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By lizzhart

A junior from Franklin, Mass, I'm majoring in Public Health and enrolled in a 5 year joint program to get my masters. My program in Thailand focuses on learning about different Southeast Asian health systems and developing a community health project related to Thailand's key health issues. At GW I am a part of DC's oldest sketch/improv group, receSs, and I nanny after class for two of the coolest cats on capitol hill.

This semester I'm going to take every opportunity to explore my surroundings as I've explored DC and learn how Thailand pulls off an effective universal health care system. Riding elephants, jungle excursions, and visiting every wat and incredible site in the southeast region are all part of the plan. I am also going to explore the Thai diet and overcome my aversion for all food beyond pizza, mac and cheese, and waffles...

By maxikaplan

Around this time four months ago I began writing my first blog post for GW, and this semester I’m lucky enough to get to do it again. For those who didn’t read my previous postings, I’m studying at the London School of Economics for my junior year, which means I get the pleasure of staying in this great city for approximately nine months. My previous blog, embarrassingly enough, read as more of a diary than a list of new experiences or places I’ve visited, and I do hope to make this one slightly more contextual. With that in mind, I thought it would be best to kick off my first post by talking a bit about the traveling I did throughout my 4 weeks winter break.

Since I wouldn’t be starting my traveling until the second week of my vacation, I spent the first mostly catching up on work I needed to do. At LSE, the incentives for getting work done during the year are close to none: your only grade throughout the entire year comes down to one final exam. After getting done what needed to be done, I took off for Paris with two of my good friends at school, both of whom find great pleasure in ridiculing me for the contents of this blog. This was, by far, my favorite vacation I had ever taken, because our plan was to have no plan, and it couldn’t have worked out better. When you don’t plan things like this, anything can happen, and our adventure included five cities: Paris, Brussels, Brugge, Berlin, and Dublin.

Although Paris was by far my favorite city, we got locked inside of a government building in Brussels, nearly hit by fireworks on New Years in Berlin, and ate some of the best chocolate of our lives in Brugge. This vacation did, unfortunately, hit pretty steeply into my wallet, but I don’t think I will ever in my life regret enjoying those three weeks to the fullest, because it is truly a once in a lifetime experience. Without going into every detail of the trip, it was, in short, a fantastic time. But what I look forward to even more is the next trip I’ll be taking in March through LSE: hitchhiking from London to Croatia. Totaling one week, with three days to get there and another three in Zagreb, this “vacation” is actually a charity event, where teams of three raise money and compete to see who can arrive in Zagreb first.

This semester is going to be a great one, especially since many of my close friends from GW will be joining me to study in London for their study abroad. This week, however, is shaping up to be one of a lot of reading and finance problem sets. Once I finish all of those, and bungee jump on Saturday, I will get back to you this time next week.

By catrionaschwartz

This is my last week in Brooklyn before I leave for Rome! Preparing to leave is one of the most boring, stressful and important parts of study abroad—that and packing up at the end. There are endless little tasks that need to be carried out before you can leave when all you want to do is go: calling the credit card company to tell them you’ll be away, sorting out your cell phone plan for when you’re abroad, checking that your visa is in order and that you have the proper documentation for residence in your country of destination, and then of course packing as much clothing as you can fit in the largest legally allowable suitcase money can buy.

All of this can seemingly cut into the romance of study abroad a bit. It’s certainly not Fellini and gelato and walking along the Tiber on a sunny day. The thing is though, when people talk about study abroad helping you grow and change as a person, all of this planning is a big part of that as well. When I studied in London last semester I had to deal with these bureaucratic type issues on my own for the first time, although I did always have the lifeline of calling my parents and my study abroad advisers at GW (and of course at my host institution in London).  Dealing with those issues—most monumentally trying to get a visa for Italy as an American in London—gave me more confidence in myself and my ability to deal with issues in the future. So embrace it a bit, as much as it can be boring.

       Still, for all that making mistakes is a growing experience I will give some packing tips that I learned from my last semester abroad to finish up this preparation-post:.

         1. Bring adaptors! This is so important because you do not want to arrive at your hotel/dorm/home-stay etc. and realize that your phone is dead and you have no way to charge it!

