Harvard and Yale Model UN - Day 11: University of Pennsylvania
25/01/2017: Being our only full day in Philadelphia, we wanted to see as much of the city as possible. To maximise sightseeing, we decided to split into two groups; one group visited Eastern State Penitentiary and then The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), while the other group visited UPenn followed by the famous Franklin Institute.
The first group headed to the Eastern State Penitentiary at 9am sharp and upon arrival were surprised by beauty of the building. Made up of predominantly bluestone, the penitentiary has large guard towers at each corner and resembles more of a medieval castle than a prison. The tour group learnt countless facts about the philadelphia prison system, for example, in the late 1700s, the Eastern State Penitentiary became the first prison in America to approach jail as a place for rehabilitation and repent, as opposed to punishment and abuse, a wholly progressive approach for the time. Once finished up with the tour, there was a small gap in our schedule for a lunch break and then it was off to The University of Pennsylvania for an information session and tour.
I would highly recommend the Upenn information session to anyone considering to apply for the university, as all aspects of the application process and student-life on campus were sufficiently covered. The tour itself only showed us the outsides of the buildings as classes have now begun for the New Year, nevertheless, it was a great tour as the campus itself is stunning. Beautiful early 19th century buildings are, in the distance, overlooked by the modern skyscrapers of the city - the campus, with all its historic statues, building and beautiful greenery acts feels like an escape from the big city, a place to remove yourself from the hustle and find some tranquility in which to study.
The other group that attended the Franklin Institute for their day in Philadelphia spoke highly of the interactive and entertaining approach to science the institute took. With 11 permanent exhibitions and many other non-permanent exhibit galleries, there was plenty for everyone to see and do including exhibitions on virtual reality, Jurassic Park and robotics, respectively (although, a virtual reality jurassic park robotics exhibition would be awesome). Returning to the hotel to reconvene is always a highlight of our tour days, as all the students are eager to share what they have enjoyed most about their adventures.
After brief moment of afternoon relaxation, we had dinner at the hotel restaurant before heading out to an NBA game, Philadelphia 76ers vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. It was a rather tense game with both teams keeping up with each other until the final moments. We were all happy in the end (aside from Latifa) as the Philadelphia 76ers won!
After the game, it had gotten to be quite late in the evening, so, we headed back to the hotel to rest up for tomorrow’s adventures. Head to our facebook page to see some photos of day 11.
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