Author Archives: amrawi

Its not goodbye, its simply see later

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By amrawi

Every time I sit down to write my final goodbye I just can’t seem to get myself past the first few words, before I find tears rolling down the side of my face. I guess because once this post is published, it will officially be the end of my exchange experience. The end of the most amazing five months of my life. The end of late night pizza delivery, and the end of midnight monument tours. Simply the end of GWU.

I know that my Gworld card will be deactivated and I will no longer be a resident of Philip Amsterdam hall, but the memories and friends I made here will forever be part of me.

From the Italian pasta party to the Korean birthday parties, to the amazing Latino music; we became a family. Never will I forget the feeling of sitting in a room hearing over 7 different languages at the same time and learning about everyone’s different cultures.

These 80 students have not just been friends but more of a family to me. We learned to face culture shock together, to accept everyone’s differences and by the end of the semester we had shared secrets, laughs, and tears. We become a family.

Going back home no matter what stories I share or what pictures I show to my friends and family, nobody will understand or know what I went through expect for my new family. We shared it together, went through it together, and now we only have pictures, blogs and our memories to remember those great days. I am certain though that we will meet up again, because as I said they are not just friends, but a second family.

While the experience may be over for most exchange student as they pack their bags and journey throughout the US or head back home, they have all said their goodbyes. However as for me I am traveling to Florida with a few exchange students and I’m back to DC for a whole new challenge. I managed to land an internship with the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and will be staying in DC till end of June. Not able to stay in Foggy Bottom without my exchange students, I have decided to move out of the dorms and stay in Tennlytown.

A whole new challenge, an experience I’m ready for, I’m ready to enter the real world. Goodbye GWU, thanks for having us I will still be around, but this time call me a GWU Alumni.

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Its not goodbye, its simply see you later

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By amrawi

Every time I sit down to write my final goodbye I just can’t seem to get myself past the first few words, before I find tears rolling down the side of my face. I guess because once this post is published, it will officially be the end of my exchange experience. The end of the most amazing five months of my life. The end of late night pizza delivery, and the end of midnight monument tours. Simply the end of GWU.

Kogan Plaza

Kogan Plaza

I know that my GWorld card will be deactivated and I will no longer be a resident of Philip Amsterdam Hall, but the memories and friends I made here will forever be part of me.

From the Italian pasta party to the Korean birthday parties, to the amazing Latino music; we became a family. Never will I forget the feeling of sitting in a room hearing over 7 different languages at the same time and learning about everyone’s different cultures.

These 80 students have not just been friends but more of a family to me. We learned to face culture shock together, to accept everyone’s differences and by the end of the semester we had shared secrets, laughs, and tears. We become a family.

Going back home no matter what stories I share or what pictures I show to my friends and family, nobody will understand or know what I went through expect for my new family. We shared it together, went through it together, and now we only have pictures, blogs and our memories to remember those great days. I am certain though that we will meet up again, because as I said they are not just friends, but a second family.

While the experience may be over for most exchange student as they pack their bags and journey throughout the US or head back home, they have all said their goodbyes. However as for me I am traveling to Florida with a few exchange students and I’m back to DC for a whole new challenge. I managed to land an internship with the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and will be staying in DC till end of June. Not able to stay in Foggy Bottom without my exchange students, I have decided to move out of the dorms and stay in Tenlytown.

A whole new challenge, an experience I’m ready for, I’m ready to enter the real world. Goodbye GWU, thanks for having us I will still be around, but this time call me a GWU Alumni.

 

Rhianna had me dancing all night!

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As I’m laying on my bed with a severe fever, I’m desperately trying to find the capital gains and the present value of “Smith’s vehicle workshop”. You know it not a good day when you’re trying to study for a comprehensive finance final and French final scheduled for tomorrow, all with a fever and a mind wandering off. I’m not thinking about Mr. Smith’s vehicle workshop, or how to conjugate the verb “aller” in French, all I can do is sit around and wander how time passed so fast. Was last Wednesday really my last day of classes? Do I really have less than a week before I have to say my last goodbyes to the people I now call my family?

I promised myself that I wouldn’t make this a sad post, as this is definitely not my last one but, it really is a bittersweet feeling. Instead I’m going to push back tears and move away these thoughts, and begin by telling you about my first concert experience.