            2. Bring something that reminds you of home for that one week where you might be feeling a little bit homesick.

           3. Bring shower shoes: you don’t know what the shower situation will be like. Be prepared.

            4. Also about grooming: there is a chance that the country you’re going to will not sell your usual hair products/make-up etc. so if you swear by something it might be worth it to bring it. Still, suitcase space is a precious commodity. Use it wisely.

            5. Check what the weather/temperature situation will be like where you’re going to study. You’ll likely need warm and cold weather clothes which is a pain because it means you have to bring less of both to fit into your already bursting suitcase.

            6. In relation to #5: don’t over pack. I really did when I went to London and even if your parents are bringing you to the airport and people are picking you up, two barely-legal-they-are-so-ridiculously-Americanly-big suitcases are not fun to lug around when you’re trekking through the airport on your own.

Hopefully some of that will be helpful! In the meantime I’m trying to get my fill of home time before Rome—as well as parse together some really pathetic Italian. Till next week!

By maxikaplan

I cannot complain: Friday was the last week of class for my first term (what LSE calls Michaelmas term) and, as luck would have it, I have four weeks of vacation.  I should say that this isn’t a complete vacation since LSE does expect students to study and review throughout the break, but it is as much of a vacation as I could ask for.  If going to Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Dublin isn’t a vacation, I don’t know what is.

Within the last week or two I have seen a few friends I made in London actually leave to go home because their study abroad was for only one semester.  This made me realize two things.  First was that I have only been in London for two and a half months, which means I have much more to experience here than what I have seen thus far.  Second, I could not believe how fast time had gone by, and how lucky I am to have the opportunity to stay in London all the way until June.  In just a few months this city does feel somewhat like a new home to me, and leaving here will be just as hard as it was to leave GW and my family in New Jersey.  But I have been reminded lately that senior year is closer than it seems as I start to find places for my friends and I to live when I am back.  With all this talk of the future, let’s talk about what’s going on now.

I will not be leaving for Paris—the first leg of my trip—until a week from today, which means that I have a week to myself in London to read up on class material while exploring parts of London I have yet to see.  Thankfully, this came on Saturday in the form of what is called Santacon, a worldwide event where thousands of people in different cities dress as Santa Claus and essentially have one big party in the city center.  Unfortunately, this week will actually be a bit quieter since some of my friends have headed home for their vacation, but nonetheless I will take some time to go to museums I haven’t been to and finally see Les Miserables, which my uncle bought me a ticket to.  I’ve taken this weekend to digest my school work—that is, not do any at all—and reflect on my time here in London so far, and I’ve really come to see how much I have to stop and appreciate what is going on since it is all happening so fast.  Everybody I speak to always tells me to enjoy my time abroad because it will not be here forever, and there is no truer a statement.

My next blog post will be written for the first time ever outside of London!  It will be my last post and I think that is a great way to end what has been a great experience in writing down my time here.

By DandyLion

As my long, extended study abroad experience comes to a close - the semester here started at the end of July/the beginning of August - work at LBV has settled down a bit. The last month or so has been filled with the same old, same old, but as LBV grows and hires more interns and employees, it isn't quite as overwhelming as one might imagine for a small, local tourism company. The good part about the bit of research I was doing in obtaining information about popular lodging was that even if the office was full and computers therefore occupied, I could continue the online portion of that research from home! GoogleDocs is really a handy tool that LBV definitely utilizes in the best ways.

I would say that this was also a challenge - the office being so tiny, finding workspace where everyone is situated has been a little speed bump recently. Scheduling becomes very hectic with so many employees doing a plethora of jobs in every aspect of the company - from the mechanics to the receptionists to the walking tour guides to the biking tour guides to the vineyard tour guides and between the administration and business that comes with the upcoming summer travelers - not to mention the recent presidential, senate, deputado, and other official elections here in Chile - it is sometimes easy to get lost in the masses! The work I had been doing in the maintaining of good relations with the hostels and hotels is definitely not overshadowed as it is an integral part of keeping a good customer base, but sometimes finding new avenues and ventures tends to not be the primary focus.

