GW Exchange Postcards from DC has moved to a new domain: https://blogs.gwu.edu/postcardsfromgw/
After a long Winter Break back in Madrid, heading again to DC feels like going home. Although 1959 E St is not going to be the same without all the fellow exchange students that returned to their home countries, I can’t wait to welcome the new ones and make a lot of memories together! I bet you guys are so nervous and excited, I was too! The first night I spent in my new apartment I couldn’t sleep at all. However, the morning after we started the orientation week program and hell yeah…such a relief! I knew it was going to be awesome.
My name is Raquel Recuero. I’m 24 (before you even dare, YES, I’M OLD!) I’m an exchange student from Madrid, Spain (raise high UAM too!) and I’ve been studying at GW since last August. I’m studying International Affairs although I’m taking a few courses in business just to explore. The past semester was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. DC is an inexhaustible source of entertainment and knowledge. I’m gonna give you a piece of advice here though: do things, move, go places…time flies, suddenly it’s midterms season and half of the semester is gone. Travel around the US, go to museums, (most of them are free!) go to the markets, visit the Capitol, the Pentagon, get lost in Alexandria, go to an Embassy event, go grab some cupcakes or ice cream in Georgetown and eat them while watching the sunset by the Waterfront, go watch the Colonials, take advantage of the massive amount of workshops, events and associations that GW offers and don’t be shy, everybody loves exchange students! Get ready also for great apartment parties, neighbors inviting you for dinner and an American family adopting you for a night! If you are lucky you might spot a Congressman or Congresswoman, a Senator or even the president with his caravan!
When I came from Madrid I didn’t have many expectations. I expected to be able to see big differences between Europe and the US and maybe to be able to travel around the US, make some American friends and improve my English. I didn’t have much information about the university system in America so I didn’t really know how classes were going to be. If I just had known! I loved it so much that I’m staying for another semester even though I didn’t plan it!
This is my 7th year in college (I’m currently studying my second BA) and I have never learnt so much! Your professors are going to make sure you think critically, put the concepts in practice and feel motivated. Take courses that you like and also courses from fields that are new for you. If you are still open to more advice: take at least one LSPA course (they are still open!) so you will have fun, move and meet some more students! I took Yoga and Aikido and both were great.
Now that I’m coming back to DC I really want to get more involved in social issues. I want to find a volunteering or an internship opportunity and I would love to go to more places in DC, keep exploring the city like a local, do you want to join me?!
Here are some of the best pictures with great people the past semester:
“Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough/ Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades/ Forever and forever when I move,” says Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Hello! My name is Melissa from National Chengchi University in Taiwan. Like the poem above mentions, I am an optimistic person who willing to embrace new challenges every day and I enjoy making friends with people from different countries. Thus, I participated in the exchange student to attend the George Washington University in 2018 spring semester to brave myself, for this is my first time studying abroad.
As a student majoring English, I am considering to be an English teacher as my lifelong career in the future. Therefore, this exchange program is appealing to me because on one hand, I am granted a precious opportunity to polish my English skill while studying and getting along with native speakers. On the other hand, I have a chance to learn the American teaching style when taking courses in GW. Both language proficiency and effective teaching skills are necessary if I want to be a qualified and professional teacher, so this program, which helps me improve the two abilities, serves my long term personal goal.
I chose GW as my exchange institution is important to me because it is a famous university full of diverse courses, cultural resources, and it is located in the capital city, surrounded by the White House, museums, banks, and a lot of renowned tourist spots. With these resources, I believe if I can make good use of my time, I can not only acquire knowledge from classroom, but also broaden my horizon outside the classroom.
In brief, I expect and believe that I will definitely enjoy a great time for my upcoming semester in GW. If you want to make friends with me, or you are interested in reading journals from a Taiwanese girl’s perspective, keep on following my blog! The blog will be updated at least once a week.
A thousand miles away from home, no more warm cooked meals and a size single wooden bed. I knew I was going to start to feel homesick. As I dragged my overweight red suitcase filled with winter and summer clothes I looked around room 113 of Amsterdam Hall. I turned to my clock, it was 5 pm, already past midnight back home. No one to call, nothing to do so I went to sleep.
