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By gwblogabroad

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.
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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:

 

By gwblogabroad

My name is Anthony Scheercousse and I chose to do my third year exchange in Washington D.C at GWU, and on this page you will be able to follow my experiences throughout the semester!
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Before beginning this series of blog posts, I would like to introduce myself so you know me and better understand the many reactions I will have as I live in America.
I was born in France, moved to Myanmar when I was three months old, and lived there till I graduated from an American high school in Yangon. I then flew back to France, lived there for 3 semesters where I studied at ESSEC Business School (my home institution) in Cergy (a town about 15 miles away from Paris). For my 4th semester I did a campus exchange and studied at ESSEC’s campus in Singapore. I then returned to France, completed a semester there, and now I will be attending GWU for an exchange during the spring 2019 semester.
After these 20 years, I now consider myself as a mixture of French and Burmese, and therefore the following blog posts will come from a French/Burmese point of view.
I expect a lot of great things in Washington. A large majority of my teachers from elementary to high school were American and during those years, I was introduced to the American culture which I appreciated a lot. But, I never once set foot in America and therefore I am super excited.
I expect to meet many great people with many different international backgrounds, and I expect to learn a lot about the American way of life throughout this semester.
Now stay tuned, and I will regularly post about my experiences here, and keep you updated about how America is different from everything else I have known till now.
Best Regards,
Anthony Scheercousse

By gwblogabroad

“Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough/ Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades/ Forever and forever when I move,” says Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Hello! My name is Melissa from National Chengchi University in Taiwan. Like the poem above mentions, I am an optimistic person who willing to embrace new challenges every day and I enjoy making friends with people from different countries. Thus, I participated in the exchange student to attend the George Washington University in 2018 spring semester to brave myself, for this is my first time studying abroad.

As a student majoring English, I am considering to be an English teacher as my lifelong career in the future. Therefore, this exchange program is appealing to me because on one hand, I am granted a precious opportunity to polish my English skill while studying and getting along with native speakers. On the other hand, I have a chance to learn the American teaching style when taking courses in GW. Both language proficiency and effective teaching skills are necessary if I want to be a qualified and professional teacher, so this program, which helps me improve the two abilities, serves my long term personal goal.

I chose GW as my exchange institution is important to me because it is a famous university full of diverse courses, cultural resources, and it is located in the capital city, surrounded by the White House, museums, banks, and a lot of renowned tourist spots. With these resources, I believe if I can make good use of my time, I can not only acquire knowledge from classroom, but also broaden my horizon outside the classroom.

In brief, I expect and believe that I will definitely enjoy a great time for my upcoming semester in GW. If you want to make friends with me, or you are interested in reading journals from a Taiwanese girl’s perspective, keep on following my blog! The blog will be updated at least once a week.

By gwblogabroad

A thousand miles away from home, no more warm cooked meals and a size single wooden bed. I knew I was going to start to feel homesick. As I dragged my overweight red suitcase filled with winter and summer clothes I looked around room 113 of Amsterdam Hall. I turned to my clock, it was 5 pm, already past midnight back home. No one to call, nothing to do so I went to sleep.

Hairy Hippos, Group 2
Hairy Hippos, Group 2

Now for most exchange students, this feeling of loneliness and homesickness would usually take on for more than just a few days. But with a busy schedule from 9 am to 9 pm and awesome orientation leaders, there was really no time for us to feel alone.

No phone lines, no credit cards and definitely not enough winter clothes; you can bet that the first few days consisted of basic logistics. With over 60 exchange students from various parts of the world, we were divided into groups of 10.

Once the logistics where out of the way we got ready for some exciting activities! Having never seen this much snow before I was extremely excited when the orientation leaders planned a trip for us to Wisp Resort in Maryland. There we got to go snow tubing, and ice-skating!

Wisp Resort

At Wisp Mountain
At Wisp Mountain

Next in line was learning a traditional American dance called the “Cotton Eyed Joe”. After practicing it everyday with the orientation leaders, we were confident enough, that we decided to form a flash mob in front of the Lincoln Memorial. It was my first time seeing and doing a flash mob! An awesome experience!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/CHXW9-PAMwg]

GW Basketball Game
GW Basketball Game

Adding on to the American experience, as a group we went to the GW basketball game, where GW beat St. Bonaventure! (btw I won a free t-shirt because of my cheering skills). Having memorized the GW Fight song, I felt like I was part of the colonials, cheering on our team! It was great to see how much school spirit GW student have as there were rows of people dressed in “Buff and Blue” (GW’s colors).