The most rewarding part of being a part of the LBV team for me I think is the feeling that even when I am not present, I am still guiding and directing people to the office to take advantage of all of the wonderful tourist opportunities that the company offers. Whether it is between perhaps family members, friends, other visitors, or locals here from the city, it is really neat to be able to feel like a part of something here, especially considering Santiago is such a great place that I can see myself returning - even after the upcoming semester in which I have decided to stay and extend my study abroad experience! The impact may be fleeting in the sense that tourism is not exactly a permanent state of location; however, the efforts made at LBV can't be undermined and I will continue to advocate for them regardless of where I am!

By sdemetry

Liebe GW Studenten-

I hope you are all enjoying the winter months in DC. Take full advantage of the snow that you appear to be experiencing- it is a slush-fest in Berlin, and no one is enjoying it.

I can't believe I'm even saying this, but it is finals week here- that means that the semester is ENDING. I cannot believe that I've already been in Berlin for half of a year, it's flown by... luckily, I'm staying here through the end of next semester. I am definitely not ready to give up the my newfound wonders and all of the small joys of European life in exchange for America just yet.

So far my internship with The Nature Conservancy has been great. As I mentioned last time, I'm getting a lot of experience that I wasn't able to get in DC, and that has been a major plus for me. Being trusted with concrete and legitimate tasks is the most gratifying thing about being an intern, because you actually matter. Now that I've come to realize that,  I definitely do not want to return to the days of coffee-grabbing and staple-removing any time soon.

But, even though my internship has been amazing, there have also been some rough spots along the way. The German office is run much differently than the American- I mean that as generally as possible, not simply in terms of TNC. The start and end time of the work day is much more lenient, there are wine tastings mid-day and the employees all seem to be friends with each other. This is awesome, and I actually like it a lot more than the American mentality, but it can be very detrimental to one's work ethic. I have had multiple experiences where, since I am the intern inhabiting the once empty "party" desk, I have been asked to shut my laptop, stop working for the day and enjoy the party. They're using my table anyway, so there is no "need" for me to be working. I generally laugh and shrug it off, shift to the very edge of the desk and attempt to continue my work while they set up the cheese and crackers- but when there is a party happening on your desk, it is near impossible to get work done. However, I am happy to say that it isn't a challenge that I haven't overcome. For every minute I allow myself to slack off and enjoy the party, I either stay late, or if that isn't possible, work from home on my assignments. Using this ingenious technique, I've managed to keep my output at the same level, party or not. Not too complicated of a concept, but it really does take motivation to do intern-work from home with a full course load.

Other than that the only other challenges I have experienced are due to the international nature of the company. It isn't uncommon for my boss to be out of the office for weeks at a time, and when he isn't there, it's difficult to get work done. Things need to constantly be edited and proofed, and when there is no one around to instruct me, the days can be pretty unproductive. But that's to be expected. The office doesn't regularly have interns, so they sometimes flounder around in the overseeing of my work and assigning of new projects, and the projects are much more involved than the average intern, as I previously mentioned.

I have definitely made a small difference in the Nature Conservancy Europe, and of that I am very proud. The assignments I have completed have been put into direct use, from budget planning to powerpoint presentations, and I have been able to see the result of my work clearly. I am also excited that I've been able to talk in German in a professional setting without much difficulty.

As I continue my research into the coming semester, I hope to become even more adept at conversing "auf Deutsch" in a professional setting. There are many facets of this internship that I can work on and improve over the next few months in order to make it as beneficial as possible. So far, it has been absolutely worth it. I've had an amazing experience and I don't think it's comparable to anything I could do in the United States.

With that, there isn't much left to say! I am now preparing to take some time off of my research to take a much needed Christmas vacation in Salzburg. The holiday season is upon us, and I cannot wait to experience it through a European lens.

SO: Happy Holiday Season everyone, I hope you're all ready to take a little break from your internships as well.

