Monthly Archives: August 2016

Two Experiences I will Remember Always

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Amazing!

I would like to describe my feelings with a brief explanation when I write my blog.

Yes! It is amazing to be DC and experience all the things organized by our EXO leaders who are cherry-picked and prepared accordingly. To be honest, every single activity can be a topic for this blog but I choose the topics that I wonder the most.The first is WHITE HOSE TOUR !

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And Yes, we had a tour at White House which most of the Americans haven’t been able to see yet. Even though, I had seen White House at my last trip to DC, I was really sad when I learned that visitors into the White House need a detailed and strict background check. (I am glad that I passed it !!) I believe that White House testify the modern history and every single brick would tell different story if it were able to. That’s why, being able to feel modern history is nothing but amazing.

When you first get into the House, Obama family is welcoming you from a TV screen, talking about how the House testifying the history and, especially, being proud of how they let visitors take pictures. ( Thanks!!) When you keep walking, you would see the pictures from important moments such as those from WWI. The funny thing is that Obama’s families pictures is located in the middle at every frame. For example, while seeing the diplomatic relations between UK and USA in 20th century, Obama family is smiling to you under this pictures, which ,I think, shows Obama’s funny and colorful personality. After frames, you start seeing the rooms ( China, East Garden, Red, Blue, Green etc.). These rooms were used for receptions, and built in early-19th century, which made it even more amazing.Unfortunately, I couldn’t experience Obama’s fun personality face to face but I saw it from the things he changed at White House.

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The second trip I would like to discuss is free-classical music concert at J.F. Kennedy Center for Performing Hall which is located so close to school that we didn’t use to transportation, which is, I think, shows that GWU is so close to everywhere including art activities! The Hall consists of two halls, first of which has states flags getting hanged from ceilings, I haven’t seen those flags before! At the second hall, you can see the countries flags that have relationships with USA. I think that this hall represents its name very well in terms of its architecture as well.

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Kennedy Center organizes free concerts every day, ranging from rap singers to classical music concerts. Let me say this again, THESE ARE FREE CONCERT! I had chance to listen Nessum Dorma, the funerary march of Wagner and the death of tybalt from Romeo and Juliet. This was such an experience that ,I think, I will remember for the rest of my life.

 

O-What-a-Week!

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You realised the struggle is real when you had to push 2 large pieces of luggage and a backpack from Baltimore Airport to somewhere off-campus in D.C. You ignored the hustlers at the airport and boarded a train followed by the metro and finally arrived before dark at Courtland Towers. What you didn’t realise was that it will get a lot better next week; when you meet people from all over the world, tick off many items on your bucket list, and explore one of the greatest cities in America.

Orientation week at GW was probably one of the best orientation weeks I’ve had. It was also very different to how they do things at UNSW (University of New South Wales) which has a more plan-it-yourself vibe to it. We do have awesome parties, band night, movie night, comedy events along with freebies from sponsors and student organisations but the GW orientation was at another level (I mean we got a tour INSIDE The White House). Seeing the degree of hard work and effort put in by the GW Exchange staff and leaders over the planning and execution of all the events throughout the 5.5-day orientation week, it truly reaffirmed my choice of coming to GW. I would like to thank the staff and leaders for making us feel welcomed and comfortable from being away from home.

Nats

This week was jam-packed with both informational and exciting events ever day from around 9am to 10-11pm. I still feel like I’m jetlagged from the lack of sleep but it was so worth it. My top three four highlights of this week include:

  • The White House tour
  • Karaoke night
  • Baseball game (Nats v Orioles, GO NATS!)
  • Potomac cruise + Mount Vernon

 

Aside from karaoke night, which took place in a sketchy area in D.C. (yes Chinatown, I’m looking at you), the other 3 were undeniably the most ‘Murican things I’ve done. The White House tour was unbelievable because it’s extremely difficult to get into, even for Americans. And on top of that, we were told that Obama was in one of the helicopters that flew in (highly likely that he also waved at us too)! We got into the spirit of American sports in a Nats v Orioles game with a full stadium crowd of red and orange as the sun set right in front of our eyes. We also visited Geroge Washington’s homestead, Mount Vernon, and walked through the mansion he had inherited from his half-brother and expanded as his own. It was also interesting to learn that as the first president of United States, Geroge Washington held people in slavery for most of his life, and was one of the only founding fathers to free his slaves which occurred after the death of his wife Martha Washington.

On Tuesday classes start and I’m both excited and scared about having taken a few too many Lifestyle and Sports courses after discovering that they exist. Maybe I’ll learn a new sport or two or three (does hiking count as a sport?). And probably join an exaggerated amount of student organisations, to say the least.

 

 

 

 

Pre-Exchange – Hi!

