Monthly Archives: May 2015

Nearing the End

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The end of the semester is usually the hardest and best part of it. All the seniors are finally reaching their goal, all the artists performing for their friends and family, all the teams presenting their hard work and all of them counting the minutes for summertime. The last two weeks have been really busy. Every class, program or activity that I joined this semester reached its end. Some of those conclude in a special way, some of those just ended. Performances, presentations, a soccer game, Meor Graduation, family, study nights and Captain Cookies. Here is a summary of how I spent my last two weeks at GW.

I had two graduations last week. The first one was on Tuesday when I finished my course with the Jewish group MEOR. On Tuesday night my friends and I met at the synagogue near Chinatown to conclude our program. We had dinner and some of them together with some professors gave a speech for the rest of us. There was also a video with pictures of all the activities that we did during the semester and finally we received our diplomas. It was a wonderful night that all of us would remember. meor

The second graduation was in the Australian Embassy. Was a graduation from our exchange program that even though is not over yet, we kind of conclude the whole experience on Friday Afternoon. A dress, shoes and earrings matching? Check. All of my life I’ve seen these crazy movies about Prom and parties and I thought I was going to have that experience when they said “cocktail at the Australian Embassy”. It was not exactly like that but we did have food, games, a million pictures, the exchange King and Queen and too much fun. It was a two hours event and even though they made us leave right away we had a great time with the EXO Leaders, just like the first week.

The best part of the whole event was the awards. Most of the Australians won the diplomas but I was not expecting to be the Queen of the exchange students. I felt absolutely happy and even like the main character of one of those movies. They also gave me a crown! I really didn’t expect it and even if it’s a silly thing, it was really nice to feel that my friends chose me, that they voted for me.

My friend Wilson was the King and he definitely owned it. He is this cool Chinese guy that everyone likes, that is absolutely funny and has the best selfies of the world. During the semester I shared really nice moments with him and that’s why I voted for him. I’m really glad he won it with me.

But the night was not over. After this great event we decided to celebrate and hang out for a last time before the craziness of finals.

Any recommendation? Never, but I mean Never walk more than two blocks with new shoes. I made the mistake of going with my friends to some bar NEAR us. I not only walked more than 30 blocks and danced all night in a Latin nightclub but also I couldn’t wear any shoes for the following 10 days. Only flip-flops. Anyway, that night was fantastic. Some of us together with the leaders went to Bier Baron and after that to “El Centro” to dance. Our night ended up in “5 guys” around 5am and there is nothing I would change about that night (except the shoes, of course). queen

On Saturday Dion’s performance was fantastic. I’ve heard him sing before but this time he was part of a Play called Speed Dating. From my perspective he was the best there and no, not because he is my friend, he definitely was. That weekend I had to study so we didn’t hang out after it but it was a great break and is always nice to cheer for your talented friends. A few days after I went to see Yael, another of my friends, who is a senior here at GW and she had her own show because of that. With a voice as stunning as her blue eyes, I believe she accomplished her expectations for her four years education.

On Sunday afternoon my friend Allie played soccer with the GW team against Georgetown. I wanted to go see her play before but I never had time to do it and this was my last opportunity. At the beginning of the semester I signed to be part of the soccer team but I had some difficulties with my schedule so I couldn’t join. The game was mostly for the players that were seniors and because Allie is still a junior, she didn’t play much. Even though they lost, it was a beautiful sunny day so we stayed longer playing a little bit in the field. Jakob, Allie and I had a lot of fun while Vicky decided to sleep before going back to campus.

