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  • May Week Fireworks

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    I know, I know, it's June, not May. But as it happens, the English think differently. I'm in Cambridge, England, getting settled into an MBA consulting internship with a premier business incubator (thanks to the international consulting experiences I've gained through the Innovation Immersion Program), and Cambridge students have just finished an intense round of final exams. 

    "May Week," as they call it, always comes in June, which is a festive time of garden parties, May Balls, and a phenomenon they call "Suicide Sunday" (which, if you're a seasoned Illini, corresponds to but does not live up to our Unofficial). This is the magical week where students get away with wearing sleeveless satin gowns in 13-degree weather and rich colleges throw lavish, all-night, all-you-can-eat-and-drink outdoor balls complete with Count of Monte Cristo-like firework displays, Ferris wheels, and other frills and thrills. It's such a popular time that Time Magazine rates St. John's May Ball as the 7th greatest party on earth.

    I had the pleasure of attending Wyvern's and Newnham's garden parties, as well as Trinity College's May Ball fireworks. My boyfriend and I recently developed an affinity for punting, which is basically a way to steer a flat boat with a long wooden pole through shallow canals, and we punted our way through the River Cam for an exclusive front-row view of the fireworks. Although this video doesn't do it justice, I hope you get a glimpse of what it's like to be completely enthralled with a new internship experience abroad. A decade ago, because of various circumstances financial, parental, and otherwise, I never thought I would have the opportunity to breathe, travel, and work internationally. But the University of Illinois College of Business, through its emphasis on global experiences, has enabled me to literally live my dream.

    Blogger: Melissa Chua is an Illinois MBA student currently doing an internship in Cambridge, England. Follow her episodic adventures here: