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By: Muzna Hatmi

Some of you may have seen my insta-takeover in New York City a couple of weeks ago {lucky for you because I happened to have saved everything in the highlights section (along with every other cool thing ever), so if you’re as obsessed with NYC as me, you know where to go!}. I’m just here to say that I’m still not over it.

So, one of the many times I thanked being in DC also happened to be on the bus to New York City, as soon as my eyes witnessed the glorious skyline, I knew dreams were coming true. I have been wanting to visit NYC for as long as I can remember, and even though I’ve been to the US a few times before, I never had the chance to visit the big apple (and here I can tell you I’ve been to the Niagara Falls, so please go call my parents and ask them what they were thinking). Anyway, what matters now is that I can finally say I have been to NYC, and that too on my semester abroad (because that also just sounds cooler).

I remember googling and searching through the entire internet for the top things to do in the city for a weekend, which I will break down here so that if you happen to study abroad at GW and want to visit New York, this blog post can be your go to.

If you’re a train kinda gal/guy, way to go, but I preferred taking a bus because it was cheaper/fit the student budget and more convenient. There are quite a few options for the bus, if you’re European you’re probably familiar with the good old Flixbus, but I wanted to experience being in America (just kidding), so I booked Vamoos – pretty much Flixbus with a new name. so, no difference there.

Bus departed around 10AM from Rosslyn, and I was officially a tourist in NYC by 2PM, and I say that because I was lost in the metro station.

We booked Moxy Hotels in downtown, which is the student version of Marriot hotels, but I also know other people who booked months in advance to get cheaper Airbnb’s.

Now that the essentials are out of the way, I will list the top student-budget-friendly things to do in NYC in a short period of time (unless well you know, you move there, and all your dreams come true. In that case, don’t forget me).

 

BROADWAY!!

Yes. I. watched. Broadway. In. New. York. City. And. I. Am. Screaming. #Goals. So, the trick to be able to afford Broadway tickets on a student budget is to not purchase them on the official website. Instead, get them last minute. The only downside is that you can’t really choose the seating location, but in my opinion all seating options are great and worth the discount. I watched Aladdin and I can tell you I cried.  It was magical.

 

Bryant Park Holiday Market

The Bryant Park holiday market was a cute little Christmas market with an ice ring and free ice skating (as long as you brought your own skates)! So, if you’re going around winter time, don’t miss the festive vibes with many food stalls and local shops. The good thing is that Bryant Park is also close to Times Square, so it’s a perfect opportunity to take a little break from all crowd. A perfect place to enjoy the city without spending too much.

 

MOMA

The Museum of Modern Art was recently reopened after a $450 million renovation! I was lucky enough to catch the Uniqlo Friday Night, which is a free entry into MOMA. All you have to do is get in line around 6PM on a Friday night, and your ticket is sponsored by Uniqlo! The lines can be really long, but they keep moving fast. Bonus: You may even get a small Uniqlo voucher to shop at the gigantic Uniqlo store just across the street. The only downside is that the museum can get really crowded, even after all the expansion. And I can tell you, the new MOMA looks great!

 

Brooklyn Bridge

A journey from Brooklyn to Manhattan on foot! Yes, walk down the picturesque bridge and catch some stunning views of the city (along with stunning insta-photos, obviously). I recommend walking towards the Manhattan direction to really take in the breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline. The Brooklyn side just doesn’t do the bridge enough justice in my opinion.

 

Chinatown

Two words: cheap food.

And oh, SO Good!

 

 

By: Patrick Horstmeier

Day 124

My first semester in the United States is coming to an end. There wasn't a weekend where I got bored, not an evening where I didn't know what to do with my time. I have fuelled my mind with cultural and artistic excursions since I arrived here. And yet I still have so many streets to discover, museums to visit and events to attend. DC is still far from having told me all its secrets...

 

Day 126

Here is the last day of school of the semester. I will only see the faces with whom I shared these 4 months of classes occasionally now. In addition to a new culture and new academic knowledge I discovered new friends during this semester. I still have one more left in Washington, but some students will no longer be in DC in a few weeks. I look forward to being on vacation to enjoy these last few days with these new friends!

 

Day 127

The first snowflakes fell today. I look forward to seeing the city of DC dressed in its white dress... I can' t wait to wrap myself in a scarf and walk the national mall in winter boots while the rest of the DC residents lock themselves in their warm homes. I'll send you pictures of the city in white shades...

 

Day 130

I couldn't have imagined more fulfilling end-of-semester exams: last night, the university invited us to the "Midnight breakfast". We all gathered to relax over a nightly breakfast on campus between two papers and exams. This semester, all my courses are assessed by papers rather than on-campus exams. I am therefore spending this week writing speeches, government reports, recaps of socio-political experiences and philosophical essays. The rain knocks at my window, the smell of my black coffee perfumes the room and my neurons ignite around these subjects that fascinate me... This is also what the end-of-semester exams are about: reviewing what I have learned during this semester.

 

Day 133

Now that the semester is coming to an end, I think of the next one with enthusiasm. The various GWU buildings are now part of my daily life. The monumental Eliott School, the countless corridors of the Gelman Library, the intimate philosophy department, the geeky Tompkins Hall: I find each of these departments charming in their own way. Although I have got to know the campus, I still don't blend in: My accent doesn't go unnoticed. I smiled today when a bus driver replied "Hello" to my "Good morneenguh". Now it is time to take advantage of the Christmas holidays to continue exploring, reading and celebrating the Christmas and New Year festivities. One thing is for sure: I still have a lot to discover and I will spend long evenings telling you about the surprises and discoveries of my time here when I return this summer. I'm thinking of you on the other side of the Atlantic. As you read these lines, I will continue to "Raise High"....

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