1. The quest to gain more knowledge is an addictive substance but a hugely rewarding one.

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I’m Paul, a Political Science student from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and I’ll be blogging over the course of the next semester as a student at GW on exchange.

I’ve been a little unconventional in my life after high school, I dropped out of university after six-months, instead choosing to work for a political party in the Scottish Parliament. That was over six-years ago and I have to say, it was certainly different but very interesting. I went from a part-time job in the Scottish Parliament to a senior Press Advisor, riding in a helicopter with the First Minister of the country, to taking an awful selfie with President Clinton (see left) … And somehow, I found my way here. In the heart of democracy and a world-leading institution.

The years I spent working for the SNP – a progressive, center-left party who are currently responsibly for the referendum about to take place on September 18  – extremely rewarding and I’m hugely grateful for them, which made leaving that job and moving a few thousand miles away just before a decision is made that I’ve worked my entire adult life for, a difficult one.

I say it was a difficult, however when it came it down to it, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  I’ll be able to visit an independent Scotland any time…

My expectations of the upcoming semester at GW is a mixture of positive excitement, with the occasional doubts of how it will be, living in another country, another city being so far away from everything and everyone I’ve come to know so well.

One of my motivating factors for returning to university was the opportunity to study abroad, however. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been able to travel modestly around some of Europe and North America before, but there’s always been the safety-net of returning home in a maximum of a few weeks.

However, the excitement is far the more prominent emotion that I’m feeling just now. I really can’t wait to begin!

Being a Political Science major means that DC is perfect for me and somewhere I can’t wait to explore. If America is the world’s melting pot, then DC is the melting pot of political ideas and beliefs.

I’m looking forward to experiencing those who may have views or beliefs I’ve not really encountered before. It may ask me to question some of my owns views and I suppose, that can only be a good thing.

I suppose, what I’m expecting is the unexpected. The new places, the new friends, the new culture, will all be something that is unique and the memories will be sure to last a lifetime.

There will be unrivalled joy and some heartache, lessons learnt and lessons taught. I always believe that if life throws you a curveball, there’s no harm in having a huge swing at it.

I guess – in the somewhat stereotypical image of my new, adopted homeland – come at me, Bro!

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