To wrap up such an awesome first week here DC, the orientation leaders threw us a black and white dinner party at Mrs.K’s Tollhouse! (Food was amazing! I totally recommend the chicken with cranberry sauce).

A totally new experience, and many new friends made.  If we did all this in one week I

cant even imagine what we are capable of doing in the next 5 months!

GW, I’m a colonial now.

At Mrs. K's Tollhouse
At Mrs. K's Tollhouse

By gwblogabroad

ClaudiaHello! I’m Claudia. I grew up in Sydney, Australia, but moved to Melbourne with my family when I was 13. I attend the University of Melbourne, in a city that in recent years has been voted the most Liveable City in the world (It's a title under much debate by Melburnians themselves, especially when the trains run late!). It’s a city of trams, cafés, laneways, sport, the arts and food. Like all of Australia, gradual immigration from all over the world has made the city diverse and a place full of great food and people. But we’re a tiny city, in a tiny country (population-wise) in comparison to so much of the world. Granted, Melbourne is bigger than Washington. But the Population of Australia is just under 23 Million. That’s 2 million less than Texas, and only four million more than New York State.

At University I’m studying a double major in Art History and Philosophy. They're probably an unlikely combination, but I love studying them and I always want to learn more, which is the best you can ask for in choosing a discipline! Likewise, I picked DC for exchange because the USA fascinates me and I want to immerse myself into life in Washington. I've always been interested by American history and politics, and where better to experience it for real but the nation’s capital. The galleries and museums in Washington are another major drawcard for me given my Art History major.

There’s no doubt that the event I’m looking forward to most is the Presidential Inauguration in late January. I’d been following the American Election (since way back when the Republicans started their primaries) with a mix of fascination at the process and horror at the amount of money spent on campaigns. Once I knew I was definitely going to the USA, and the Election hit it’s final crescendo, it became even more exciting. From an outsiders perspective, the US electoral system – with it’s electoral colleges, swing states, primaries and SuperPacs – seems unbelievably complex. By Election Day itself, I think I vaguely understood how it all worked, but I have to admit for a long while I was following the election with fascination but not real understand of what on earth was going on! I’m sure the Inauguration Day will properly signify a quiet moment in the electoral world of US politics, at least for a year or two! From what I know of US politics though, there’s plenty going on to fill hours of fodder for Pundits on news networks and hours of debates in Congress. When I watched the first Inauguration for President Obama I was amazed at the level of patriotism and energy in the crowd. I’m looking forward to experience that for real on Inauguration Day!

George Washington University, so close to the center of DC, in a metropolitan environment, seemed like the perfect choice for exchange. I cannot wait to study hard and experience a USA university culture. I also want to take time to learn about the cultures spread throughout America. I look forward to exploring the Washington DC mentioned in guidebooks, and immortalized in movies and TV series, but also the DC where people live and work each day, and meet the people that call DC home.

In this last month leading up to Exchange, I’m buzzing with excitement. My friends and family are probably already sick of me blabbering on about everything I’m looking forward to experience.

It really will be a Semester to remember.

By gwblogabroad

AlenaI have been learning English for almost my entire life. One of the most important parts of learning a foreign language is exposure to the culture. My mother is an English teacher and in her process of learning spent a considerable time abroad in the U.K. I have dreamed of having a similar experience. In the past few years, while I’ve been attending Charles University in Prague studying English language and literature, I too have been exposed more and more to the English speaking world through new academics, new friendships and vacations to the closest English-speaking country, the U.K. I have felt a strong draw to American culture and when presented with the chance to study for a semester in the nation's capital, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. Now that I have been accepted and going through the application process, there has been so much going on on my mind that I feel it almost impossible to sum up my expectations. At this point it is a mixture of positive and negative anxiety. For a while I had been merely mirroring the excitement of the people around me. However, as I was handed the flight tickets, the reality of this trip struck me. I am still fond of repeating what I believe deep down, that the opportunity awaiting me is going to be an excellent and formative one, but with the date of the departure getting closer with each day, my feeling towards the study abroad experience has been fluctuating between phrases like “I cannot wait!” and “What am I going to do?” My time in Washington will be the first time that I am away from home for an extended period of time. My first time away from my tightly knit circle of friends, family, familiar environment and native language will be an excellent learning experience however, in the time leading up to the actual event, it it causing a bit of stress and anxiety. I guess I really fear a bitter experience similar to Mr. Smith, that begins with “I don't think I've ever been so thrilled in my whole life, and that Lincoln Memorial! Gee Whiz!” However, I don't think that when the story of how Alena goes to Washington will end in the same way that Mr. Smith's does. I am extremely hopeful and fondly looking forward to the moment when I step off the airplane and begin my semester abroad. Judging from the help and guidance I’ve already received from the George Washington study abroad office, I expect that the transition into the new culture, of both the country and the school, to be a smooth one, allowing me to fully take in the experience.

