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It’s hard to believe that there’s only a week left before we head to the UK. I’m sure I’ll be saying something similar when DukeEngage is wrapping up, but I seriously felt like the whole time was just a quick blur. This week has been pretty good, from both a workplace and a group standpoint.

After successfully handling the YouthWork summer training program last week, I have been working to create a funding proposal that can help make the program more efficient and less labor-intensive for future years. In a nutshell, the proposal suggests that the program transition into a more electronic-based system using an online database and a functional website. To aid the proposal, I have also been working on creating a mock website that can be used during the presentation. While the whole project is still in the works, I’m hopeful that it can be of some use to OEWD after I leave.

Last Monday, Sam invited us to his house for dinner (which was really good!). Afterwards, we watched Billy Elliot, a movie about a young boy from Durham, UK, who goes against his father’s wishes for him to become a boxer and dabbles in ballet. I honestly thought the movie was really cool—it introduced us to the problem that a declining coal industry presented and it gave us a rough idea of what to expect for our next host site. The Wednesday of that week, we met Michael Goodmon from Capitol Broadcasting, who shared his thoughts on how Durham has changed and how it should build upon its recent growth. Every guest we’ve had so far has presented a different take on how they perceive Durham’s change, and Mr. Goodmon was no exception. I enjoyed listening to his ideas for Durham’s future and had a good time. On Saturday, we went canoeing on the Eno River. I found the experience to actually be very calming: paddling your way through the river without a care in the world was certainly something I was down for. At some point we decided to race. Spoiler alert: Alice and I lost.

As our time in Durham, NC, comes to a close, I’m glad I got to really understand the city I’ve essentially dismissed the past year. I’m left to wonder how the UK will be different, but I’m ready to find out.