Tag Archives: Spring Break

San Diego and Los Angeles (Spring Break part 2)

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By anthonyscheergwu.

So after realizing that there’s not much to do on a Monday at Tijuana, we decided to head back to America and explore the West coast. As I expected, going back to America took much more time than entering Mexico. After being asked 8 – 9 questions I was able to pass the border. We went to an outlet that was basically on the border and spent a few hours shopping. Wasn’t the smartest decision cause our flight ticket consisted of bringing absolutely no luggages and at the mall I ended buying an extra bag to fit everything we bought (luckily the person checking us in for our flight back to DC was French and so we got through with no problem). 

That night, we were exhausted and decided to rest up. After eating a good dinner, and watching a movie, we got restless and bought on impulse a return ticket to LA. 8 hours later we were on a bus to LA and by noon we arrived. In the span of 5 hours, we walked through Melrose Avenue, the Walk of Fame, and went up to the Griffin Observatory. I then decided to take an Uber across town to go to Venice beach and was stuck in so much traffic that I stayed in the Uber for an hour and a half. It wasn’t too bad though, the driver had been to Myanmar before and so the ride ended up going by really fast as we talked throughout.

Venice beach was really nice, It was a shame that it was really windy but nevertheless I really enjoyed it and decided to come back this summer. I walked around the beach, watched skaters practice at the skatepark, watched people graffiti the walls around the beach, and saw muscle beach. I loved the atmosphere there because the many things to do at this beach gathered so many people with different interest and I thought that was really nice. I then took an electric scooter and rode all the way to Santa Monica Pier which was pretty fun, (It definitely beats dealing with traffic). After walking around the pier I went to pick up some friends at UCLA for dinner. The campus was huge and it looked more like a resort then a school. Therefore, I would like to congratulate the students at UCLA for getting any schoolwork done because with the beach not too far away and the LA weather, I would always feel tempted to do anything but work in a library!

The next day I ate at different places around LA and spent a few hours on the beach trying to get a tan. After a nice and relaxing day, I headed back to the station and took the bus back to San Diego.

In San Diego I visited La Jolla which was absolutely beautiful. We walked around the cliffs, saw the seals and ate at a UCSD restaurant which was by the beach. The views were great and luckily it was a very sunny day which made everything that much prettier. I went to eat at In-N-Out which was on my bucket list and had the best ramen I’ve ever had at this place called Raki Raki (go there if you are in SD). I then saw the campus housing of SDSU which did not make me jealous at all (they have jacuzzis and a swimming pool in the common areas)…

By the end of the day, the fatigue due to a lack of sleep throughout my spring break starting hitting me so I ended the day in bed watching Netflix and falling asleep at 11. The next day I headed directly to the airport for my flight back to DC!

I was able to rest on the flight and throughout the day Friday in my room. By 6pm I got restless again and booked a snowboarding trip for the next day which I will talk about in my next post!

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SPRING BREAK

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By recueroraquel.


For spring break I went back home (home is Madrid for those of you who don’t know!) because my grandpa was sick and since my family is mostly abroad we try to go visit as much as we can. Apart of making my grandparents really happy I was able to see my friends and fly for a couple
days to Morocco (Fact: the shortest border between Europe and Africa is the Gibraltar Strait that separates Spain and Morocco by 14 kilometers and where both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet).

Madrid is a really beautiful city located in the center of the Iberian Peninsula, where Spain and Portugal are. With around 6 million inhabitants, Madrid is one of the most important European
cities and an really welcoming hub for immigrants from Latin America and North and Sub- Saharan African countries, as well as Eastern Europeans. This has enriched Madrid, turning it into a multicultural, diverse and unique spot loved by tourists from all around the world.

What I loved the most about going back for the break was definitely the weather. Since the moment I landed I was able to get rid of my coat and my scarf, enjoy the early spring, make a barbecue with my friends and just lay down in my yard with my bunny pet. (Who doesn’t want a
picture of a bunny?!)

Also, even though I didn’t know about it when I bought the plane tickets, I was able to attend my Masters graduation that was scheduled for the same day I arrived! As some of you might know, this is my second BA program and during my junior and sophomore years I studied a MA in
Madrid, for which I just graduated. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bring much luggage and my mom decided to be my stylist. This was the result.

Another great thing I was able to do was to lecture in my home university. A professor requested me to lecture his two hours course in “Security Models” on Monday and so I did. I prepared a lecture about the differences between Spain and the US when talking about prisons, gun control and incarceration. (I highly recommend a documentary in Netflix called 13th about mass incarceration in the US and slavery). I had 62 students and I had so much fun. Here you can see me faking it until I make it.

After this exhausting vacation I went to Fes, in Morocco to visit Amine, a friend I actually met at GW during the fall semester. Although I barely had two days there we drove (just him, to be honest I shit my pants just by thinking about driving in Morocco) 1,000 kilometers! We went to Ifrane, where his university is, and then we went to Rabat, which is by the coast since I’m a sea lover. There I was able to lie in the sand and nap while just relaxing which is something I miss so much when in DC. Then we came back to Fes, one of the oldest cities in Morocco, from where I flew back to Madrid before heading back to DC. Here are some pictures.

