Tag Archives: Hanna

21 and Under

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By amrawi

21 and Under

“Dude your going to be 20 when you’re DC”, “You will be so bored! You will have nothing to do”, were some of the phrases my friends back home where telling me when they found out I was going on exchange to DC!  20 and I’m loving DC; I have decided to devise a list of fun things that other under 21 people can do.

1) Comet Ping Pong: Haven’t been there yet, simply because every time I go its packed! You may think it’s your ordinary pizza place, but once you step inside you realize that your “ordinary” pizza comes to you on top of a ping pong table! You get to customize your own thin-crust pizza while enjoying a game of ping-pong or foosball.

2)U Street Music Hall: This late night venue hosts many great performances that allows, us under 21 people to attend! It‘s a great atmosphere with amazing music. Lots of performances are held here.

3) UltraBar: Now for those of you who are really eager to go clubbing in DC, by far the best under 21 club is ultra bar. You should definitely dress to impress for this four-level club located in Chinatown. With each floor boasting a different type of genre you are bound to hear something you like.

4) Café Japone: If you love to sing out to your favorite tunes but don’t want to have to do that in front of everyone; at Café Japone you can rent a room with your friends and sing out loud to your favorite tunes while eating some delicious Japanese food! Definitely worth a visit!

5) National Zoo: no matter how old you are, everyone sure enjoys a visit to the zoo! Come to the National zoo and get to see the giant pandas and great apes! It definitely is a fun day out when the sun is out and you have nothing to do in the morning!

Above is just 5 places under 21 people can go, but as I make my way throughout the semester I will definitely be sure to update the list!

U Street Music Hall

U Street Music HallUltraBar

Panda

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Hola meggico!

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By amrawi

Done. Done and Done! With my finance exam all written up and my public communication speech delivered, nothing was going to stand in the way between me and the 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) temperature of Cancun, Mexico!cancun_pool Shorts, swimsuits, tanning and Pina coladas; I was ready to leave my winter coat and heavy scarf and get ready for the typical American spring break destination. What more can an exchange student want then to travel to an exotic location with 10 other multicultural students?

“Arriba!” “Hola!”, was all the ten of would say as we would race down the hotel strip of Cancun. Our mornings consisted of tanning by the beach and soaking up the blazing Mexican sun. “ I must get tanned! I have no time to waste!”- Yelled Diletta, senorfrogsan exchange student from Italy. Deprived of the sun and the beach from being frozen in the cold for too long; you can bet you could not get the ten of us out of the crystal clear water.

Tacos. Burritos. Nachos. Never in my life would I have imagined getting tired of chips and salsa. But yes after eating crunchy tacos almost everyday for 8 days you grow sick and tired of Mexican food. Even though Mexican cuisine is delicious. too much of it just doesn’t work (Imagine eating Chipotle for 8 days straight.).pineapple Later in the week we swapped tacos for exotic seafood. Yes exotic. Have you ever heard of a pineapple cut in half and then stuffed with cheese and seafood? Well I didn’t until I went down to a Mexican flea market. How about shark enchiladas? “ You eat me and I eat you,” read the sign. Let me tell you though, shark enchiladas, yum! It was so good, it tasted very similar to tuna fish.

With our stomachs almost always stuffed with exotic food, we knew we couldn’t go to Cancun without visiting one the new seven wonders of the world; Chichen Itza, “Chicken Pizza” , as Mike an exchange student from new Zealand likes to call it.

Chichen Itza was a significant monument in the Mayan culture, and stands today as one of the most visited structures in the world. It was really interesting to know that the pyramid like structures are aligned with the moon. Other than that it looked very similar to the pyramids I am familiar with in Giza, Egypt.chichen itza

You know you’re in Mexico when you hear the famous song “La Bamba!” and turn around to find a big sombrero ( over-sized Mexican hat) in your face! No trip to Mexico is complete without the Mexican men singing their tunes for you or what they refer to you as “my senorita”.

Stomachs filled with tacos and lips mouthing the words to La Bamba,  we put on our sombreros and headed home; we definitely wont forget such an amazing spring break!

Party at Gelman!

