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By evavilloslada

The best week so far, and that is because of New York. Right now I am writing this post at 1:00 am in the bus coming back to DC from New York, and I don’t have words to explain what this weekend means to me. Since I was 10 years old I had been dreaming about visiting New York, all the films I watched unfolded here, in the city that never sleeps, so coming here is something I always had in mind.

Unfortunately, we could only come for a weekend, three days are not enough to see everything but it is still worth it. Taking a bus from Washington DC to New York takes only 4 hours and, if you chose wisely, you can make it with 30 dollars. So at 7 am Friday we left to see the city everyone talks about. We arrived in Manhattan, we had lunch and start walking to two of the main attractions, the Empire State Building and Times Square, we didn’t go up to the top of The Empire Building because it is quite expensive and the views are better from The Top of the Rock, so we choose the last one.

The first time I saw Times Square, I have to say I was impressed, there is nothing alike in Spain so it was stunning for me. Then we went walking down to The World Trade Center to see the 11S memorial, and then to Wall Street, where we saw the bull and the little girl in front of it. But the best part of the day was seeing the sunset from the Staten Island free cruise, the views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty where breathtaking and the whole trip was incredible.

Then we walked to Chinatown to have dinner, the neighborhood was really cool, there are lots of places to eat there, and the food was amazing. We finally ended up crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and watching Manhattan at night. We had an apartment in Brooklyn, but it was quite far so we had to take the metro. I highly recommend you to book an apartment near or in Manhattan because otherwise you are going to spend a lot of money and time in the metro.

 

The next day we woke up at 9 because we had to visit many things. After having breakfast we decided on going to Central Park and there we rented bikes so we could see the whole park. We spent two hours cycling and seeing the park, and even in two hours we couldn’t see everything, so next time I am in New York I am definitely going to Central Park, it is a place everyone should take their time on visiting, seeing the lakes, going to the MET, lying in the grass, etc. Cycling there is one thing I highly recommend, it is only 15 dollars for having an amazing experience.

 

 

On Saturday we had dinner in a place called Black Tap, where they have amazing milkshakes, I tried the Oreo one and it was one of the best I have ever tried, besides they were huge and looked great.We then visited San Patrick's Cathedral and The Top of The Rock. Clearly, those were the best views of Manhattan, I’m grateful we chose it because the sunset there was something especial.

We ended up going to Grand Central and finally to Times Square, at night is much more better and all the lights make it seems as if it was in the morning, We stayed there chilling and enjoying the atmosphere.

Our last day we spent it walking around Soho and Little Italy, where we had a wonderful Italian lunch. We also visited the Washington Square, and we were lucky to see a TV show being filmed, maybe we could even appear somewhere in the crowd.

We kept on walking till Chelsea Market, a beautiful place where you can find multiple places to eat and relax. Finally, our walk ended in the Flatirion Building, after that the group separated because some people was going back to DC. I stayed until 1 am, and my last moments in New York were in Times Square watching a magician that left me speechless with all his tricks, it was really funny and astonishing watching him.

Then we took the bus and here am I, writing this post, and so exited about the whole weekend. I did other things during the week, like going to Katy Perry’s concert, but New York deserved a post on its own, so I will leave that history for another time.

I would tell you guys to go to New York but I know I don’t need to because everyone wants to go there. I hope you love it as much as I do, because after all there is nothing you can’t do in New York.

 

 

By evavilloslada

Time flies, and being here for a month feels like it has been only a week. Thankfully I’m here for the whole year so I have time to experience everything without being in a rush.

This week has been a relaxed one in the new experiences field, so I haven’t done many things, but I had a lot of work to do for class.

I had my first exam on Wednesday and it was easier than I thought it would be. The system here is quite different from the one at home. Here they focus on practice and readings during the year, and the exams are not so difficult. Meanwhile, in Spain you don’t have much work to do during the semester but you’ll have to do well in hard exams in order to get good grades or pass. Normally I barely touch a book until the week before the exams, so in one hand it is better for me in Spain because I have much more free time, but in the other hand I think you don’t learn as much. Here, as you practice every week, you became more familiar with the topics and you acquire permanent knowledge.

I particularly prefer this system because, although I have many things to work on during the week, in the end I feel like I am  benefiting much more.

Even if I didn’t do as many exciting  things as the weeks before, I sure did three that I highly recommend.

First of all,  on Friday morning, we went to Walmart. Yeah, I know, not such an experience. But I recommend you guys go there to buy groceries because is way cheaper than Whole Foods. You can get there by uber and it’s 8$ more or less, so if you’re four it’s perfect. We bought nearly the whole market and it didn’t cost me that much, so if you have to buy many things Walmart is your place.

