After a long Winter Break back in Madrid, heading again to DC feels like going home. Although 1959 E St is not going to be the same without all the fellow exchange students that returned to their home countries, I can't wait to welcome the new ones and make a lot of memories together! I bet you guys are so nervous and excited, I was too! The first night I spent in my new apartment I couldn't sleep at all. However, the morning after we started the orientation week program and hell yeah...such a relief! I knew it was going to be awesome.
My name is Raquel Recuero. I'm 24 (before you even dare, YES, I'M OLD!) I'm an exchange student from Madrid, Spain (raise high UAM too!) and I've been studying at GW since last August. I'm studying International Affairs although I'm taking a few courses in business just to explore. The past semester was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. DC is an inexhaustible source of entertainment and knowledge. I'm gonna give you a piece of advice here though: do things, move, go places...time flies, suddenly it's midterms season and half of the semester is gone. Travel around the US, go to museums, (most of them are free!) go to the markets, visit the Capitol, the Pentagon, get lost in Alexandria, go to an Embassy event, go grab some cupcakes or ice cream in Georgetown and eat them while watching the sunset by the Waterfront, go watch the Colonials, take advantage of the massive amount of workshops, events and associations that GW offers and don't be shy, everybody loves exchange students! Get ready also for great apartment parties, neighbors inviting you for dinner and an American family adopting you for a night! If you are lucky you might spot a Congressman or Congresswoman, a Senator or even the president with his caravan!
When I came from Madrid I didn't have many expectations. I expected to be able to see big differences between Europe and the US and maybe to be able to travel around the US, make some American friends and improve my English. I didn't have much information about the university system in America so I didn't really know how classes were going to be. If I just had known! I loved it so much that I'm staying for another semester even though I didn't plan it!
This is my 7th year in college (I'm currently studying my second BA) and I have never learnt so much! Your professors are going to make sure you think critically, put the concepts in practice and feel motivated. Take courses that you like and also courses from fields that are new for you. If you are still open to more advice: take at least one LSPA course (they are still open!) so you will have fun, move and meet some more students! I took Yoga and Aikido and both were great.
Now that I'm coming back to DC I really want to get more involved in social issues. I want to find a volunteering or an internship opportunity and I would love to go to more places in DC, keep exploring the city like a local, do you want to join me?!
Here are some of the best pictures with great people the past semester: