A Semester to Remember: Claudia

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ClaudiaHello! I’m Claudia. I grew up in Sydney, Australia, but moved to Melbourne with my family when I was 13. I attend the University of Melbourne, in a city that in recent years has been voted the most Liveable City in the world (It’s a title under much debate by Melburnians themselves, especially when the trains run late!). It’s a city of trams, cafés, laneways, sport, the arts and food. Like all of Australia, gradual immigration from all over the world has made the city diverse and a place full of great food and people. But we’re a tiny city, in a tiny country (population-wise) in comparison to so much of the world. Granted, Melbourne is bigger than Washington. But the Population of Australia is just under 23 Million. That’s 2 million less than Texas, and only four million more than New York State.

At University I’m studying a double major in Art History and Philosophy. They’re probably an unlikely combination, but I love studying them and I always want to learn more, which is the best you can ask for in choosing a discipline! Likewise, I picked DC for exchange because the USA fascinates me and I want to immerse myself into life in Washington. I’ve always been interested by American history and politics, and where better to experience it for real but the nation’s capital. The galleries and museums in Washington are another major drawcard for me given my Art History major.

There’s no doubt that the event I’m looking forward to most is the Presidential Inauguration in late January. I’d been following the American Election (since way back when the Republicans started their primaries) with a mix of fascination at the process and horror at the amount of money spent on campaigns. Once I knew I was definitely going to the USA, and the Election hit it’s final crescendo, it became even more exciting. From an outsiders perspective, the US electoral system – with it’s electoral colleges, swing states, primaries and SuperPacs – seems unbelievably complex. By Election Day itself, I think I vaguely understood how it all worked, but I have to admit for a long while I was following the election with fascination but not real understand of what on earth was going on! I’m sure the Inauguration Day will properly signify a quiet moment in the electoral world of US politics, at least for a year or two! From what I know of US politics though, there’s plenty going on to fill hours of fodder for Pundits on news networks and hours of debates in Congress. When I watched the first Inauguration for President Obama I was amazed at the level of patriotism and energy in the crowd. I’m looking forward to experience that for real on Inauguration Day!

George Washington University, so close to the center of DC, in a metropolitan environment, seemed like the perfect choice for exchange. I cannot wait to study hard and experience a USA university culture. I also want to take time to learn about the cultures spread throughout America. I look forward to exploring the Washington DC mentioned in guidebooks, and immortalized in movies and TV series, but also the DC where people live and work each day, and meet the people that call DC home.

In this last month leading up to Exchange, I’m buzzing with excitement. My friends and family are probably already sick of me blabbering on about everything I’m looking forward to experience.

It really will be a Semester to remember.

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