By: Patrick Horstmeier
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...
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!
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...
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.
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"....