Category Archives: Uncategorized

Into History and Nature

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By audrey

I think one of the best parts of exchange in DC is the access to national parks that are within driving distance whether in Virginia, West Virginia or Maryland. Being located in such a prime location on the east coast meant that hiking the Appalachian Trail is possible for a day trip and without the added cost of camping and plane tickets.

So on Saturday, the 5 of us rented a car and took a day trip to Harper’s Ferry and Shenandoah National Park. Aiming to cover 2 destinations in a day was really ambitious, and to top it off, it rained while we were at out first destination so we could not do much. That being said, we decided to head off to Shenandoah National Park ahead of schedule and it was probably the best decision made that day.

Harpers Ferry is situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers where  Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia meet. It is the easternmost town in West Virginia. Driving in, you will be greeted with the sight of a quaint historical town that very much resembles colonial days and this is probably because it was an important site of the American Civil War. We took a break there from an hour’s drive and treated ourselves to some food and ice cream.

While I recommend hiking up the Maryland Heights trail, we were simply not blessed with good weather.

Next stop, we drove for another hour to Shenandoah National Park via the Thornton Gap Entrance (There are four entrances but this is the nearest from DC and also intercepts the Skyline Drive halfway). With national parks, cellphone reception is always a problem so I do recommend downloading the park’s map before you enter for ease of navigation (unless you’re an expert at reading analog maps, which we found out that we were inept at a little too late).

Shenandoah Park is filled with many wonderful viewpoints and waterfalls but due to time constraints, we chose to do the Hawksbill Trail, which led us to the highest point in the park. Man, the view was all sorts of spectacular despite the cold and unrelenting weather – I managed to get some pictures but the cloudy backdrop didn’t do it justice. Here are some pictures from the day trip:

[Insert pictures]

Kudos to the drivers who survived the nearly 6-hour drive, it was really not easy for them while us non-drivers simply snacked and napped at the back!

Into History and Nature

Standard

By audrey

I think one of the best parts of exchange in DC is the access to national parks that are within driving distance whether in Virginia, West Virginia or Maryland. Being located in such a prime location on the east coast meant that hiking the Appalachian Trail is possible for a day trip and without the added cost of camping and plane tickets.

So on Saturday, the 5 of us rented a car and took a day trip to Harper’s Ferry and Shenandoah National Park. Aiming to cover 2 destinations in a day was really ambitious, and to top it off, it rained while we were at out first destination so we could not do much. That being said, we decided to head off to Shenandoah National Park ahead of schedule and it was probably the best decision made that day.

Harpers Ferry is situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers where  Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia meet. It is the easternmost town in West Virginia. Driving in, you will be greeted with the sight of a quaint historical town that very much resembles colonial days and this is probably because it was an important site of the American Civil War. We took a break there from an hour’s drive and treated ourselves to some food and ice cream.

While I recommend hiking up the Maryland Heights trail, we were simply not blessed with good weather.

Next stop, we drove for another hour to Shenandoah National Park via the Thornton Gap Entrance (There are four entrances but this is the nearest from DC and also intercepts the Skyline Drive halfway). With national parks, cellphone reception is always a problem so I do recommend downloading the park’s map before you enter for ease of navigation (unless you’re an expert at reading analog maps, which we found out that we were inept at a little too late).

Shenandoah Park is filled with many wonderful viewpoints and waterfalls but due to time constraints, we chose to do the Hawksbill Trail, which led us to the highest point in the park. Man, the view was all sorts of spectacular despite the cold and unrelenting weather – I managed to get some pictures but the cloudy backdrop didn’t do it justice. Here are some pictures from the day trip:

[Insert pictures]

Kudos to the drivers who survived the nearly 6-hour drive, it was really not easy for them while us non-drivers simply snacked and napped at the back!

My Exchange Journey Came to an End

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By minhsuanchen

    Time really flies! I could not believe that my semester here is about to end and I did not notice that I have already uploaded so many blog posts during my time in GWU. Although I felt terribly anxious and indecisive before coming here, I felt glad that I made the right choice to apply for the exchange student program and brave myself by getting out of my comfort zone. During this journey, I learned a lot of things, met new friends, and went traveling to different places in the United States. Comparing to all those great experience and memories I got here, the efforts and hard works that I have made to come here were nothing at all.

    In the first few weeks, I could not get used to many things like people’s accents, academic environment, cultural differences, and so on. However, with time passing, I have made a great progress. As an English major, I feel satisfied that I have the opportunity to come here because my English does improve a lot while I am immersed in the whole English environment. Also, D.C is a great place for me to acquire more knowledge about American culture and history because there are a wide array of museums and galleries which allow me to visit in my free time. The convenient public transportation including the metro and bus is one of the things that I appreciate the most, for they allow me to get to any place in a short time easily.

      There are still so many things that I can share, but I guess I could only put them in my heart and do my best to share my stories with others in my home university and recommend GWU to those who want to apply for the exchange student program in the future. I am grateful that GWU provides me such a precious chance to study for a semester here and I really love D.C. I believe this short journey has already become one of the most unique experience in my life that I will never forget. I hope I can come back soon!

