Monthly Archives: December 2017

This is the End

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This is it, the end of my journey in GWU. I can’t believe it’s already here, the end of one of the best semesters I had so far. But yeah, we all knew this time will come sooner or later. Here I am sitting in the airport waiting for my flight and writing my final blogpost for the semester. I never thought this moment will come by this fast, but time flies here in GWU. Last week was such a hectic week. From finals to the last goodbye parties, it was so emotional to live the last days of the semester.

Studying abroad was an experience that I enjoyed so much. For me being an exchange student meant experiencing a new culture, traveling a lot, meeting new people, and adapting to a new environment that is very different from the one I live in my home country Morocco. Washington DC was one of the greatest places to live in. I really enjoyed living in the city center of the capital of the US and visit all the monuments, museums and touristy spots whenever I felt like: late at night, on sunrise or on sunset… One of the things that I’m very glad I did this semester were all the trip I did around America. Starting from Baltimore, to New York to Florida, to Mexico to Canada to Cuba and finishing with the West coast. I’m so grateful I had the chance to travel around the continent, discover new cultures and take more and more pictures. I believe that being in the US helped me visiting new places I never thought I will visit from Morocco.

Travel was great but the most precious thing I earned this semester were the friendships with people from all around the world. Before coming to the US, I knew I will meet people with whom I will have fun and spend good time. But I never expected that I’ll meet people that will become family in such a short period. I met people with whom I laughed, cried, danced, cooked (mostly pasta and ramen), traveled to exotic places, sang, chilled at dorm on lazy days, spent hours in Gelman procrastinating, and more and more. And I’m grateful I shared the best moments of my GWU journey with them. I think the worst part of the study abroad is the fact that these people will not be around on a daily basis. But memories never fade away and I’ll never forget about all what we lived in GWU. I believe that we will meet again somewhere in the world, maybe in Morocco (such a great country to visit lol) *coughcough* or maybe somewhere else. I know we might be in opposite sides of the planet, but I know for sure our friendships will not end here. The boarding time of my flight to West coast is here, which means I need to end this blogpost here.

GWU was great, the US was great and special thanks to all the people who made my semester memorable. Can’t wait to come back to DC again. It was a BLAST.

IG:@Sarajebbar

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Winter is here!

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The countdown to the end of the semester is here and I can’t believe we reached that point where only two weeks are left to the end *CriesCries* Time really flies in GWU and I feel like orientation week was here days ago.

Having two of my exams really early made my week an intense studying week in Gelman library. Even if the library is really big compared to what we have in our home university, you need to go early to find a table especially when you’re in a group which I never do since I always wake up late and procrastinate a lot before actually starting to study.

The weather in Dc is getting colder and colder and this week was the first snow of the winter. I usually prefer warm weather and hate snow and rain but the first snow of the year is always exciting especially in Christmas time. We usually don’t celebrate Christmas in Morocco so it was really nice to experience the holiday vibes in the US. From Christmas tree, to free hot chocolate and cookies to all the Christmas lights decorations and lights, Washington DC and its weather were really welcoming the holiday season. And to really get into the winter vibe, we decided to go ice skating in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink. It was my first time ice skating and I was really bad at it, my only goal was not to slip and break my bones. But it was fun to start learning how to ice skate, maybe one day I’ll be good at it.

We ended the week by a final Christmas party where we had cookies, brownies, candy canes, made ginger bread house and danced to Christmas songs. Since most of us are busy with finals and some will be leaving soon, it was nice to gather one last time and spend great time before we get hit hard by finals.

One more week left in GWU. Stay tuned.

Snow and lots of coffee.

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This week hasn’t been anything special. After all, I have all my final exams now and I have spend most of my time studying and finishing papers. But between breaks I had time to go get some coffee in new places. One I really liked was Paul, it is on campus and it is amazing. It is not  expensive and it has an awesome bakery, you can chose so many things that I literally spent 20 minutes deciding what to get.

Another place I went is Churrería Madrid. One thing everyone in Spain does when it is cold is eating churros with chocolate. It is a Spanish tradition and I missed it so much that I started searching for places where they have churros. I found this place and I have to say they were really amazing, I wasn’t expecting them to be like the ones back at home but they were. All of you should try them because they are so good they are addictive.

However, the best part of the week was that it finally snowed. On Sunday everything was covered in snow, and Washington was even more beautiful in white. I live in the north of Spain so I see snow every year, and my family and friends had been sending me pictures in the snow for two weeks, I was so jealous. But on Sunday I got to send them one instead. Ass you can guess, I´m a huge fan of snow and Christmas.