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I remember the excitement of receiving the email from GWU informing that I was chosen as a recipient for the Inbound Exchange Blogging & Digital Storytelling Scholarship, I was in Beijing at the time attending my first exchange experience for a short winter course at Peking University. Straight after this first leg of exchange, I had planned to arrive in America three weeks before orientation week to go on a road trip in America and Canada before finally going to Washington DC for a semester exchange at GWU. This exchange will undoubtedly be an experience of a lifetime and I am so glad I get to document and share it through blogging and a final video!

I am typing my first ever blog article in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada. My name is Maggie and for the past 13 days I have been on the road with my mum traveling the west coast of America. Starting in Los Angeles, we rented a campervan and have driven to Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon (North and South Rim), Page (for the famous Horseshoe Bend Canyon), through the Death Valley into Yosemite National Park and finally arrived at San Francisco (totally 2200 miles!) before taking a plane to Vancouver. I was absolutely blown away by the shear beauty of nature which was not the first thing I had associated America with. In about 7 days I return once again to civilization, this time in Wasgington D.C. and I am looking forward to the many adventures to come. I have been lucky to get a 3-day timetable, with classes from Tuesday to Thursday, which means I get a four-day weekend to explore D.C. and maybe even up and down the East Coast!

Besides all the travelling, I am also looking forward for the courses I am about to undertake at GWU. I am currently an undergraduate student studying a bachelor of civil engineering and commerce (majoring in accounting and finance) at the University of New South Wales. We are usually given a maximum of two semesters to spend studying abroad with exchange partners all over the world. It has been a dream of mine to study in America and I’m not even sure why that is the case myself. Perhaps in comparison to Australia, there is just so much more to do and explore in America. Even though Australia is approximately the same size as America, we have a much smaller population and utilization of land (it’s all desert in the middle). Due to the flexibility in the commerce side of my degree, I will be studying a combination of accounting, finance and management courses at GWU. In particular, I am most excited about Real Estate Investment and E-Entrepreneurship, both of which I would not have been able to take back at my home university. I am also keen to participate in the many clubs that GWU has to offer, especially ones related to outdoor/adventure activities and sports.

It will also be the first time living away from home since in Australia there is no “college” culture (a lot of students live at home and travel to university). To save on some accommodation costs (I didn’t realise the costs were so high to live in D.C.), I decided to live off-campus in a student accommodation that GWU has linked on their website. It’s a few minutes walk from the metro station and then maybe a 20 minute ride to university which isn’t too bad. I think the reality of living away from home will only hit once I get there and I will realise the many things I take for granted such as not having to cook or clean most of the time around the house.

My exchange experience at GWU will give an insight in America’s culture and way of life, which will be invaluable in becoming a global citizen in this world. Studying in the nation’s capital during election year will also give insight into American politics that is so engrained in this country. GWU, I can’t wait to see you soon!

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Greetings from Turkey

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Excitement that can be only word describing the feeling I have right now, before attending George Washington University family.

Hello everybody, My name is Emre Ceyhun, student from Bogaziçi University, Istanbul. As an undergraduate, I began volunteering at two non-profit, service organizations. I did not imagine that these experiences could significantly shape my career plans, as I was already set on a career focus in public policy rather than politics. However, after two years of service to the underprivileged –both Syrian refugees and Roman communities in Turkey—I can clearly see that this is, by far, the greatest experience I have ever had. It has taught me the greatest reward of selfless service: to be able to touch and improve another’s life beyond his or her own capacity, and in turn have one’s own soul fed through validating smiles and warmth. In alignment with my volunteer experience, I chose to shift my career path toward conflict solution and negotiations between political bodies in order to touch and improve societies in the most direct way.

Choosing my school, I consider of having to choose the most valuable school, provides me with lots of opportunities, in terms of the courses helping me clarify my view and add American point of view to it, and the social clubs in which I can communicate and build networks with people who want to have the same career path with me. After my research, it is clear that the right choice for me is GWU because beside the easy application steps and helping exchange staff it also provides a great deal of opportunities at the heart of the USA, in Washington DC. So far, I communicated with No-Lost Generation when some representatives attend to World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, a student club aiming at being beneficial ( instead of helping because help includes the status in it and impose the fact that while one helping is superior, the other helped is inferior . At that student club, I find the right implementation of this thought, which makes me happy because it shows that we are at the same tone.) to Syrian children education which is the target group with which I have been studying for 2 years. Also, the professors of my courses such as Ethnic Conflict and Peacebuilding or Work, Poverty and Public Policy will help me to discern the structure of society in academic manner and add more on my career plans.
Having seen those opportunities provided by GWU creates nothing but excitement about the life in Washington DC and in GWU, as one clearly can see. I know the experience of being alone and of the family that I am about to attend will mature my thoughts on my future plans and the way I look to the life. I hope to come back to my home university with the culture of GWU and projects I aim to progress in Turkey with the help of the maturing process in DC.