Until Next Time,


By sdemetry

Hello, Hello GW,

Once again, you are reading the musings of Stephanie Demetry- a Junior spending one year in Berlin. Unlike my last few entries, however, there is much more exciting internship-related information to relay as I round out my third month of work with The Nature Conservancy.
Let me start by saying that I have been given much more freedom and responsibility than I was anticipating. As an intern with TNC's DC branch last spring, I was not trusted with very many concrete tasks- as many of you are probably familiar with, I instead ripped out staples, scanned and shredded documents for 16 hours a week. Here in Berlin I have already prepared power-point presentations for the Team to present at international conferences, developed a public funding strategy for a project involving reform of the timber industry in Southeast Asia, and am currently working on starting and building up a database of company profile reports for all organizations involved with TNC.
It has all proven to be a lot of work in combination with my studies, and I've been expected to work outside of the office as well- however, it's extremely rewarding.
I would like to think that I'm making a great impact on the local community- my powerpoint animation skills have been highly praised, and the new, young, "tech-savvy" intern, as I have been unofficially labeled, will be trusted with various important presentations throughout the year as well. I am particularly proud of the fact that I've managed to hoodwink everyone into thinking that I am some sort of Microsoft Works Guru.
All that I have done here in the last three months is real work that will benefit TNC both immediately and in the future, and that not only keeps me motivated to keep doing my absolute best work, it also makes me much more appreciative of, what I consider to be, a "true" internship. I am not being taken advantage of as unpaid work, but rather I feel as though I'm being treated as an equal in the office- they really want me to learn the ropes and become more comfortable with international environmental conservation. I feel much more like a colleague than a volunteer staple-remover, and that is a welcome change from the DC intern-environment that I've grown accustomed to.
On another note, the international aspect of this organization is also quite fascinating to me- I've had conference calls with my previous bosses from the United States, and we are now collaborating on an international project. Getting things done with different time zones and across different languages is definitely more difficult than I imagined. But, when everything works out it becomes all the more satisfying to know that your voice and hard work is spanning across continents.

I am now even more excited to see what the second half of this experience will bring. I have a solid project lined up that will take up the majority of my time between now and the end of the year, but once that is done, I'm not sure what will be waiting for me. Hopefully, I continue to acquire responsibility and do work that I can be proud of. We'll see!

Until next time,


By arosema93

Unfortunately this post is a little late, but it follows some extremely good news, I finished my exams!! We are finished up earlier as we are headed into the Australian summer. Unlike GW, the exam period is quite a bit longer, spanning almost a month and exams can be spread out however throughout the period. Last semester my exams were spread out very evenly with approximately one a week. This semester, however, they all took part in a compact schedule of four exams in five days, much more like what I’m used to at GW. Although, I was still working during the exam period which certainly cut down on studying time. Now, as move out day quickly approaches I have been in a rush to finish up tons of stuff. Selling things, packing, and figuring out things for travel and anything which requires a computer as my internet capabilities over the next few months will likely be sketchy at best. Traveling down to Melbourne at first, I will then head up the coast through Sydney and Brisbane and beyond. I’m extremely excited for my travels and to finally be done with uni. The year went by way too fast and at the same time seems like it lasted forever. I have built a whole life here in Australia and its really weird to picture myself ever going back home. While I didn’t really experience culture shock when I came here, I can totally see how reverse culture shock can be a thing. It will be incredibly weird to return to a life that I haven’t really been a part of for over a year. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep yall updated on my travels as best as possible, but no real promises.

By nlgyon

This is it you guys--my last post. It's a strange feeling. I'm so excited to see my family, friends, and pets and experience all the creature comforts I left in the states. But I've also just started to really get comfortable here; I've gained a decent grasp of conversational dialect, a good number of Jordanian friends, and several professional contacts. I've spent so many hours establishing a home away from home here, it feels very strange to just leave it all. Plus, there's still so much regional travel I would do if I had the time and the means. But I'll leave on Thursday with no regrets. I've seen, done and learned so much hear that it's impossible for me to leave with anything but gratitude in my heart--for the Jordanians who made me feel at home, for my DPS homies, and for all my professors and advisers.

And on that note, I'd like to thank the people who gave their money and support so that I could experience this rare adventure--my parents. Especially you, mom. I know this hasn't been easy for you, especially with Megan being in the Philippines and all, and I appreciate everything you've done to make this trip as great as it has been, even though I know you just want me to come home. I'm sorry I couldn't make the time to update you on everything that has been going in in my Jordan life, and I can't wait to come home and tell you about everything I forgot to during our Skype conversations. But this probably isn't the last time I'll be away. Until I settle down and start a family of my own, I'm going to keep traveling because the world has too many lessons in it to stay in one place. But just like this semester, I'll always call home, and I'll always come back, hopefully a better person than when I left--a person that you can continue to be proud of. I love you and dad lots, and I can't wait to come home.