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By amrawi

What do you get when you give GWU students a two-week spring break vacation? Parties. Sleep. Beach. And more! BUT, what happens when you assign those same students final reports, exams, and presentations right before this long anticipated break. You get “party over at Gelman”, or just a bunch of young adults crowding in on the 5th floor of Gelman library till way past midnight, each holding a Starbucks hot drink in hand.

For this past week I can honestly call Gelman library my second home. Let me tell you this, I have never called the library “ home” in Egypt, even with a full load of courses. If there is one thing that the diverse amount of Egyptians coming from AUC agree on, is that the workload here at GWU is a lot harder than back home. In Egypt with a course load of five classes each semester, I do about two hours of work each day which gives me enough time to submit reports and presentations and be well prepared for exams. However here at GWU with a course load of four classes, I could spend about double that amount of time doing work. There definitely is a lot more assessments and quizzes here at GWU, which I feel helps the students stay more on top of their work, and so when exams come around the students are more prepared. As opposed to my home universities where you are kind of left to work on your own pace but once exams hit, you’re in for some trouble.

Coming to a university with twice the number of undergraduate students, I was expecting to have to sit in on lectures hall and use clickers to ask questions in class. However surprisingly enough, the class sizes at GWU are roughly the same size as AUC; ranging from 20-25 students per class. I believe the size is good because it allows for a good student to teacher ratio, and it is definitely less intimidating than those big lecture halls.

Out of my four classes that I am in enrolled in at GWU I have to say my favorite is my Public Communication class. Even though the class runs pretty late, from 7:10-9:40pm once a week, I have to say Professor Schumacher’s energy sure does keep me awake and ready. This class is  a public speaking class, where we learn the basic public speaking skills needed to inform, entertain and persuade the audience. It places a strong emphasis on the speech-building process. It is such a fun and interactive class where we constantly are engaging with one another and critiquing each other speeches and there isn’t a heavy reading load (have I forgotten to mention that my other classes assign us 50 pages of reading every class).

Another major difference I noticed is that at GWU, students have to buy books. I came to be very familiar with chegg.com, a book rental website where student can rent their books and then return them at the end of the semester. At AUC most students just photocopy the chapters from the library at our university or just study from the slide shows presentations that our professors make.

So with this much  work, you bet the Gleman library would be the new hangout spot for GWU student. So if you’re looking for any GWU students, now you know where to find them.

Happy 281th Birthday!

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By amrawi

February 22nd marks a very important day in my history book, it is not only the birthday of the 1st president of the United States, but it is the first time that I laid eye on what the Americans call “s’mores”.bonfire

Gathering around a bonfire, in honor of Mr. President, I was handed a s’mores pack that come with no instructions. However with a stick, one marshmallow, two graham crackers and a piece of chocolate there really was no instruction needed. Observing the people around me, I began toasting my marshmallows and then unwrapping a piece of Hershey chocolate and putting it all in between the two graham crackers. However, my first attempt at making s’mores was not so successful, a little birdie forgot to tell me that I was supposed to use the two graham cracker to pull the marshmallows out, instead of trying to do that with my own hands. So yeah, quite messy, but it was honestly delicious! Definitely going to load up on graham cracker as I’m leaving so I can make some in Egypt. After the excitement over the s’mores dozed off, we were now ready for the apple cider.

S'mores

S'more

S’mores!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again a totally new drink for me, apple cider is what the Americans and Canadians call a warm unsweetened, non-alcoholic beverage made from apples. I was not a big fan of that drink myself; it was a bit too sour for my liking. After the drinks and s’mores it was time for Mr. President’s birthday cake! A scrumptious vanilla cake with vanilla flavored icing and the words “Happy Birthday George Washington” written on the top, was devoured within minutes. After the food was done, the “Freemason” group at GW performed a small chant. I was a little confused. What happened to singing to big G? What happened to blowing out the candles? So I was left singing the words to Happy Birthday to our 281-year-old president in my head. I guess because it was beginning to rain outside they had to cut the celebrations short, and unfortunately we missed out on the pie eating contest.

Well whether rain or shine, we were still able to celebrate George Washington’s birthday! S’mores you sure did earn a spot on my favorite desserts list here in the US!