By gwblogabroad

Hanna El-amrawi Heads To The White House

HannaWhere are you from? Why is that whenever I answer this thought-to–be simple, normal question, I am immediately bombarded with such bizarre follow up questions? Are you Cleopatra’s second cousin? OMG do you live in a pyramid? Wait wait, do you own a camel? Hold up! Can I see your cobra tattoo? Well as much as it may be flattering to be compared to Cleopatra’s beauty, I am in fact not her second cousin, and thankfully I don’t go to school on a camel.Hanna 2

So allow me to introduce myself properly; I’m Hanna El-amrawi (Yes I spell my name without an H at the  end) an average 20-year-old Egyptian girl, who grew up on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus (Does Ayia Napa, ring a bell? One of the world’s largest clubbing destinations).  I’m a junior in the American University in Cairo (yes its an actual building, not a pyramid) and I’m currently studying Mass Communications, while minoring in Business. I have a strong passion for reporting and the media; so what better place to develop my skills in this field, then to live across the in-famous White House (Did I mention I get to be in DC during Obama’s inauguration!).

grease-posterIf there are two things that my friends associate me with, its; Cupcakes and musical theater. I’m known as the one that gets overly excited over decorated cupcakes (You really should have seen my face when I first heard of the cupcake ATM machine in DC) and the one who believes that one day she will star as Sandy in the musical, Grease (I even bought myself a similar black, leather jacket).

My excitement over the existence of a 24-hour cupcake machine was nothing compared to the excitement I had, when I was accepted as an exchange student for the 2013 spring semester at The George Washington University. I’m certain that by joining some of the various student organizations at GW, I will be able to meet new people and to seek many new opportunities. I’m extremely excited to be immersed into a new culture and to get the chance to live in a multi-cultural society.sprinkles

However one thing I am not particularly excited about is the cold weather; having never seen snow in my life, I am not sure how I’m going to cope with the icy weather. If there is one thing I wish I could take with me to DC, it would be the blazing heat of the desert sun.

So follow the blog of an overly excited (have I mentioned that I was referred to as an overly excited freshman, up until the beginning of this year), cupcake-obsessed Egyptian girl, as she battles the cold weather of the East Coast dressed in her black leather jacket! I’m pretty sure you are going to be in for some surprises and some laughs!

By gwblogabroad

I hope you all will join me in welcoming our new fall 2012 blogger, Liza! Liza will be attending GW from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands and is quite excited to be here during the upcoming election season. Read more about Liza and her upcoming semester here.

By gwblogabroad

So, here I am, a normal Dutch girl: coming from a country where the prevailing attitude is no-nonsense, middle-of-the-road and straightforward, going to a country where, if I rely on my expectations, people are over-the-top, use superlatives and scream OMG every opportunity they get. Of course, my expectations are inaccurate, having never been to the United States.  Nevertheless, not even in my wildest dreams did I expect to go to The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.! To top all that, I get the opportunity to be there during the 2012 presidential elections and find out all about the political system on the ground first hand, as well as experience the American way of democracy for myself.

Before introducing to you my intentions for the coming five months, a proper introduction is appropriate. My name is Liza. I am twenty years old and studying international relations and international law at my home institution, the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. An inherently international university, my experiences there convinced me of the necessity to encounter different cultures, in order to create more understanding and sympathy through shared experiences. I thoroughly enjoy listening to music, meeting up with friends, reading, and getting obsessed with sometimes slightly random things, but mostly with political developments, both nationally (Dutch) and internationally.

Over the past few months I have been preparing for my semester abroad. I learned the hard way in my preparation, because I never expected having to provide such massive amounts of documentation and material. This might have been naive of me, but preparing for a semester in the United States takes a lot of patience, money, and energy. What kept me going was the thought that in the end, I can reap the fruits from the experience (that is what partners in (mis)fortune kept telling me). Besides, I have found that I enjoy this - preparing is a lot more fun when you know what to look forward to. Not knowing what exactly to expect, I do intend to completely immerse myself in American culture, and as a student of international affairs, GW might just be the most perfect spot I could have imagined to study. Over the next few months, I will update you on my experiences in the United States. I plan to compare the United States and The Netherlands and reflect on both cultures, not to judge and over-emphasize differences, but most of all, to find similarities between the two. I can already assure you that my experiences are very likely to be amazing and insightful, so follow me and enjoy the ride!

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