Now for most exchange students, this feeling of loneliness and homesickness would usually take on for more than just a few days. But with a busy schedule from 9 am to 9 pm and awesome orientation leaders, there was really no time for us to feel alone.
No phone lines, no credit cards and definitely not enough winter clothes; you can bet that the first few days consisted of basic logistics. With over 60 exchange students from various parts of the world, we were divided into groups of 10.
Once the logistics where out of the way we got ready for some exciting activities! Having never seen this much snow before I was extremely excited when the orientation leaders planned a trip for us to Wisp Resort in Maryland. There we got to go snow tubing, and ice-skating!
Next in line was learning a traditional American dance called the “Cotton Eyed Joe”. After practicing it everyday with the orientation leaders, we were confident enough, that we decided to form a flash mob in front of the Lincoln Memorial. It was my first time seeing and doing a flash mob! An awesome experience!
Adding on to the American experience, as a group we went to the GW basketball game, where GW beat St. Bonaventure! (btw I won a free t-shirt because of my cheering skills). Having memorized the GW Fight song, I felt like I was part of the colonials, cheering on our team! It was great to see how much school spirit GW student have as there were rows of people dressed in “Buff and Blue” (GW’s colors).
To wrap up such an awesome first week here DC, the orientation leaders threw us a black and white dinner party at Mrs.K’s Tollhouse! (Food was amazing! I totally recommend the chicken with cranberry sauce).
A totally new experience, and many new friends made. If we did all this in one week I
cant even imagine what we are capable of doing in the next 5 months!
GW, I’m a colonial now.
This spring, we are extremely excited to have three new voices grace this blog. They are rounding out the globe, representing Australia, Czech Republic and Egypt. Click below to learn more about Claudia, Alena, and Hanna!
Hello! I’m Claudia. I grew up in Sydney, Australia, but moved to Melbourne with my family when I was 13. I attend the University of Melbourne, in a city that in recent years has been voted the most Liveable City in the world (It’s a title under much debate by Melburnians themselves, especially when the trains run late!). It’s a city of trams, cafés, laneways, sport, the arts and food. Like all of Australia, gradual immigration from all over the world has made the city diverse and a place full of great food and people. But we’re a tiny city, in a tiny country (population-wise) in comparison to so much of the world. Granted, Melbourne is bigger than Washington. But the Population of Australia is just under 23 Million. That’s 2 million less than Texas, and only four million more than New York State.
At University I’m studying a double major in Art History and Philosophy. They’re probably an unlikely combination, but I love studying them and I always want to learn more, which is the best you can ask for in choosing a discipline! Likewise, I picked DC for exchange because the USA fascinates me and I want to immerse myself into life in Washington. I’ve always been interested by American history and politics, and where better to experience it for real but the nation’s capital. The galleries and museums in Washington are another major drawcard for me given my Art History major.
There’s no doubt that the event I’m looking forward to most is the Presidential Inauguration in late January. I’d been following the American Election (since way back when the Republicans started their primaries) with a mix of fascination at the process and horror at the amount of money spent on campaigns. Once I knew I was definitely going to the USA, and the Election hit it’s final crescendo, it became even more exciting. From an outsiders perspective, the US electoral system – with it’s electoral colleges, swing states, primaries and SuperPacs – seems unbelievably complex. By Election Day itself, I think I vaguely understood how it all worked, but I have to admit for a long while I was following the election with fascination but not real understand of what on earth was going on! I’m sure the Inauguration Day will properly signify a quiet moment in the electoral world of US politics, at least for a year or two! From what I know of US politics though, there’s plenty going on to fill hours of fodder for Pundits on news networks and hours of debates in Congress. When I watched the first Inauguration for President Obama I was amazed at the level of patriotism and energy in the crowd. I’m looking forward to experience that for real on Inauguration Day!
George Washington University, so close to the center of DC, in a metropolitan environment, seemed like the perfect choice for exchange. I cannot wait to study hard and experience a USA university culture. I also want to take time to learn about the cultures spread throughout America. I look forward to exploring the Washington DC mentioned in guidebooks, and immortalized in movies and TV series, but also the DC where people live and work each day, and meet the people that call DC home.
In this last month leading up to Exchange, I’m buzzing with excitement. My friends and family are probably already sick of me blabbering on about everything I’m looking forward to experience.
It really will be a Semester to remember.