For the PBPL 85 students, the penultimate day of the trip very much blended into the final day, as we worked tirelessly throughout the night to incorporate all the insights we accumulated throughout the trip into the final policy memo.
Fueled by candy, Bugles, and an inordinate amount of chicken McNuggets, we spent the night poring over our interview notes, reflecting on how each speaker fits into the broader narrative, and drafting a thorough and comprehensive memo. Luckily, the hotel staff did not mind that we annexed an entire corner of the hotel lobby.
Completing the memo took incredible teamwork, brainpower, and endurance, and by the end, we were exhausted. But the immense pride for having finished such a colossal undertaking was visible on our faces, set behind the obvious looks of fatigue.
After submitting the memo with just enough time for a quick shower, we were off to the Frankfurt airport, ending the journey through Europe where it had started. After a thorough (exceedingly so in some cases) screening at airport security and an unexpectedly funny debate about American healthcare policy, we boarded our Lufthansa Boeing 747-800. We got some well-deserved rest as we synthesized thoughts of currencies, populism, and macroprudential regulation.
Once at Newark, the class got together for one last group photo at baggage claim (not quite as scenic as the Parthenon). We then went our separate ways to return home and enjoy a relaxing break, where we will almost certainly be asked by our relatives to explain the American and European financial crises, policy responses, political consequences, and global populism… a set of questions we are now quite happily exceedingly well-equipped to answer.