April 5, 2015
Andrew Cortez

It’s difficult to sum up this amazing experience but as I write my final blog I look back at those moments that are the most memorable to me. Running along the Thames river was one of my favorite things to do after work and the weather permitted.  It was fun running from the flat to Battersea Park along the river, over the  bridge and back again. 

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Stumbling upon these unique spaces were fun which made for spontaneous adventures and emphasized the fact that London is a big city housing many cultures, landscapes, and surroundings.

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My first English Football match was at Craven Cottage, where I watched Bournemouth defeat the home team Fullham 5-1.  The stadium was old and had much character, and the fans were passionate about their team even though they had been defeated.  I also had my first veggie pie here during halftime with friends and other fans. 

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The one that I will always take with me is how the HKS London office welcomed me with open arms.  They made me feel comfortable in my new surroundings, and truly made me feel like I was part of their family.  The lunches in the kitchen felt more like a cozy dining room table interacting with people outside of my hospitality team.  Going out for a drink with coworkers also provided the opportunity to connect with each other on a more personal level.  In the end I am truly grateful to have experienced the HKS Xchange Fellowship.  It has broadened my outlook on the profession through international project experience.  I feel that I can take back with me a better sense of connectedness between the two offices and how they can contribute to the success of HKS as we continue to make a positive impact on the built environment.

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The final chapter ended with my trip to Paris.  I took my girlfriend Mandy with me as we explored the museums, food, people, and Parisian culture.  On March 31, 2015 I proposed to her in the garden just to the south of the Eiffel Tower.  It was a special moment and made for a perfect end to this HKS Xchange Fellowship trip through Europe.

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Check out the rest of my photos of my Journey Through London at https://www.flickr.com/photos/129177708@N03/sets/

Follow us on Twitter @HKSXchange #OneFirm

Tagged @HKSXchange, Dallas, HKS Exchange Fellowship, HKS London, HKS Xchange Fellowship

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