This week at GW has been overwhelming. But not in a way that makes me want to ring home and fly back. It’s the kind of overwhelming that makes me incredibly excited for the months to come. Mostly because our cohort of exchange students were blessed with a great orientation program and a great group of exchange orientation leaders. They really made our first week on campus worthwhile and a whole lot of fun. They took us to a college basketball game, got us participating in a flash mob at the Lincoln Memorial, went with us on a tour of the Capitol building, had snow-tubing races with us, helped us get all our Target room supplies back to campus, answered our questions (however strange or off-topic) and became our friends.
One of the activities I found the most fun (and helpful) was the scavenger hunt. At home, our campus is near the city and reasonably enclosed – a full day at University and you’d never see anyone except other students and staff. Here, with the GW campus sitting on city blocks, and our neighbors being the Red Cross, IMF, State Department & World Bank, it really does feel like we’re in the center of things. Luckily GW used pennants to identify their buildings, or else there is a fair chance I will end up walking into some random office building expecting my American Art of the 20th Century class.
In our orientation small groups we were sent off with a double sided list of places to find. Some were worth more points, because they were harder to find, so we decided to aim for the higher point locations first. At each location we had to have a photograph with a group member in it. Because there was a 45 point bonus for the group with the funniest photos we tried to add a little humor into ours. This included feeding one of the George Washington busts chips, and a photo of all of us pretending to be passed out on the ground from jet lag. Lying on the freezing concrete was worth it, because we got that extra 45 points. Unfortunately, we came third overall. But given the amount of fun we had it was well worth it! It also improved my sense of direction, and the likelihood of me wandering off into Georgetown or the National Mall accidentally while trying to find a class is significantly lowered. The scavenger hunt was also good for practical reasons – now we know which CVS is open 24 hours!
The next week will be an overwhelming experience in its own right, because classes are beginning and I’ll need to manage sightseeing & exploring with classes & study, not to mention having fun. But what a lot of adventures lie ahead.