“Nemo” we found you.

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By amrawi

What was supposed to be a college road trip to Boston, soon ended up in an under-snow mission against “ finding nemo”. With the new blizzard called “Nemo” cornering in on New England, we had to put on hold our various plans of duck tours, boat cruises and walks down the freedom trail.group-Boston

Having booked our trip over a month ago, we were determined to make the most of it. With an eight-hour train ride and a diverse group of exchange students we were ready for whatever “Nemo” had in store for us. Of course I was a little too excited and didn’t understand why everyone was worried about the snow. But little did I know. Nemo you are lost, I don’t even see you. With the sun shining bright, and whole day of sightseeing ahead of us, we were very excited to see this college town. Chowder

The first stop out of the train, was to head to the Quincy Market; the first open market in America. It was absolutely lovely; with different food options and deserts, the nine of us were running around each point at a different food stations. Well can you blame us? After an 8 hour train ride, I bet you would be hungry too? After observing the locals all enjoying seafood soup and shrimp flavored bread, I decided to settle for nothing less than “Boston Chowda”; voted Bostons’ best clam chowder for 2 years in a row. And after enjoying the Calm chowder, I would definitely give it my vote! Absolutely amazing, and this coming from a Middle Eastern girl who her family is obsessed with seafood, you bet it was tasty!

After spending a little too much time there we then decided to take a trip down little Italy. Wicannolith the three Italians traveling with us, they kept reminiscing at the various Italian deserts and coffee offered down this street. “OMG! Cannolini, that’s the national desert of Naples, Italy” yelled Dilletta, an exchange student from Italy. This waffle crusted chocolate chip roll was something I had never had before. Very crispy and really hard to eat! After little Italy we decided to rest a bit and then go have a nice early dinner at Mother Anne’s, so that we were ready for our long day tomorrow.

harvard

Okay Nemo I think we are close.  A little bit colder, and more layers to add on, Harvard make room for us we are coming in! With loud noises and excitement we stepped into what is known as one of the best universities in the world.  “4.5 GPA, 2200 SAT score and president of the Chess club, that’s how I got In” explained Jordan, a freshman at Harvard. So I guess that’s what it takes to get in Harvard! Anyone make the list? Honestly it was a beautiful campus but it was just missing something, to me it seemed pretty haunted.  If there is one thing you have to do at Harvard apart from talking to the genius students, it’s to rub the left foot of John Harvard; the founder of the university. It has been said that with a little rub, good luck would be coming your way.  Harvard2

With a trip down Harvard square, and mingling with the students in hopes of getting a little smarter, we were now off to do some shopping! Newbury street, our new favorite shopping destinations. With endless amounts of stores and restaurants it literally took us the rest of the day before we were ready for dinner. While waiting two hours to get seated at Joe’s American Grill (one of the best restaurants in town), a 35 percent off definitely put a smile on our faces as we left this delicious restaurant!

Nemo. We found you.  Snow, snow and snow. I know now why Americans dread the snow. I understand, I really do. With heavy winds and snow smacking our face, it truly was not a pleasant feeling in the morning. The wind was so strong that we kept losing our balance.  “I am Mediterranean! I am not made for this kind of weather” yelled Dina, an exchange student from Egypt. Our third day pretty much consisted of us trying to ease our way across the dense snow and winds and trying to keep warm. Adding the rest of the layers didn’t help, with -9 degrees Celsius, nothing was going to help. Thank you Nemo for not letting us go on the duck tour or go to the freedom trail. Payback will be soon.snowsnow2

At last we were back to DC, now when 1 degrees Celsius seems “warm”, then you can imagine what Nemo was all about. Despite Nemo and the coldness it was great seeing Boston and be able to see the difference between a college city and densely political state.