After the game, we went back to Foggy Bottom to attend an event about Women’s’ role in society through the years. It was around 7 pm when Sam and I decided to have dinner together so we walked from campus to Adams Morgan. I took Sam to my favorite Asian restaurant in this city; I’ve been there 5 times already. My brother took me to this particular place for the first time and I couldn’t stop going after that. We had a wonderful evening together and a few hours later, I walked back home to continue with my study.game

Like the last couple of nights, my study time happened at night. The roof in E Street is the best place to be. Not only because of the wonderful view but also because of the wind in your face that keeps you up and helps you breathe with your whole body. My friend Ian joined me a few nights so we studied together for our finals. When we got tired we decided to go for a walk around campus and around 5 am we conclude our night. The following days were all about essays and presentations. I had to finish my research paper about Empanadas, meet with my Marketing Research team and practice for both presentations. Everything was okay and the following Thursday I also finished my consumer behavior class so my team and I decided to celebrate together. That night we went to a Korean restaurant for some food and then we went to one of my friends’ place. We became friends since the second week of classes when we decided to work together and since that moment on, every group meeting was hilarious. I am gonna really miss these guys.

That Thursday I also had my last Massage class so the professor decided to take us to Captain Cookies. The first day I arrived campus every person I met mentioned this place as the one that I was going to be spending most of my time in. To be honest, I tried their cookies with ice cream thanks to my professor. I never knew where this store was and at the same time I really didn’t care. Yes, it tasted absolutely great but I was never as motivated as everyone else to go to this store.

On Friday morning I studied for one of my finals, I finished one of my projects of this semester and by the time I was going back home, I run into some friends that were about to have a Picnic near the Monument. French baguettes and desserts, what else did they have to say to convince me? We spent a few hours talking about our lives, about our summer plans and taking pictures jumping in the air. There is no doubt that the food was exquisite and even if they talked a lot in French, I felt like Gomez from The Addams Family.paul

On the weekend, my relatives from Philly came to visit me. During the day I walked with them and showed them some places around GW and we also met another of my relatives near the rowing area and we had dinner together. I had crab for the first time and I must say it tasted really well. On Sunday morning we went to have brunch together and they helped me with the cover letter for my internship. After a few hours correcting some grammar mistakes and talking about my future plans, we walked back to campus. I’ve been studying since that moment on for my finals and even if I’m going a little crazy, I ‘m an optimistic person so I believe everything is going to be okay. Let’s pray, study and give the best I can on my last week. I won’t even realize and it would be summertime so let’s enjoy our last time together.

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A Tearful Goodbye

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Four and a half months ago I sat down at my computer to write an application piece for this blog. We were asked to write a bit about ourselves and our expectations of the adventure ahead – a tall order considering we were given just 500 words to express it in. Nonetheless, I felt that signing up for this blog would be a great way for me to encourage myself to document my experiences at GW and of life in DC and now, as it gradually approaches the end, I am absolutely thrilled that I did! Through my weekly posts over the last few months I have documented parts of one of the most incredible experiences of my life thus far and I hope that you have enjoyed sharing it with me as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you.

Although there are still a couple weeks before we actually leave DC, this is my last academic week here and with the handing in of my last paper on Wednesday this week, my time at GW will have come to an end. Where did the last few months go?! Honestly this semester has flown by and every time I think about the approaching deadline I can’t help but get teary eyed – accordingly, I totally anticipate tears to flow before this blog is complete (lucky you can’t see me writing!).

Looking back at my first blog and reading through my list of expectations I would say I had it pretty right, with a few minor errors. I expected to make new friends, learn a lot, see new parts of America, indulge in the theatre scene in DC, get involved on campus, be challenged, get a little lost, meet like minded individuals, etc. All of these, I would say now on the flipside, were totally on point. I not only met new people, I made incredible new friends who it is going to be near impossible to say goodbye to and who I cannot wait to continue my friendship with for many many years! I travelled – I saw so many parts of the country I hadn’t before visited, I learnt so much from fantastic professors, I saw as much DC theatre as I could cram in – including some of the student theatre on campus which was nice to see, I got a little lost on campus at first but quickly found my way – its not a difficult school to navigate by any means, I met like minded individuals and got to partake in some awesome theatre nerd conversations, etc. All in all, GW met all my expectations and then surpassed them by a mile. I expected/hoped/kept my fingers crossed that this experience would be amazing and that I would love it…and boy did I ever! It was everything I hoped for and more!

