One week, 393 pictures, 57 exchange students, 13 leaders, Shawna and Hilary. What else do I have to say? If anyone had ask me about my expectations for my first week at GWU, I would have mentioned all the places, people, moments and experiences I just lived.
As an exchange student, fear is the first feeling you have when you arrive at your new home. Am I going to like my roommates? Am I going to make new friends? Am I going to like my classes? What am I doing here?!? That feeling automatically disappeared when 10 strangers in blue received me at the Marvin Center giving me the kindest welcome ever. Instantaneously my smile appeared. After months of planning this trip, I was finally here. The place I’ve been dreaming for so long was better than I expected. Not only because of the spectacular view I have from my window (the amazing Washington monument, or the American Obelisk) but also for the terrific freezing weather..
On my first night on Washington, standing in the Lincoln Memorial under a full moon reading Lincoln’s speech inscribed on the wall I knew I had arrived. I had arrived not so much to a place, not even a dream but to a collection of adventures yet to come. But most adventures need someone to be shared with. And what is better than people from the five continents to share those with? When I met the Australians (everyone is from Australia), the Asians, the South Americans, the French, the London, the Italians and of course, the Americans, I was reminded that I was not alone here in DC, at GWU. They reminded me why I participated in the exchange program in the first place: to explore the diversities the world has to offer and to be exposed and part of such diversity was a delight, as it is always interesting to find out more about other countries.
The first week of orientation has been the world. The museums, the Capitol, the traditional Ben’s Chili Bowl, the metro, the bars and nightclubs, the fantastic buildings and gym that belong to GWU (almost every building of the city) and the famous scavenger hunt game, made me think that my decision to come to Washington DC was the best choice I could have made.
But orientation week wouldn’t have been the same without our amazing Leaders. They did a fantastic job showing us around, giving us helpful tips, advice and guiding us. They brought us all together in an atmosphere of laughter and joy that allowed us to become friends.
Those laughs and adventures already lived and the many more to come have been blessed by those people who brought me directly and indirectly here.The group we’ve become, the peace and rhythm of Washington, DC, and GWU settles into something familiar and everything just feels that little bit more comfortable. Like if they had known me forever, always so cheerful and friendly, I can not wait for the Spring semester to start.