Saying Goodbye to Phoenix: A Hot City with Cool Charms

View of a small city park with a mural by Indigenous artists depicting Mother Earth in the desert

As the sun sets on our time in Phoenix, today marks the last free day for SUSI scholars to savor the city’s delights. Amidst the hustle and bustle, scholars find themselves occupied with packing their belongings, carefully arranging every item within their luggage. Notably, the souvenirs collected along the way hold treasured memories, ensuring that nothing is left behind as they bid farewell to this extraordinary journey. Eman (Egypt) shared that her day was dedicated to packing and tidying up in preparation for the next leg of the adventure. Carmem (Brazil) took a picture of the view from her room; it is a good way to say goodbye.

While some are occupied with their tasks—Peter and Alejandro enjoy their time in the library as usual—other colleagues are determined to make the most of their remaining time in the city they’ve called home for the past four weeks. Eager to create lasting memories, they embark on a culinary adventure, venturing to the restaurants they have long desired to visit. Rakib (Bangladesh), Anida (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and I kick-start our day by indulging in a delectable breakfast at Matt’s Big Breakfast. An amusing incident unfolded when Rakib took my pancake by mistake and inadvertently took a bite of it. With a perplexed expression, he exclaimed, “This is not a TUNA SALAD SANDWICH!” 

Three scholars over their meals at Matt's Big Breakfast in downtown Phoenix
Anida (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Rakib (Bangladesh), and Felicity (Taiwan) savored a delightful breakfast at a restaurant they had been eager to experience.

Following our “breakfast” adventure (which amusingly took place during lunchtime), I seized the opportunity to experience the remarkable Waymo driverless car—a true highlight of Phoenix. The idea of a driverless car particularly appealed to me for a few reasons:

  1. Enhanced Safety and Comfort: As a solo female traveler, the absence of a male driver made me feel notably safer, although it’s worth mentioning that most drivers are incredibly friendly and accommodating.
  2. User-Friendly Interface: The user interface of the Waymo car proved to be incredibly intuitive, requiring no additional instructions. It was a breeze for anyone to navigate.
  3. No Worries about Tipping.
Four scholars are pictured in front of a Waygo driverless taxicab
Hassan (Lebanon), Angela (Suriname), Firly (Indonesia), and Felicity (Taiwan) embarked on their maiden voyage in a driverless car, eagerly embracing the exhilarating experience ahead.

Accompanied by Firly (Indonesia), Hassan (Lebanon), and Angela (Suriname), we embarked on our inaugural ride to the Phoenix Art Museum, a must-visit destination before bidding farewell to the city. Immersed in the artistic wonders, we also had the chance to delve into augmented reality (AR) equipment and indulge in the captivating exhibitions.

Saying farewell to the city has become a cherished ritual for me, as I relish spending time with friends and delving into all the intriguing wonders it has to offer. As I bid adieu, I can’t help but notice that this sentiment resonates with fellow scholars as well. Each one of us has embraced our last free day differently, but one thing remains certain: we have all fallen in love with this city, even in the face of its daunting heat, which still manages to leave us in awe.

Scholars share their sentiments about Phoenix

Eman: “It’s a friendly, nice and welcoming city. I am going to miss Cronkite room 444 which was like my class for the past month.”

Rachna: Every city we visit and the time we spend adds a new chapter in the journey of our lives… certainly Phoenix has added to it too! 

Hassan: It’s a beautiful city, I wish to be here in another season.

Carmen: Phoenix is an exciting city of contrasts. I want to bring my kids to visit the Musical Instrument Museum, Heard Museum and, for sure, the Grand Canyon.

Peter: I spent four nice weeks here, and my memories will stay forever also in this hot and dry city. In my mind Phoenix and ASU are the picture of America, because I’m here for the first time and you never forget your first time. 😊 

Alejandro: I will keep Phoenix in mind not only through my pictures, but with the 18 smiles that we have shared every day since June 4th.

Firly: The heat was unbearable, but the trips to the Grand Canyon and the border were so much fun.

Angela: Of course I will miss my new friends and ASU. Won’t miss this heat. 

Rakib: This is a welcoming city. It is hot but cool in many other ways, especially for its lovely people. Of course I will miss Phoenix and will love to come back.