On Friday evening  it was Starry Night Eid Mela, an event the GW Pakistani Students’ Association organized.  It was at the  Marvin Center at 7:30, there were different dance performances, some of them were typical from Pakistan so I had the chance to get to know the culture better. I did that not only with the dances but also with the food. At the end of the day food is part of our cultures, and the food was amazing. Of course, the whole event was for free so I couldn’t miss it.

 

On Saturday I went to do kayaking to the Georgetown Waterfront. It was one of the best experiences I have had in DC so far. The tickets were 16$ for a one person kayak and 22$ for a double one, so it was quite cheap, and so much worth it. The weather was perfect, it’s better to go when it’s hot and sunny because you get wet while doing it, but don’t worry falling is nearly impossible. We had so much fun racing each other and then chilling. Just being there, without moving, enjoying the atmosphere, relaxing made me feel in peace. We even put some music on while we were rowing along the Potomac river. We ended up having  cupcakes and coffee in Baked and Wired, my favorite place in Georgetown.

I'm definitely doing everything  again, all of you should.

By evavilloslada

New week, new things to tell. As always here, Washington DC is full of  things to do, and of course I took advantage of it.

We started by going to the Pentagon on the 11 of September, as all of you know it's been 16 years since the terrorist attacks, and what a better place to remember it than in the Pentagon? Of course, we couldn't go inside, but a guide was there to explain us everything. He even had pictures to show us how the place ended up after the plane crashed. Later we walked around the memorial, and I have to say it was beautiful. The way they have represented all the victims there is inspiring.

 

 

 

 

During the week I was so occupied doing all my homework, and reading so many things, I barely had time to go to the gym. And talking again about the gym, I feel obliged to tell you about the bowls they have on the bar upstairs. These bowls are healthy, made completely of fruits, and they taste so good. It's a bowl for 10 dollars but it's so worth it, and it's like a whole meal. There are four types to choose from, and you can add any fruit you like, so you all should try them.

 

The weekend arrived and I had so many things planned. First we went to Alexandria, it's a city near Washington, and you can get there by metro or uber. It isn't that big of a city, but it's a great place to go for a walk and spend the afternoon chilling in the harbor. The view was amazing so we took a coffee by the river, and then came back. We were planning a gathering with the other exchange students, and each one of us brought different kinds of food, so we decided to make Spanish tortilla. We had so much fun. I wish we could do that everyday.

 

On Saturday we went to the H Street Festival, it was full of trucks to eat and to buy things, from clothes to jewelry. Along the street there were like five stages or so where people were singing, dancing and performing. It was a really cool place to go. We spent the afternoon there, walking around, buying things, and trying different types of food. The place was so crowded it was difficult to even walk, and it was so hot that at times I feel so overwhelmed I just wanted to leave, but later in the afternoon it was much better, and I really had a great time there.

 

To finish my  fourth week here, on Sunday I went to St. Agustin Catholic Church to see a gospel mass. The church is really beautiful and the atmosphere was something I had never see before, all the people were singing together, really feeling the songs, and I was moved with all of it.  I think it's something everyone should see, whatever your religion is.

By evavilloslada

One week more, and many new things to tell.

It's been my third week in Washington DC and I'm starting to feel like it's not summer anymore, two weeks since classes started and everything is overwhelming. I have so many readings and papers to do that I can't catch up, but it's okay, I need time to adjust to this new system, everyone of you is probably having the same problem.

Either way I also had time to go to new places and even visit a new city. We are still adjusting to Washington DC, and one of the things that I really love is walking down to Georgetown and looking around all the shops and restaurants. Georgetown is really beautiful and the walk there by the Potomac river is too. One girl from DC told me that the best cupcakes of Washington were there, in a small place named Baked and Wired, so there we went. The place was awesome and we had an oreo cupcake that tasted incredible, the coffee was also really good compared to the ones I have tried in The United States, as coffee here is also different from Spain it has been difficult for me to find one that I really like, but I found it there, and all of you guys should go to try at least the cupcakes, there are so many  cupcakes to choose from and the place is also really cool.

I also want to talk you guys about the gym, I have been going this three weeks, it's a really good gym and it's for free. It has all the machines that you could possibly need, the only problem is that there are usually lots of students there, but you should probably be able to use any machine you want if you don't go at 5 pm.