Springbreak no springbreak

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I did not have a spring break. That was completely my choice. Despite the absence of classes, I kept working at my internship, where business went on as usual in a quiet DC, depleted of students.

I spent the week seeing pictures of friends that were actually on vacation: Florida, Mexico, California, you name it. I came to the realization that maybe I should have taken some days off. D.C was cold and empty. Work was unusually little stimulating and fairly repetitive. Other than a cool event at the Organization of American States, where they served amazing Colombian coffee, I spent the rest of the week doing  mostly secretarial work.

I still managed to have fun after work. I tried a few food places that I had never tried, such as Founding Farmers, which I enjoyed.

I climbed up the rooftop of the Hepburn apartments, which has to offer one of the best views in all DC. Also, the Hepburn is an amazingly classy apartment complex. There is a pool on the rooftop and so many amenities. The Hepburn is the epitomization of wealthy, corporate D.C. Unnecessarily luxurious, in my opinion. Although it could be argued that Luxury is by definition unnecessary, depending on your understanding of necessity. I also did something productive and future-related: enrolled in Masters. Starting in August, I will be in the SciencesPo Economic Law Master in Paris. Cool, right?

Anyhow, going back to my spring break. I managed to have fun regardless of the city’s emptiness.

One thing, though, was occupying my mind over the past week.  An underlying sensation of an imminent, fast-approaching and unpredictable threat. The ancient romans would call this feeling “horror vacui”, which literally means fear of the void. Far from being scared, I felt some sort of uneasy feeling as if something was just not right. After a lengthy and thorough internal dialogue, I had an epiphany. Today, March the 19th, it is the beginning of the end.

I have been in the US since August. It will soon be 7 months since I’ve been here. And less than 2 months left of the exchange.

Spring break has been the turning point. 75% of my exchange year is now gone, and I don’t know how to feel about it. The second semester is literally running in overdrive mode, and it feels that I have no control over the things that I wanna do. My days go by very quickly, from a report to a memo, from a midterm to an essay, with little time left to stop and stare.

I have to find a solution to this: in the coming days, I will draft a bucket list of what I should do before I leave the US at the end of this academic year.

Stay tuned.

Time to Say Goodbye!

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By sophieheard

   It has been such an eventful fours months that it seems crazy that it’s all over! It has been a week of last celebrations, reminiscing and goodbyes. As some people head home and others move on to their next
adventures, it’s hard to accept that you’re not going to be spending every day with the same bunch of people that you have come to know and love.

Luckily, it’s not a final goodbye! People may live on opposite sides of the planet but its definitely not the last time you get to see each other. The experiences you share don’t disappear and the bonds you make last a lifetime. That’s the thing about studying abroad – yes you study and yes you are abroad. But it is the people that you share it all with that really make the difference.

Looking back on the semester, it has been packed with protests, parties, food, travel, learning, sport and friends! I got the opportunity to cross so many things off my bucket list! From witnessing the inauguration to participating in the Women’s March and Muslim Ban Protest. Spring Break in Miami to road tripping down South! Watching the Wizards, Tar Heels and Colonials win! Being in central park during a blizzard with no one else around. Pedal boating on the Potomac surrounded by the cherry blossoms. The countless nights spent down at the Lincoln Memorial. And not to forget the more mundane nights (which are also some of the best) of cooking all together in Shenkman Hall.

Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn new things (both in and especially out of the classroom), try new things, learn what you like and don’t like, travel, meet people from all over the world! It is six months that you get to attempt anything and everything – fail at some and succeed at others.

It truly has been a great time at GWU, in DC and in the US. Foggy Bottom very quickly became our home that it feels genuinely weird to be leaving. To all those that made the past semester possible – a massive thank-you! And to all those who are about to arrive – enjoy!!!!

Goodbye America – it’s been fun!

 

DistriCt farewell

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By audrey

 It sounds cliche, but it seriously seemed like last week when we were walking around with our group leaders around DC, taking in the sights and making multiple trips to Target for groceries. Three days ago, I sat for my last final and yesterday, I bade farewell to my home of five months – DC.

The final week was a whirl of meeting up with different groups of friends, trying out new restaurants and revisiting ones we’ve been before. Parties were held, apartments were cleaned and emptied. Sleepless nights weren’t because of cramming for finals, but rather the rush to pack to hit the move-out deadline.

In retrospect, choosing to do my exchange in DC was probably one of the best choices I’ve ever made. From the election rush and the slew of protests in January and February to the proximity of popular spots like Florida that came in really handy during spring break and finally to the host of lawn festivals and restaurant week when warmer weather rolled around in April and May – I constantly found ways to entertain myself regardless of the seasons. GWU presented me with an endless string of opportunities – from joining hikes with student group GW TRAILS to being accepted as a member of a co-ed fraternity to experience Greek Life to attending career fairs and related events, I had reaped immense knowledge and managed to immerse myself in a whole new experience this semester.