Greek Life

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By audrey

Going to a college in the United States meant exposure to a wide range of co-curricular activities, such as playing sports or representing the school in the performing arts. What is unique about the American system is the existence of greek life – it comprises of fraternities for guys and sororities for the ladies. Generally, membership in a fraternity or sorority is obtained while an undergraduate student but continues, thereafter, for life. Some of these organizations can accept graduate students as well as undergraduates, per constitutional provisions. My first exposure to greek life came at the beginning of the semester, during the spring club fairs which were seeking new members. Among them, there were several greek organizations that were tabling in the hall.

 

I soon learnt there were several stages that one must undergo in order to gain full membership ie. become a brother or a sister.

  1. Rushing
    “Rushing” is when students become acquainted with the different fraternities or sororities on campus, and the process can range from very formal and structured to informal and casual. Rushing for sororities tend to be more formal, with different themes and requirements for each day. Rush events can include casual informational sessions, where potential recruits have their first interactions with those who are already members and to get a feel of what that particular greek organisation is like. Immediately following rush, members will extend a bid to successful rush-ees.
  2. Pledging
    Once a new member accepts the bid, he or she then becomes a pledge and enters the pledging process. It usually involves learning about the history of the organization, the history of the chapter, the current members, and team building/bonding among the class of new pledges through social and fundraising events. While the length of time differs for every organization, pledging usually lasts for 5 to 8 weeks in the semester before pledges are officially initiated as brothers or sisters.

Why rush a greek organisation? People do it for different reasons – networking forms a huge part of why people rush. Joining a greek organisation is a great way to widen your social network and this could help you in the future. Also, when you join a fraternity, there are many leadership opportunities within the organization to be filled – this is great if you’re looking for a leadership position.

I definitely encourage those who go to school outside of the States to attend the rush events – even if you have no intention of joining. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and expand your network on campus. As an incoming exchange student, your chances of getting a bid might be lower, but it never hurts to try!

The southern part of America

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By sarajebbar

They said that life can always hide you surprises for the future. And this weekend, I got to meet my American friend that I never thought I’ll meet again. We were roommates in Morocco when she was doing her summer abroad in my university two years ago. But this weekend, we finally had the chance to meet in the US after such a long time. I went to Atlanta to visit her and her family and to get to see a different part of America which is the south.

The Atlanta airport is one of the biggest ones in the US so the flight was affordable from Washington DC. I really loved my trip there. First, I got to see my friend and spend some quality time with her family. And since she had Indian origins, I had some really great homemade Indian food. It was really great to share some moments with a family in the US and it just reminded me of home and how it’s like to be with your family.

The city was also really nice. The best part of it was Georgia Aquarium. It’s one of the largest aquariums in the world and the largest one in the US. It was really fascinating to see all these types of sea creatures that I’ve never seen before. And the dolphins and sea lions shows were really amusing and worth the whole aquarium entry ticket. Atlanta is also home of the headquarters of Coca Cola, CNN, Delta. So, it was one of the touristy attractions to go and take picture with all the logos and signs of this big multinational companies.

Since Atlanta is located in the south of America, I noticed how different is the south from the north like New York or Washington DC. People there were more open and engage into conversations more in the streets and public places. I also realized that they are slower in their relations and transactions. It just reminded me of my country Morocco. I was always used to a slow pace of life where everyone tend to smile more and talk more. It was really amazing to see how the US as a country in itself is different from a state to another and that’s why I really enjoy travelling because it opens my eyes to many new things and make me discover the different aspects of this country.

Summer Plans

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By anthonyscheergwu.

Summer is right around the corner. This Thursday I’ll be done with my final exams and all my papers and I’m really excited so I’m going to take a break from studying and write about my summer plans!

From May 11 to 15, I’ll fly from DC to Denver and back. While I’m in Denver I’ll be meeting up with a childhood friend who I haven’t seen since 2014. I have no idea what we are going to do apart from a 14er hike, but I’m super excited to see him!

On May 17, I’ll officially say bye to DC and head to York in Pennsylvania again. I’ll be spending Friday night with my cousin to celebrate the end of my semester!

On May 18, I’ll take the train and arrive in NYC just in time to celebrate the birthday of a couple of friends. I’ll be in NYC till the 27th. During this time a bunch of my high-school friends are flying in and it’ll be fun to have a mini reunion in NYC. I’ll make sure to get a bagel while I’m there because I’ve never had one and apparently that’s weird.

On May 27 I’ll be flying out to Miami, and if you’re looking for me, I’ll be spending most of my time on the beach till June 3. Hopefully I’ll get a tan because that just isn’t possible in DC. 

On June 3rd I’m going to fly out of Miami and go back to LA (during Spring Break I fell in love with LA and I just had to go back). I’ll be in LA for 2 days, and then on June 6, I’ll drive out to Las Vegas. I’ll get their just in time for my birthday on June 7 and that should be fun! Hopefully, I’ll have time to visit the Grand Canyon during my 3 days there.

On the 9th of June, I’ll be flying towards San Francisco. I’ll have 2 full days to visit this city and I’m looking forwards to squeeze in as much as possible in this time frame.

On June 12, I’ll be on my flight back to NYC. I’ll be spending my last night in the US there with a couple of friends who’ll still be around.

On June 13 (the last day of my 30 day grace period) I fly out to Paris where I’ll be spending 3 nights there before heading back to my grandparents house to attend my family reunion just in time!

If you’re interested in following my adventures while I’m visiting all these cities follow me on instagram: @Anthonyscheercuzy, cause unfortunately, my exchange semester at GWU is coming to an end and which means that so is my run with this blog!