Hopkins is great, and if you find yourself on campus here next winter, I highly recommend you take advantage of the B’more program!

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