One thing I have realized is that when final exams arrive free food is even more of a thing than it was before, which means free food everyday. On Thursday there was free grilled cheese, hot chocolate, and traditional Pakistan food. The on Sunday we had cookies, snacks and coffee. And on Monday there is free breakfast in Gelman library and free Midnight Breakfast at night. Taking breaks from studying here means having free food, which is awesome.

Thanksgiving and New York

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Thanksgiving was simply amazing. I’m very lucky because my roommate is from the US, she lives in Pittsburgh. When she arrived at the dorm 3 months ago, she was with all her family, and her mom immediately told me I was invited to have Thanksgiving with them. So I was so excited all this months. In Spain we don’t celebrate thanksgiving, so it was a huge thing for me. I spent the whole week there, and I really have a good time. I ate so much food, I had never eaten so much as I did during Thanksgiving. There were so many different types of food, and I had to try everything, Hope’s family made sure of it, not that I complained.

I also went to my first football game, although the team lost I really liked. I’m not a sports girl, and at first I didn’t understand what was happening. However, when they explained me the rules I started enjoying it. I’m definitely going to go to another football team this year. I also got to know Pittsburgh, the city of bridges and steel, which was great. It really was an amazing week.

Overall, spending time with Hope’s family was the best, it reminded me so much about Christmas and my family. It also made me homesick, but I loved every single minute of it.

Then it was time of coming back to Washington. And on Thursday we had a farewell dinner with all the exchange student team. I really enjoyed it, the food was so good and we played trivia. It was fun trying to guess things about this country and the leaders.

On Friday we went to a bar to play billiard, and we had so much fun. It is nice trying new things, and going to different places. Washington DC is the best city for that, there are so many restaurants that look amazing, the only sad part is that I can’t afford to go to as many as I want.

Saturday arrived, finally. We went to New York, yeah again. I sincerely would go every weekend if I could. Everyone told me about New York on Christmas, and how beautiful everything is with all the lights. We were only going for two days, but we had such a good time. We even had time to go to see a Broadway show. We went to see Chicago and I loved it, although I love every single musical. I think New York is one of my favorite cities ever.

Cuba Before Finals

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At this point, I think you can understand that one of the main things I enjoy doing in my 4 days long weekends is travelling. I just enjoy visiting new places, taking more pictures and discovering new cultures. And I would say that the on-campus part-time job I got this semester helped me a lot in doing that. This weekend destination was Havana, and it was the most exotic and different place I have been to. I’ve never thought that I would visit this country before, but I think Camila Cabello’s song “Havana” had a big influence on this decision. And it was such a perfect place to celebrate my roommate’s 21st birthday.

Havana was the best place to escape Washington’s cold weather because of its tropical warm weather. I stayed with my four friends in an Airbnb that was in the Old Habana, and once we got there we knew we’re in a totally different place from the US. Havana felt like an old movie from the 70’s and it was beautiful. The special thing about the city was the colorful retro classic cars. And what was really cool about this trip was taking open cars music for a city tour or just to get from a place to another as a normal taxi. Besides that, I also enjoyed taking the Coco taxi, which a yellow cute covered motorcycle, around the city. Not only the cars in Havana were colorful but also the buildings especially the ones around the capitol. What I enjoyed doing the most was wandering around the colorful narrow streets of the city and taking tons of pictures in front of the classic cars. What was also interesting was visiting the museum of the revolution. They portrayed the whole timeline of the Cuban revolution in the walls of the museum and it really helped me learning a lot about the history of this country. And of course what would be a vacation in the warm Havana without going to the beach. The beach was 30 minutes from the city but the road was really enjoyable since we took an open car to get there. From enjoying the clear water of the ocean to drinking coconut water, the beach day in Havana was perfect to forget about studies and GWU.

Even though Havana was a great place to visit and spend four days in, I don’t think I would be able to live there. It felt like the country was laid back in the 70’s. One of the most surprising thing during this trip was the limited internet not only for us tourists but also for citizens. To get internet in Cuba, we had to purchase an internet pass which was around 1$ per hour, search for a WiFi hotspot (Internet park) which weren’t many in the city, and then hope to get some really slow internet connectivity. It was really funny to see dozens of people around the WiFi router trying to connect to the world outside. When I asked locals about how they felt about it, they said it doesn’t really matter for them since they are used to socialize more. No wonder locals were always socializing in the streets or balconies or trying to make conversations with us.

Havana was great and having this trip with great company made it even better. Now, it’s time to stress about finals coming in a week and begin my late night journeys in Gelman library.