Rachel Saunders



United Kingdom
For me, it was an opportunity to take part in an exciting adventure, meet new people, and form lasting friendships.

More about Rachel

I am a third year LGBTQI+ mature student studying BSC (Hons) Games Production at Confetti, and I took part in the SMART Cities Challenge because I wanted to experience a part of Europe that I had never been to before. For me, it was an opportunity to take part in an exciting adventure, meet new people, and form lasting friendships. I love to travel, and ultimately, I got to take part in a trip that will live long in the imagination.

My group travelled across Europe via Brussels, Cologne, Vienna, and Budapest, arriving in Timisoara. Along the way we explored each city, looking at sustainability and new ideas in environmental issues that were integrated within the cities. We found green spaces in the unexpected places, new ways at looking at the world in Vienna, and a warm welcome waiting for us in Romania.

A personal aim for me was to connect the dots across the journey, seeing the connected thinking from west to eastern Europe, especially how the use of public spaces placed into the focal points of the communities in smart ways.

On arriving home, I found myself looking at Nottingham through the lens of green spaces and how the city can better connect its suburbs with the city centre. My team chose to focus on the river, and our approach was to connect up those spaces, giving the city options on transport, connected spaces, and sustainability. In the end we won the poster competition, and it was an honour to represent NTU at the final showcase.

Ultimately, I felt I gained so much from my experience during the SMART Cities challenge. I connected with a team of great people, each of whom helped me see a different perspective on the world. It opened up new horizons for me, and I will definitely be going back to Romania and Vienna given half a chance.

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