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By anthonyscheergwu

So I just completed my first few weeks at GWU and there's going to be a lot of getting used to. First of all, my classes were all 3 hours long in France but I didn't have too much homework. Here it's the complete opposite, the classes are much shorter, but the homework is non-stop. I wasn't really expecting that and as a result, I'm already feeling overloaded with homework.

I knew reading was required for every one of my classes, but as I received the syllabus of each class I understood that I wouldn't be watching Netflix before going to bed, but instead reading one of the six textbooks I will eventually finish for my 4 classes.

In high school I had great teachers, but on top of that, they were so friendly and helpful that there was a great teacher student relationship. At my university in France, these relationships, for most teachers didn't exist. It's considered weird in France to be close to your teacher, knowing them personally is very rare. GWU is more similar to my high school than university in this aspect. Teachers here give out their phone number in case a students needs to contact them. Teachers are more than willing to help you outside of class with the topics addressed in each class. I also loved that in every single one of my classes the teachers introduced themselves by talking about their life and telling us more than what we could find out about them on Linkedin. This personal touch made the classroom atmosphere more relaxed which made me feel like it was easier to participate in class and ask a question if I got confused.

Regarding my classes, I took 3 challenging ones and 1 class that I was just really passionate about but didn’t have too much to do with business. All of my classes have a heavy workload but I love the atmosphere because the students and teachers are really motivated. I came to the US to witness the “you can do it” attitude, and in my classes this motivation resonates and I’m glad because with the workload that I have aligned this semester, I’m going to need all the motivation I can get. For those who think that 4 classes isn’t a lot, a lot of accounting and finance laws differ from Europe and America, and in all my classes we are focusing on American practices so additionally to the workload given by my professors, I have to conduct my own research to understand the differences in American and European practices to understand the content of my classes, but I’m not complaining because I came here to learn!

This will probably be my only post about schoolwork but I felt like it is important because my mom reads this blog and I don’t want her to think that I’m just chilling here in America! So here is a picture of me studying!

PICTURE 1

By anthonyscheergwu

Before anything, I would like to thank everyone that participated in the organization of the exchange orientation week it was truly very helpful. This week helped me understand that my semester in America is going to be, as Americans always say, awesome.

We started the week by meeting all the spring 2019 exchange students and the diversity of this group was great, there was such a mix of cultures in this room which lead to a very interesting week.

During this week I visited the National Mall during the night and day which was just beautiful. Went around the white house, which was much smaller than I imagined. Visited the Capitol Hill where I watched the congress in session which was really amazing. Apparently Joe Kennedy was there which I thought it was pretty cool to be in the same room as him! We did a campus tour and I have to say that I already love GWU. I mean the campus has a ton of facilities that simply made me want to be a student here forever. And, we had American barbecue and did tons of other things (thank you again to the ExO team for the organization)

I have to say one of the things that shocked me the most during this week is that there’s bacon everywhere. During this week I had a BLT which was basically a B (compared to the bacon, there was basically no L or T), I had bacon in basically all of my meals that week, and I had bacon in a milkshake and on a donut. On top of that, not to make generalizations or anything, but I feel like at least half of Washington is or at one time in their life, tired to be vegetarian or vegan, which I admire because to me Washington is surrounded by bacon.

On the last day of orientation, the exchange team brought us to a NBA game, which was basically the reason I came to the US. It was a great experience and thankfully the wizards were playing well for once and therefore there was a great atmosphere and I was glad to witness it live and not behind a screen.

I

By anthonyscheergwu

After traveling for more than 20 hours, I landed at JFK. After 2 more hours and a quick set of questions, I was able to leave the airport, and for the first time of my life, step on American soil. I’m not going to bore you with the details of my journey from New York to Pennsylvania, but I do have to mention that I used to think the Parisian subway was complicated, but in New York I felt like rabbit in a hole.

Anyways I got to Pennsylvania in a small town called York and slept at a friend's place.

The next morning I was alone in the Apartment (my friend was at work) and I was hungry. There was a mall across the highway and I figured I would walk there. 5 minutes in my walk I started seeing tons of signs that said no walking on the highway and I realized that if i kept going I was going to die. I went back and started to ask people how do I get on the other side of the highway (google maps basically told me to just cross it) and the basically all the answers I got was “with a car.”

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Eventually my friend came back and showed me around. I saw America just like it is described in the movies. The cars were all trucks, but not the normal trucks that I’ve seen my whole life. Big trucks with raised suspension. I mean I’m 6’4 and I felt like i would need a step ladder to get in one of the trucks. I also saw a guy with a hoodie that had the American flag in the front and on the back the words, “stomp on my flag I’ll stomp on you” which I thought was funny because no one would ever wear something like that in France.

So basically, if you did not get it yet, I was in the rural areas of America. Therefore, I asked to do something very “American,” and I was quickly directed towards a gun range. The whole experience baffling. To begin, there were shopping carts at the entrance for customers, and no, the gun range wasn’t in a grocery store or in a mall, the shopping carts were there just for the guns, bullets and machetes. I got to the range and asked how old do I have to be to enter, and to my surprise, I only had to be 8 (In France I believe 8 year olds go to bowling alleys but I'm not here to judge, just observe). So I picked my gun, watched a video about safety in the range, and was given the bullets after a few words on how to use the gun (I did also sign a very long contract). After that I was on my own. I entered the range and tried out 2 different guns. It was loud and I did pick out a huge rifle so I felt the huge kickback. But the experience of shooting a gun wasn’t as shocking as actually entering the gun store.

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The next day I went to target, and it confirmed what I thought was a myth. Everything in America is huge, the portions are just huge compared to France. This was again the case when I went to a local diner for burgers. In France I eat 2 burgers whenever i go to a to restaurant because I get hungry if i don’t. But in America, again, the portions are huge! One burger was enough and I loved it. I finally felt like I was in a country where my appetite is normal. Now I keep imagining what Americans must feel like about French restaurants and their tiny portions.

To conclude this post, My trip to Pennsylvania was great, I met the nicest people and had time to visit cities like Harrisburg and Lancaster. I didn’t mention this much but I do want to state that Americans are super nice and I immediately felt welcomed when I arrived which was something I didn't expect as I was going through the visa process because I was asked about 3000 questions and documents!

Oh and here's me accomplishing one of my lifelong goals to ride a motorized shopping cart at target!

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