Living in Egypt, and especially after the January 25th revolution, not many celebrities would pick Egypt as part of their world tour. So unfortunately the idea of singing your lungs out and seeing your favorite celebrity live, is something extremely new for us. That is why the crowd sure did hear my voice, and must have been annoyed, at the sound of a tone-deaf, Egyptian girl singing her lungs out to Rihanna’s new hits. So if you missed Rhianna, as she rocked the stage at the Verizon Center last Monday, don’t feel too bad.

rhianna

But seriously can you blame me? A girl who has never been to a concert before and who has all of Rhianna’s songs memorized; can she really keep calm at her favorite singers concert? It was clearly impossible. I really had such a blast, as I was able to dance the night away and celebrate the last day of classes with other exchange students; Julie from Argentina, Rhiannon from Australia, and Dina from Egypt. Definitely, a night to remember.

girlsatconcert

Dina, Rhiannon, Julie, and Hanna

Apart from a crazy concert, my rest of the week consisted of work, work, and work, and as an exchange group we managed to squeeze in a dinner at Sequoia. Sequoia is a fancy restaurant that overlooks the Washington Harbor. With a reservation of 20, it was a nice dinner where we had a chance to reminisce about some of our hilarious memories. However, our dinner abruptly ended when we all realized we had to go back and study for finals.

            Exams week almost here, and I can’t even get myself around the fact that this exchange is almost over.

The Purple and Orange Side of Virginia

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By amrawi

tech

 

You know that feeling when you are in Foggy Bottom and you assume that every student walking around is a Colonial? Or that every person wearing a sweatshirt is supporting our bluff and blue colors? Well that was exactly what it felt like being in Blacksburg, Virginia. Except that the entire town of Blacksburg was the size of our very own Foggy Bottom, and Georgetown, Adams Morgan, and DuPont circle where all covered with forest green trees and the woods.

Literally Blacksburg, Virginia is made up of Virginia Tech University and one main street with restaurant, and that’s it. I never believed my Hokie friends (Virginia Tech students) when they said that their whole town is literally the size of Foggy Bottom. So I decide to leave Foggy Bottom and head to Blacksburg Virginia, to prove them wrong.

I knew they were right, the minute I hopped off of  Megabus, in Christiansburg, Virginia. It was nothing like Union Station, or Grand Central Station, or even Newark Station. All I could see around me was the color green and a few small houses. That’s when I knew, that maybe they were right.

Having not seen my Egyptian friends for over a year, I was extremely excited as they pulled up in the middle of this green scenic view and we were ready to spend exactly 36 hours before I would have to head back to DC. VT

First off we took a tour of the campus, with purple and orange stripes everywhere (school colors). They had a very big bookstore that literally had everything from VT water bottles to VT tents; anything you wanted could be found her except with a VT logo on it.

I must say the campus was absolutely beautiful, it was very scenic and felt like an actual college, it was extremely different then GWU open campus.

After a walk down the main street (which was also covered in VT pride products), there really was not much do then to eat and then get ready for an 18+ lounge; Oz. Now the fun thing about Oz, is that you can be guaranteed that everyone there is a VT student. There is no other university in the area, and as I was often told in those 36 hours “ Are you crazy to leave DC and come here?”

hannahwaterfall

Heading back home, we needed a good night sleep before we would have to wake up at 9am to hike up to “cascades”, one of the famous waterfalls in Virginia. This 60 feet waterfall, which crashes down on a two hundred foot cliff, is absolutely breathtaking.  There were two different routes to take, the challenging lower one and the scenic down hill one; we of course picked the easy trail. It was a one-hour hike upwards but it was totally worth it once you reached the beautiful falls as they crashed down on the rocks.

After a whole lot of pictures and a week’s worth of workout, we were ready to head back for a nice lunch. Olive Garden, you are officially my favorite restaurant in America. With endless salad and amazing garlic bread, there really is no place I have been to that beats this awesome restaurant. Absolutely loved it. After our stomachs were completely satisfied we decided to have an Egyptian night with some cards and hookah and some Arab music out in the patio. It really did feel like home. hiking

However this feeling was soon interrupted when the next-door neighbors informed us that they were having a neon party; so we quickly changed and headed over there. With neon colors, and my white shorts shinning in the dark, it really was a fun night.

36 hours completed; 5 hours later we were at the nations capital. Even though Blacksburg was very small, I really loved the feeling that everyone around was a VT student and that everywhere you go it was filled with students and the university colors. However because I love to go out and explore; being in the city is definitely more ideal for me.

I liked you Virginia, but I would never give up DC for you.

Shahd_Hanna

A colder Alexandria

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By amrawi

So clearly I was fooled yet again. Spring fling surely did not mean that spring was here in my book 10 degrees Celsius, or as Americans refer to it as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, is clearly not spring. Wearing a long sleeve shirt, a hoodie and pants, doesn’t seem like spring, am I right? I’m sorry spring fling u failed to bring spring to the DC district. I should have known that instead of signing up for spring semester abroad, I must have in fact signed up for winter semester abroad.

You see, this my be warm for most people in the east cost but coming from the coastal city of Alexandria Egypt, this is nowhere as warm as the month of April should be. Back home its almost 86 degrees Fahrenheit, now that’s seems more like spring to me!