This week I also went to Baltimore to spend  a day there. Baltimore was really nice but I didn't like it at much as  Philadelphia because there weren't many things to visit. Anyways it was a really good place to spend our Saturday, we arrived at 11 am, walked around for a bit and then we had lunch in Hard Rock Cafe,  the food was awesome, as was the place. After lunch we went to the Italian neighbor and we were so lucky because it was the Madonna Arts Festival so the streets were crowded with people and lots of paintings in the floor. It was really beautiful. Then we went to  Fell's Point neighbor took some pictures and came back to the Inner Harbor. It's not a must, but you should probably go there to chill and have a nice day.

By evavilloslada

It's been two weeks since I found myself alone in the airport with three huge bags and without knowing anyone in this new country. So many things have happened since that day, I'm not alone anymore and Washington DC is not so foreign now.

These two weeks have been great so far. All the expectations I had are coming true, not only about visiting the city but the people I have met. The exchange students are great, everyone has been so nice to me and they have made it so easy for me to feel comfortable. Studying abroad is hard because you live far away from your family and friends but also because  you have to start from the beginning. Nevertheless it was much easier than I thought. Clearly this is thanks to all the leaders that have accompanied us during this week, and also thanks to Hillary and Ami because I don't know what I would have done without them and all their help.

The orientation week was overwhelming, we did so many different things, it was really like a summer camp but with a lot of information being thrown at us all the time. Back at home we don't have this kind of things. In Universidad Autonoma de Madrid you're on your own from day one, but here we had so many people taking care of us I hardly felt I was alone in a new country till the week ended.

So many activities were planned, we had a barbecue the first day, a visit to the Capitol, a tour to Georgetown, and much more things. My favorite ones were the baseball game, not for the game itself because I didn't understand most of the things that were happening, but because of the atmosphere, and also the night tour to visit all the monuments, the views are breathtaking and the Lincoln memorial is just amazing.

 

The orientation week sadly ended and classes started. At first I was kind of terrified but everything has been really good, and I actually like my classes. The system is different from the one back at home, basically because we don't have to participate that much and we don't have so many work to do at home, but I'll probably get used to it.

 

As we didn't have any classes on Monday due to Labor Day we decided on going to Philadelphia on Sunday. It was a one day trip but we visited everything we could, like the independence hall, liberty bell, the city hall and more places. We were rushing everywhere because we didn't want to miss anything but it was worth it. It was fun learning more about the declaration of independence and seeing  the place where United States was born. Also the city was  beautiful, a mixture of old and new architecture that I really loved. I actually recommend you guys to save at least one  day to go to Philly, you'll love it.

 

 

By evavilloslada

Hi everyone, this is my first post on this blog and I'm glad I can share this new journey with all of you.

Well, I'm going to start introducing myself so you can understand me better. My name is Eva , I'm 19 years old and I'm from a little town in Spain, but I've been studying law and politics for two years in Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.One of my hobbies is traveling, so I take every chance I get for doing so.

Although I want to visit every place I can, Unites States have always had a special place in my heart. I've always dreamed of studying in the Unites States, maybe the fact that most of the stories of the books I've read and the films I've watched unfold on the United States has something to do with it. My dream became real when my older sister's friend studied a year in Boston and told me everything about her experience, and how to achieve that. Therefore one of the first things I plan on doing is visiting every place I can before returning to Spain, and America is  much bigger than Spain so I can't imagine how many places I need to visit.

As I've said I study politics so when the opportunity came I thought, what a better place to study politics than in Washington D.C.? When I found out that I had been chosen I even cried with joy. But I think I didn't believe it until a few days left before I arrived.

I've never been in the US before, so my expectations are pretty big. What I want the most is meeting new people and making friends from different countries, also learning to speak a perfect and fluid English. When I think about this year I think about all the things I'm going to learn starting with a new culture, visiting new places and learning everything I can about how politics work here. This is not the first time I experience the university life in its fullest because when I moved to Madrid two years ago it was also a pretty big change for me, though I do think this time the change will be way bigger. I will be living in 1959 E Street Residence Hall so I hope it helps me to meet more people than I would living on my own.

I'm also eager to go through the orientation week, this kind of things don't exist in Madrid that it's not a good thing because when you arrive to a new place the thing you need the most are friends so you don't feel alone.

I've been reading this blog for a while now so I could learn everything about what other students were living. This is the main reason why I really wanted to write on this blog so other students could know what means living in Washington DC, also because this way the people I know from Spain will be able to read everything I experience and maybe next year they decide to start their own journey in the United States.

I hope that telling here this journey helps you in any way posible, and that you tell me your experiences too so I learn more things and benefit from this experience as much as I can. See you soon!!

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