Tag Archives: U.S. Capitol

I’m FINALLY in the US

Standard

By sarajebbar

After a flight from Casablanca to Paris, another one to New York, two Airtrains from JFK to the bus station, four hours bus from New York to Washington DC and a taxi, and I’M FINALLY AT GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY.

It’s true that I was super exhausted especially after pushing two large suitcases and a heavy “extra-large” backpack for long hours. But I can’t describe how excited I was to finally be in the US and start the orientation week. If I have to use one word to describe this week, I’ll say that the orientation week was LIT.

 

 

Basically, the orientation week was a combination of necessary things we had to do and fun activities.We attended many conferences about life in GWU and DC, academics, housing, health, registration… We also had many trips to Target, banks, phone providers. Having these activities was really helpful especially when you don’t know anything about the life in the US. But I bet you don’t want to know more details about these so let’s move to the fun part of the orientation. We had a US Capitol tour, the White House and moonlight monuments tour. In Morocco, we didn’t study anything about America in any of our high-school history classes. So, I really loved being in the heart of the American history and getting to know more about the culture and the stories of previous presidents. (FACT: Did you know that a bathtub where a certain president died is still in the Capitol).

 

 

 

 

 

We also had a Georgetown tour. This place reminded me a lot of Europe: nice architecture, a variety of shopping stores and different “smelling-good” restaurants. The tour was kind of short but I’m definitely planning to come back to try different cupcakes the neighborhood is offering. The last event that was SO fun was the Washington Nationals Game. In Morocco, Baseball is not that common, I even think that we don’t have a baseball team. So, that was my first time watching a game. Of course, I didn’t understand a thing about the game and its rules and I was just cheering for the team when people were doing so. What I liked the most about the game was the exciting atmosphere and taking a lot of pictures in the stadium haha.

But what I loved the most about orientation week is: People. The orientation team and the ExO leaders were so nice and helpful. You realize tell how much time they spent before our arrival to prepare for such well organized and successful orientation. We also had many ice-breaking games with all the exchange students. During this week, I spent time with people from all over the world. So not only I got to know American culture but also each student’s culture. It was so interesting to share the differences between our countries and the US and getting to know each other more during this week.

That week was certainly the perfect way to start my journey in GWU. Well, summer vacation is ending and classes are going to start soon and by now I think I’m ready for that. (Not sure though T.T)

Stay Tuned

IG: @SaraJebbar

Advertisements

DC – a place like no other

Standard

My first week of orientation at GW has came to an end and the semester officially commences next week. Last week saw my schedule packed to the brim with numerous orientation activities and the highlights for me were the visit to the US Capitol and the Monuments by Moonlight walk.

The Capitol is home to the United States Congress and sits atop the Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall. Once inside, we were greeted by wall murals and statues of presidents past. Having being born and bred in Singapore, I was unfamiliar with most of the individuals who were carved in stone (or rather, bronze and white marble). However, hearing names like Jefferson and Lincoln and standing in the same spot where they fought for rights and pushed groundbreaking policies was simply surreal. Our guide was really politically charged and always ready with a joke or a piece of political trivia to inject humour into the tour.

audrey-1-17-3

Besides a journey to the past, we were treated to a glimpse of the future. Preparation works were in place for the impending presidential inauguration in a week and we walked the floors soon to be graced by an incoming president.  If you think structures look great in the day, you’ll be stunned when you see them bathed in moonlight. During the Monuments by Moonlight walking tour, I’ve never felt more fortunate to be in GW because of its accessibility to landmarks like the White House, Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. We covered the entire journey on foot under 2 hours, including stops for monument trivia and breaks along the way. The convenience was simply amazing and I definitely foresee myself taking long walks (or even runs) along this route.

Back at home in Singapore, food is synonymous with culture. Upon arriving in DC, I was pleasantly surprised to find a huge offering of diverse foods. Having landed several days prior to orientation, my roommate took me to several cafes and showed me where to get groceries. We were extremely lucky to get reservations at Founding Farmers for Sunday brunch – the chicken and waffle was simply divine. Along downtown DC and in the Foggy Bottom district, there are many Korean and Mexican food stalls. Food trucks lined the streets in Farragut Square, creating affordable options for students. The GW Campus itself is a foodie’s dream come true and I see my previous resolve to cook regularly crumbling slowly as time passes.

audrey-1-17-2

We ended off orientation week with an NBA game – my very first. Washington Wizards beat the Philly 76-ers 109-93 amidst loud cries and sonorous cheers. While I had some trouble at first following the game and its scoring rules, Wikipedia took care of that in under a minute. Everyone in the stands were cheering and shouting for the Wizards — I followed suit and felt a surge of team pride even though I barely understood the game.

audrey-1-17-1

Well, that’s all for now. It’s time to recharge and get ready for school!