Hi! I’m Hannah, a student from Sussex University in England and I have been lucky enough to have been selected to attend GWU for my third year of study in American Studies and History. When I first found out that I was coming to America and Washington DC in particular, I realized that this could be one of the greatest years of my life. “My goal was to make as many new friends and new memories as I could whilst studying hard and playing hard.” No sitting back and waiting for things to happen; I was going ‘all in’ to experience as much as I possibly could in the US. I knew there would be certain things that I’d miss at home, but after one semester here, never did I imagine that ‘Percy Pig’ sweets, ‘Cadbury’s dairy chocolate’ and ‘Angel’s Delight’ mousse would be top of the list! However, I have already discovered that I love Hershey’s dark chocolate and blueberry pancakes!
At this point, dear reader, I feel I have to say that I am not usually so interested by such frivolous and shallow thoughts that seem to center around my stomach; however, food is always the first thing that one notices is different when abroad. I think my family and relatives would be ‘put out’ some that I have ordered them second (or even fourth!) on my list of things that I miss! I think this is because I had always expected to miss them and was prepared for the occasional bouts of ‘homesickness’; it is always the unexpected things that hit you harder. Of course, I miss my family dearly, but that’s where new friends come in; they will effectively be your family for 4 months so make sure to pick some good ones! At some points during your first semester you will feel a little down, perhaps when you have a birthday, or when you have too many papers due in at once; but you just have to put your head down and keep going, and remember, you will never get an experience like this again. So, I learned fairly early on in my first semester to just say “yes” to new and exciting things! For me it was about joining the GW Swimming team, going to Baseball and Basketball games and taking road trips with my new friends (even if it meant being cramped in the back seat of a car for 8 hours!) . The best advice I can give is to travel as much as you can while you have the chance. I have just come back from a week in New Mexico and it was honestly one of the greatest weeks of my life; I tried Sushi for the first time, I snow-shoed and skied for the first time and I experienced a real Thanksgiving meal with an American family. I wasn’t fully aware of what to expect from GWU, but by embracing all new things and people that I’ve met, I have had an incredible first semester, and I know that the second will be even better!