Where were my expectations wrong…well, I thought I was going to struggle sharing a room with someone else but actually that was a much better experience than I anticipated. Having never shared a room before I was unsure of what to expect and to be honest I totally underestimated how fun it could potentially be. Granted, I got lucky and I know that not everyone has as great of an experience with their roommates as I have, but I really enjoyed it and because of the close living conditions, I feel that I became that much closer with these amazing girls in a much faster amount of time. Whilst having my own room will be nice again when I get back to Sydney, I’m going to miss my four roommates so much (I’m already planning a trip back to visit them though before their graduation because I don’t believe in goodbyes – haha).

So to those of you coming to GW next semester – what would be the best things to tell you…

  • This experience is completely what you make it – it can be, like it has for my friends and I, some of the four best months you will have ever had. Step outside your comfort zone, take part in anything and everything you can, meet as many new people as you can, etc, and you will have the best time!
  • Take advantage of the great classes and professors that GW has – okay, not all the classes or teachers are fantastic but there are some incredible ones that I was lucky to take part in this semester, taught by really inspiring people. For many exchange students the semester is pass/fail but don’t let that deter you from really taking advantage of the great opportunities you have at this school.
  • At the same time, don’t let your studies keep you from enjoying yourself. With good time management there is enough time to get your work done to a high standard without compromising your time for socializing, going out with friends, exploring DC, travelling, etc.
  • Be organized if you want to travel – I was able to travel a lot because I planned from early on and so found good flight prices, etc and also had time to work my school schedule around it. On that note, take advantage of your amazing position in America and go and explore. Yes, DC has an abundance to see – more than any one person will get through in a lifetime – but, I absolutely loved getting to explore other cities and states I had not before seen and I would highly recommend this decision to travel to anyone!
  • Although you should travel when you can, don’t forget to leave yourself ample time to explore the amazing city that is DC. It is an absolutely beautiful city filled with fantastic things to see! It also changes dramatically with the weather so make sure to really enjoy your amazing city whilst at GW.
  • Financially…I would say it costs more than you think it will – or at least that has been the experience of most of the exchange students I have spoken to. To get by on the amount of money that is often recommended is doable but won’t leave much for traveling, eating out, exploring DC, going out with friends, etc. I would suggest bringing – within reason – whatever you can – DC is not a particularly cheap city. As I said, it is totally manageable on the recommended amount but you have to budget well. [Side note – don’t forget to budget for move in/set up costs – I know that a lot of exchange students didn’t do that and it definitely costs a little to set up – so just make sure to factor that expense in].
  • Be friendly – I know this sounds ridiculous but it’s true. As an example, when I got the email addresses of my roommates before I left home, I sent them each an email introducing myself just to open up a dialogue. Not all of your roommates will necessarily know each other either so they may appreciate this – also, they may be nervous about you and what you are like in the same way that you may be nervous about them – so send a hello, introduce yourself – you are going to be sharing a small space with them for some time!
  • More than anything, have fun! Enjoy every minute of the experience because it totally flies by! If there is something that isn’t working for you, go about doing what needs to be done to rectify it so that you may enjoy the experience! It’s an absolutely phenomenal experience if you make it that way!

So what is the hardest part of this experience? That’s an easy one – the end. I have spent the last four months feeling like a DC local, enjoying being a student at GW and getting to know my way around/working out grading systems/making friends in classes, travelling around to other cities on the weekends, etc, all of which will be hard to give up. But even harder will be the goodbyes – especially to my exchange group of friends and my roommates! I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of tearing up now, so I better start to wrap it up.

Thank you Hilary, Shawna and the study abroad office for this amazing opportunity! Thank you to my professors and friends in classes who made the academic side of my time here so enjoyable! Thank you to my amazing group of friends who I have made here for absolutely making my exchange experience! And thank you to the people who read my blogs – I have really enjoyed detailing my time abroad and am so happy to have these logs as a memory of my time here!

So I guess this is my first in a fortnight that will be undoubtedly full of goodbyes. Goodbye blog, it’s been great!