Perhaps one of my best memories from DC is visiting the
monuments at practically any time of day. From having picnics on the national mall and reading a book on the steps behind the Lincoln Memorial – these are experiences unique to DC/GWU students (to the envy of many). Bored at night? No problem, round up a few friends and go for a walk of the national monuments basking in moonlight. Feel like you’ve been eating too much recently? The scenic views of your running route along the national mall provide the definitive motivation.

I am grateful for the friendships forged, the memories created and the help I’ve received in navigating these 5 months of independent living. Thank you to everyone who’s made a difference!

Audrey out. (Mic drop)

Spring Break – continued

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By audrey

Fresh off our Yosemite hike, we immediately drove back to LA where we took a well-needed rest for our next adventure – traversing through the canyons. We planned on visiting Bryce Canyon, Antelope Canyon and the Grand Canyon over the next 3 to 4 days and combined, it was one heck of a drive.

Situated in Utah, Bryce Canyon is known for its crimson-colored hoodoos, or spire-shaped rock formations. We drove to sunset point, which as the name suggests, is famed for its aerial views during sunset of the canyon. As we had time to spare, we actually chanced upon another lookout point called Cedar Breaks National Monument and I reckoned this was my favorite spot in Utah not simply because of its picturesque views, but also because of its coincidental nature on our trip. Of a high altitude and bordering a ski resort, we were not dressed for this – half of us were wearing shorts because of the 90 degree AZ weather while we were driving in. Nonetheless, as we clawed knee deep into powdery snow and as the winds blew our ears numb, the view and the ensuing pictures were worth the effort.

Next up was Antelope Canyon. Do note that you’ll need to engage a tour when visiting Antelope Canyon as private campers or visitors will be barred. This formation was surreal – it actually looked like something out of Lord of The Rings or Game of Thrones; I half imagined Orcs to be marching behind us as we descended into the Lower Antelope Canyon. The tour guides were really helpful, constantly pointing out the different shapes and creatures morphed by the rock formations (although I didn’t understood like half of them, it was still fun to hear).

 

The final one is perhaps the most famous of all – Grand Canyon. The rock formation in Grand Canyon is unique due to the many layers of red rock, revealing the conditions it has weathered through millions of years. While we did not have much time at our last stop, the scenery was indeed breathtaking; I also managed to mail out several postcards from the gift shop right outside one of the lookout points.

Oh and since Horseshoe Bend was a 20 min drive away – it didn’t hurt! I mean, what is 20 min more of driving when we’ve been driving for weeks, am I right?

 

Many of my friends back in Singapore chose Europe as an exchange destination because they felt it had more to offer in terms of nature. After traversing 4 national parks in a week, I don’t think I’ve been more humbled by what Mother Nature has to offer – I’ve definitely made the right decision in coming to the United States and using Spring Break to get away from city life and into the arms (literally, in Bryce Canyon) of Gaia.

I’m thinking of doing part of the Appalachian trial in West Virginia before the semester ends. Anybody interested? (Hint: I need a driver though)

Back to the daily grind for now.

SPBK 2017

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By audrey

Waking up to warm sunlight on my face and stepping onto the tarmac at SFO feeling the first hint of perspiration — Spring Break has begun.

Five of us set off on Friday morning for the West Coast, and a gruelling 5-hour flight later (the lack of entertainment really roughens it up), we landed at SFO. Day one saw us arriving late, way too late to do what we had planned: visiting the Golden Gate Bridge and taking a trip to Palo Alto. In the end, we hit SF downtown and ended up eating our way through it. I’d recommend the Cheesecake Factory in Union Square — go early though the line gets really long.

Day 2 was jam-packed from morning to night; we raced for the bridge and had time left over to shop in union square before having our dinner from Safeway right on the steps of the Caltrain station on 4th Street.  A 6 hour night bus ride later,  we found ourselves in Downtown Los Angeles. DTLA at dawn was creepy, partly because we lived in a really sketchy stretch – and mostly because anywhere that’s half decent was booked weeks ago and we only did it after midterms. As we were only there to take a short break before getting on the move again, it was still not that bad.

Ah, the highlight of California — Yosemite National Park. It was surreal, visiting after nearly 10 years, this time with friends. As it is spring, some parts of the park was closed, so we did not get to see Glacier Point. Nonetheless, we hiked 3 miles on John Muir and was rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Vernal Fall.

Growing up in an island state that is Singapore where the highest hill stands at 450m or so and with absolutely close to zero natural landscapes, Yosemite is a breath of fresh air (figuratively and literally). Daily morning jogs didn’t feel like a chore or an obligation – it was something I looked forward to once I opened my eyes at the crack of dawn. In the company of friends and companions, I was empowered to hike and see more of what Yosemite has to offer.

Three days in Yosemite were simply not enough – I’d have to come back again and do more hikes.

Part 2 of SPBK 2017 TBD.