A Trip Down U-Street

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By amrawi

What’s the present value of 12,500? What are the different forms of public communications? Can you say “how much” in French? Yup my week has been pretty much work, work, and work. With midterm exams coming up and papers to submit, there really was no time for to me do any adventures. However with seven days a week I was able to squeeze in some yummy delicious food down at U-Street.IMG_0177

You know how Italians are famous for their pizzas? And the Spanish are famous for their Paella? Well the people of DC are famous for Ben’s Chili Bowl! (Some people refer to the hot dogs served there, as their local DC dish). With a study break and a big appetite I was ready to lay may hands on one of those famous “half-smoked hot dogs “. However I was disappointed when I found out that the half-smoked is half beef/half pork. Since I don’t eat pork, I had to opt for their specialty dish and instead have the Beef hot dog.

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Now I must say it was pretty good, but not as good as I had expected. I mean when you hear of a place that Obamas go for hot dogs, your expectation would probably be as high as mine. It was decent but like Sem, an exchange student from Australia stated, “the chili hot dogs at 7-Eleven are a lot better”, I must agree! The chili sauce on the hot dog was good and overall it was enjoyable, but I have had better honestly.

IMG_0507With another much needed study break, as a group we decided again to go to U- Street, but this time to an authentic Ethiopian restaurant called “Durkum”. It’s not everyday that you get to huddle around with your friends and dig your hands into some tasty African food. While there might be no utensils to use, the bread they give is used as a spoon to pick up your food with. I must say the food was okay, but the experience was awesome! I expected the food to be spicy, but it wasn’t at all. It took us quite a bit though to figure out what we wanted to order because we didn’t understand the menu, so in the end the waiter just ordered for us.

While we hit up American food and Ethiopian food, we decided to leave Chinese food for Sunday February 10th. This day marks the lunar Chinese year. With a dense Asian population in DC, you bet that Chinatown would throw an extensive Chinese parade to celebrate the lunar new year. With excitement and a new camera, I decided to go to the parade. It was great seeing the dragon waved around and the snake, but what was the point of having Turkish airline hostesses walking down the parade? Why were their kids in card boxes walking through the parade? It was quite actually quite disappointing because I as ready for a Chinese immersion, but overall it was great getting a chance to be part of the celebration and having the opportunity to see Chinatown.

Quite a stressful week I can’t wait till its over! Boston, Massachusetts you’re next on my bucket list!

I “snow” I shouldn’t Be Doing This

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By amrawi

University Yard5 missed calls. 3 text messages. 7 Facebook messages; it was no wonder that I woke up at 8am frightened by the endless amount of buzzes generating out of my phone. As I managed to build up the strength to open a glimpse of my right eye, I caught one word on the text message, that sent me jumping straight out of my bed and to my living room window.

I stood startled. I was mesmerized by what I saw in front of me.  Looking out of the window I gave out an expression; quite similar to the one I gave to my parents when I was told that Santa Clause didn’t exist. I was star struck. I have never seen such a sight. This sure is nothing like home, I thought to myself, as I saw tiny droplets of white, fluffy snow fall onto the ground. My eyes grew wider as I traced each tiny droplet of ice, as it accumulated one after the other creating a thick blanket that covered the cement sidewalk below  me.

With the biggest smile on my face, I couldn’t help but take out my hand and touch a fallingHanna Outside Amsterdam snowflake. One. Two. Three; I waited till about ten fluffy identical snowflakes accumulated onto my palm (which explains why I am now sitting in bed suffering from a major cold). Extremely impressed by the cotton texture of snow, I ran into my room ( trying very hard to not wake up my roommate, due to my excessive enthusiasm) and within minutes I was pushing open the doors to a white covered field ahead of me.

Twirling around in the snow, and attempting to make a snowball out of the less than one-inch snow on the ground, people could tell I was not from here. With giggles in the background, and people questioning my behavior, I heard Marie, an exchange student from Prague call out “ Typical Hanna, I knew I would find you here”.

With my jacket covered in snow and my shivering hands turning almost blue, it was about time for my 10am class. Unaware that the snow doesn’t really come off your clothes that easily, I had to enter my French class with a black coat covered in cotton-like snow. Professor Marshall gave out one loud laugh and I was told to have a seat.

HannaMany people may take this sight for granted but for someone coming from Egypt, who is used to the desert sun, it really was a beautiful view. It’s not everyday that I get to snuggle up on the couch with a warm cup of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, and trace snow flakes as they fall on to the ground.Car Covered in Snow