By nlgyon

For the bigger adventures in Jordan and the region, travel guides do a pretty good job of giving you the low-down, but I thought I'd throw out some of the best aspects of my travels that you probably won't find in a travel guide.

Honorable mention: Sweet Chili Pepper Doritos

These actually might be available in the US but this is the first place I’ve seen them, and they’re really delicious. Especially with hummus. And I don’t even like Doritos usually.

10. Gerard’s

Really great ice cream. ‘Nuff said.

9. Java U

In a town where fast internet is almost as scarce as the water, Java U’s got your back. It’s a little pricey but if you need to download a lot of stuff it’s worth grabbing some argileh and spending the afternoon in this café in Abdoun.

8. The Dagger Store

That’s not actually what it’s called but it doesn’t really matter what it’s actually called because addresses aren’t really a thing here. Google Translate the phrase for “dagger store” and head downtown. If you head up a small metal staircase to the left of the amphitheater you should find a shop with traditional-looking daggers filling the walls and showcases. If you don’t, just ask around and I’m sure someone will point you in the right direction. The man who owns this store is as friendly as he his skilled, which is very. He can inscribe a message or word on a dagger blade for you and can carve a customized wooden hilt. They make for great souvenirs/gifts.

7. Amigo's

I enjoyed going to this laid-back bar/restaurant off of first circle because of: a decent happy hour, a billiards table, good music at a volume conducive to conversation, and it never really gets crowded before 10 PM or so.

6. مطعم زهور (Meta’am Zuhoor)

Literally, "Restaurant of Flowers." If you enroll in CIEE and are placed in their Jabal Amman residences, this restaurant is located really close--right behind Le Royal. you can get a plate of falafel, cucumber tomato salad, two scrambled eggs, a bowl of hummus with pita, and tea for only 2.5 JD (about $3.50).  The owner is super nice, and either doesn't know much English or doesn't use it, so it's a good place to practice your Arabic as well. Good times.

5. Al-Quds

.50JD for unanimously the best falafel sandwich in town. Located on Rainbow Street.

4. Al-Reem

My go-to shawerma shack. Probably will be the best shawerma sandwich you’ve had. Located on 2nd circle.

3. Bassam the Taxi Driver

When you go to see the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, Petra, Ma’in Hot Springs, Desert Castles, Jerash, Baptism Site, or any other domestic tourist attraction, call this cabbie. His friendly personality and eccentric CD collection turned our 1-hour cab ride into a 1-hour karaoke dance-in-your-seat-to-terrible-music-that-everyone-knows party. Needless to say, he won’t try to rip you off as some cab drivers are known to do. And don’t get your expectations up, but we were treated to juice and snacks on our return trip.

Basssam Al-Shalabi

Cell: 00962 79 693 1381 OR 00962 78 640 5015


2. Moodi Abdalla

If you're going to the Bethlehem/West Bank area, you'll want to meet this man. Some friends and I ended up running into him while looking at some of the art of the separation wall. He's a very talented street artist and super nice tour guide who will show you around some of the famous Banksy paintings in the West Bank for a reasonable price. You can email him at, or find him on Facebook: "moodi abdalla".

1. Café du Paris

Located on Paris circle, this café-by-day-bar-by-night fills up with ajnabiein, “foreigners” every Tuesday for an absurd special on shots of a certain alliterating spirit. It’s nice because, like Amigos, it doesn’t charge for entry, has a very laid back atmosphere, and the music is usually on point. The real value of this place, though, is in the people you’ll meet. It’s a great chance to make friends from all over the world. Oh, and if you’re into hip-hop, the Jordanians that frequent Paris can show you around the Amman scene. If you’re lucky you’ll get to meet a man known as the Beatbox Elephant (go on a do a Google search)—a very talented artist and genuinely fun guy to be around.

Top ten things your travel guide won't tell you about Jordan. #GWAbroad #GWU #Jordan #countdowns #food #tourism