Tag Archives: Labor Day

First week of classes

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By sarajebbar

When GWU students think about the 28th of August, they all think about that miserable day that marks the end of summer vacation and the first day of classes. Well, I think about it that way too but it’s also the day I turned 20 years old. It’s not the special 21st birthday but for me it’s the beginning of the new phase of a young woman. It’s also special because it’s the first time I celebrated in the US away from my old friends and family. Celebrating my birthday before the start of the semester with my amazing new friends was the best way to start this upcoming year and especially this semester in GWU.

Sometimes I had that feeling that we’re just here for a summer vacation. But now it’s the end of orientation week and the start of why we’re here for: STUDIES (I always need to remind myself of that). The first week of classes ended very fast especially when I squeezed all my classes in a three days schedule. Unlike my other friends who found the studies in GWU really different than their home universities, I didn’t find much difference in the way the classes are taught since I was already studying in an American-based system university.  What I wasn’t expecting is finishing the first chapters of all my courses in the first week of classes. Usually in my university, it’s called syllabus week and all what we do is chilling and getting to know each other. From here I realized that probably the classes are going to be harder than in my home university. I also liked the GWU professors and how they use their experiences in the field to explain the concepts of the chapters. And I’m ready to study in an American university like I’ve always dreamt of.

The Friday of this week was Eid Al Adha (Sacrifice Fest). Basically, it’s one the most important religious holiday for the Muslim community. Celebrating it for the first time away from my family was kind of hard. Fortunately, The Muslim Student Association in GWU organized a prayer in the university and we had pancakes and donuts’ brunch in Founding Farmers with everyone wearing traditional clothes from their home countries. It’s true that it didn’t feel like the celebration in my country with sheep barbecue… but it was a nice initiative from the MSA to make us feel home and I got the opportunity to get to know many people from my community.

We ended the long weekend with the Labor day. I didn’t get the chance to travel since I wanted to tour more the city so we went to a Caribbean fest. It was a very nice day since I got to try different types of food and dance to African and Caribbean music. I loved how multicultural Washington DC and how you can feel tropical in an island just in a fest next to the White house! 😀

IG:@Sarajebbar

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Adjusting to my new life.

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By evavilloslada

It’s been two weeks since I found myself alone in the airport with three huge bags and without knowing anyone in this new country. So many things have happened since that day, I’m not alone anymore and Washington DC is not so foreign now.

These two weeks have been great so far. All the expectations I had are coming true, not only about visiting the city but the people I have met. The exchange students are great, everyone has been so nice to me and they have made it so easy for me to feel comfortable. Studying abroad is hard because you live far away from your family and friends but also because  you have to start from the beginning. Nevertheless it was much easier than I thought. Clearly this is thanks to all the leaders that have accompanied us during this week, and also thanks to Hillary and Ami because I don’t know what I would have done without them and all their help.

The orientation week was overwhelming, we did so many different things, it was really like a summer camp but with a lot of information being thrown at us all the time. Back at home we don’t have this kind of things. In Universidad Autonoma de Madrid you’re on your own from day one, but here we had so many people taking care of us I hardly felt I was alone in a new country till the week ended.

So many activities were planned, we had a barbecue the first day, a visit to the Capitol, a tour to Georgetown, and much more things. My favorite ones were the baseball game, not for the game itself because I didn’t understand most of the things that were happening, but because of the atmosphere, and also the night tour to visit all the monuments, the views are breathtaking and the Lincoln memorial is just amazing.

 

The orientation week sadly ended and classes started. At first I was kind of terrified but everything has been really good, and I actually like my classes. The system is different from the one back at home, basically because we don’t have to participate that much and we don’t have so many work to do at home, but I’ll probably get used to it.

 

As we didn’t have any classes on Monday due to Labor Day we decided on going to Philadelphia on Sunday. It was a one day trip but we visited everything we could, like the independence hall, liberty bell, the city hall and more places. We were rushing everywhere because we didn’t want to miss anything but it was worth it. It was fun learning more about the declaration of independence and seeing  the place where United States was born. Also the city was  beautiful, a mixture of old and new architecture that I really loved. I actually recommend you guys to save at least one  day to go to Philly, you’ll love it.