Even though the uneven weather had me trading in my knee length floral dress and flip flops for a sweatshirt and boots, I still managed to get out and finish crossing some items off my bucket list. Paddling on the Tidal basin was definitely one of those things that I had to do before departing back home. With an orange life jacket wrapped around me; paddle boat turned out to be more of an adventure than a simple stroll on the lake.
rowboat

“Okay mam’am, this is a special edition for you, right, left and back,” said the man, as he noticed the blank stare on my face when he handed me a whistle and told us to go.

Once you get the hang of the steering wheel placed in the middle of the blue and white paddleboat; it all begins to feel right. Circling around the tidal basin and capturing what is most likely the last photographs of the disappearing cherry blossoms; did turn out to be a good Saturday afternoon. However once you step out of the paddleboat, that’s when you begin to realize how much of a workout that really is, one hour on a paddleboat sure does equal a day at the gym.

Longing for some Egyptian food, I was finally satisfied when I went to Zakerayat a Middle Eastern restaurant, lounge. There I finally had some Egyptian shawamra as well as some of my favorite Middle Eastern salads “fattoush” and “tabouleh”. Just like the area’s name, it really felt like I was in Alexandria, except this time Alexandria was a lot colder, and it was in Virgina!

salad

Maybe this time I will be heading to southern Virginia! Anybody know if the weather is better over there?

Color Our Way to Homerun

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By amrawi

When you think of Americans, what is the one sport that crosses your mind? Let me give you a hint: there is a bat involved in the game. Its no other sport than baseball, and I can gladly say that my weekend was filled with baseball ,baseball, and baseball!

Nationals Stadium

Nationals Stadium

Last Thursday, the study abroad office took the exchange students, to what was many of our first, baseball game. With our red, blue and white shirts on; over 30 exchange students were ready to cheer on the Washington Nationals. I cannot begin to explain how cold it was up in the 10-dollar row. So with a few shivers and a sad face, we managed to squeeze ourselves into the front row.

While most people around us could clearly tell we were not Americans, we still knew exactly what was going on with the game. That is because about 7 of us are members of the intramural baseball team in GWU called “ Sons of Pitches”. With Ashleigh, our former orientation leader, as our captain we had many practices and drills, so at least we knew the basic rules of the game.

Softball

 

Following the Nationals defeat, we also lost both of our matches at GWU, but it was still such an awesome experience. As exchange students we got to meet and play with other GWU students, which we wouldn’t have normally met. Not many people can say I played on a baseball team in GWU right across the Lincoln Memorial! I bet my friends back home will be jealous!

 

 

Taking off our knee long socks and our blue team shirt, we were ready for the Indian color festival called “ Holi on the Quad”. This festival is used to signal the beginning of spring. What do u get when you mix college students with colorful powder and then top it off with water balloons? Yes, absolute chaos! It really was but it was totally worth the spoiled clothes!

An awesome weekend, and now a week full of work ahead of me!

 

Holi at GW

Holi at GW

Groove the Night Away

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By amrawi

Remember those days when glow sticks and temporary tattoos were so cool?Hanna and Dina How about when the Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys dominated your MP3 player? Well this weekend was definitely a blast from the past, when an Amsterdam dorm room was quickly transformed into a 90s themed party!

With a jean jacket on and a ponytail tied to the side, I was ready for a flashback to the good all days. Posters of “Full House” pinned to the wall, and Spice Girls music in the background; it sure did feel like I was doing a semester back in the 90’s. It was such a great feeling dancing the night away to some of the 90’s best hits with your new exchange family! With a Hula Hoop competition and lime punch and a tattoo booth; it definitely did make me feel like I was back in my childhood! I believe my 10-year-old self would have never predicted that I would be here in DC 10 years later.

Mackelmore StageAdding on to our Friday night groove, we had a one-day resting period before we would have to recharge our energy for the annual Spring Fling festival at GWU. This year however, a special guest was to take the stage, at the universities U-Yard. “ Same love”, “Thrift shop”, does “Ceiling Can’t Hold Us” ring a bell? Well for me, I had no idea what people were talking about.  I was just hoping that by Spring Fling, it would mean that the weather would be warm!

“Dude Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis! You don’t know them?” questioned Christian, a GWU student. I had a blank stare on my face until he proceeded to sing “ I’m gonna pop some tags, I got $20 dollars”. That’s when I started getting excited! Mackelmoredude

The festival started at 2pm and with a long line of people waiting to get free food and giveaways it took us a while to get in. However the line was totally worthwhile; when we were given free Domino’s pizza and free red Spring fling t-shirts that had “Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis” names imprinted on the back. With the sun shining bright, I was just happy sitting on the grass and soaking up the sun! Then at around 6pm “Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis” decided to take the stage, that’s when the GWU students went crazy! Even though I only knew one song! It was totally worth it!

With such a hectic weekend of grooving and dancing, I believe the next few days will be filled with work and relaxations.

Macklemore