Summer Spotlight Series with Opportunity Finance Network

Recently, Caroline Deng, Stern ’17, shared her day working with @OppFinance. Here, she shares some updates on her summer.

I’m coming to the end of my internship at Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) in Philadelphia. I’m originally from California, and as a freshman, this was my first full summer away from home, as well as my first internship. At first, I definitely felt some anxiety over the transition from the busy streets of Manhattan to a completely different city, but I’ve found many ways to keep myself busy.

1. Exploration.

I run a personal travel blog at www.theurbantouriste.wordpress.com, and coming to a new city gave me the opportunity to explore a new city. So, I invested in monthly transpasses for the SEPTA, the Philadelphia version of the MTA.

When people think of the City of Brotherly Love, the first images that come to mind are often the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross, and/or the Declaration of Independence. But Philly is more than just a cheesesteak. Armed with my monthly pass, I chose to get to know the city outside of the traditional tourist traps.

Philadelphia is home to one of the largest urban park systems in the entire world, with 63 parks spanning over 9,200 acres. This acreage is almost the size of 11 Central Parks!

My favorite park in Philly has been the Spruce Street Harbor Park, a pop-up summertime village on the Delaware River complete with a hammock garden, outdoor seating, fountains, a restaurant, and for those who are legal, a beer garden. This pop-up park is available from June 27 through August 31, and I’ve found it to be a great place to read and relax.

During another weekend, I traveled outside the city to Montgomery County to visit the University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum. With 92 acres of labeled flowers, trees, and plants, the place provided a worthwhile escape from city life.

2. Fitness.

The variety of colorful salads and fresh, local produce that my OFN coworkers bring to the office has inspired me to adopt a healthier lifestyle, including physical fitness. The word “exercise” used to make me shudder and reminded me of the awful smell of sweat and patchy, red, post-workout skin. But by stretching to buti yoga, throwing sharp jabs in piloxing, and feeling a comfortable soreness in your muscles after weight lifting, I’ve discovered that I actually enjoy the euphoric feeling that exercising gives me.

Staying physically active has inspired me to set ambitious goals, and I’ve begun a 20-week training program to run a half-marathon. I am hoping to run the Shanghai International Half-Marathon this coming November while I am studying abroad there in the fall.

My summer in Philadelphia has been a very different experience, one that has pushed me to take full advantage of the city and to explore new interests.

I may not necessarily have had the comforts of home here in Philadelphia, but the overall time here has been extremely rewarding.

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