It has been such an eventful fours months that it seems crazy that it’s all over! It has been a week of last celebrations, reminiscing and goodbyes. As some people head home and others move on to their next
adventures, it’s hard to accept that you’re not going to be spending every day with the same bunch of people that you have come to know and love.
Luckily, it's not a final goodbye! People may live on opposite sides of the planet but its definitely not the last time you get to see each other. The experiences you share don't disappear and the bonds you make last a lifetime. That’s the thing about studying abroad - yes you study and yes you are abroad. But it is the people that you share it all with that really make the difference.
Looking back on the semester, it has been packed with protests, parties, food, travel, learning, sport and friends! I got the opportunity to cross so many things off my bucket list! From witnessing the inauguration to participating in the Women's March and Muslim Ban Protest. Spring Break in Miami to road tripping down South! Watching the Wizards, Tar Heels and Colonials win! Being in central park during a blizzard with no one else around. Pedal boating on the Potomac surrounded by the cherry blossoms. The countless nights spent down at the Lincoln Memorial. And not to forget the more mundane nights (which are also some of the best) of cooking all together in Shenkman Hall.
Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn new things (both in and especially out of the classroom), try new things, learn what you like and don't like, travel, meet people from all over the world! It is six months that you get to attempt anything and everything - fail at some and succeed at others.
It truly has been a great time at GWU, in DC and in the US. Foggy Bottom very quickly became our home that it feels genuinely weird to be leaving. To all those that made the past semester possible - a massive thank-you! And to all those who are about to arrive - enjoy!!!!
While most of my friends are exploring the East Coast over the President's Day weekend, I stayed behind in DC to do some sightseeing and bring some friends around who were visiting from out of town. Sun's out guns out - woolly coats and puffy jackets were replaced by shorts and dresses in the sunny 70 degree weather.
Recreating some of the magic I experienced at the Monuments by Moonlight Walk during orientation, we did it in the daytime this time round. National Mall was bathed in sunlight with plenty of people playing casual baseball, football and having picnics. Crowds milled by the reflecting pool and filled the steps outside the Lincoln Memorial - it was a challenge trying to get a good picture. Word of advice - if you're planning on photographing the monuments on the national mall, it would be a better bet to go later at night. Not only will you be able to get an unobstructed view, you will also enjoy a breathtaking rush of unparalleled tranquility in the company of historical heavyweights.
Remember how last week the spot I was planning on having brunch at had an hour's wait? Well, I remembered to make reservations this time round and went during dinner hour.
Medium Rare is a steak diner located in the chic Capitol Hill neighborhood. The menu boasts a grand total of 1 main dish which is served in 3 courses: baked bread, rocket salad and 2 sets of steak and fries (refillable). It also has a great wine menu and whenever in doubt, ask the waiter for tips on how to get the best wine-steak combo. The best part is, it only costs 20 dollars (minus tax)!
Also, if the night is still young and you desperately don't want to go back to good ol' Foggy Bottom just yet, head across the street to Banana cafe and piano bar for some sweet treats. Located on the second floor of a yellow building by the road, the puerto-rican and cuban style diner serves up some fancy cocktails (and mocktails if you're not of age) and there's always a jazz pianist available to entertain. On the weekends, pop piano is available at certain hours.
Midterm week is coming up so all the best everyone! Don't forget to study and play hard.
This week I got to relive one of my favourite British pastimes - talking about the weather! When coming to DC I expected freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall. However, the winter has been extremely mild and this past week people were walking around in shorts and a t-shirt as temperatures reached up to 21°C (70°F). The good weather did not last long and there were reports of a snowstorm hitting the East Coast. DC was relatively unscathed compared to up north but temperatures still dropped below zero and there were a few snow flurries. As my professor observed in class, ‘it’s February and I’m not wearing a jacket - but hey, climate change doesn’t exist’.
One of the top recommendations I received upon arriving in DC was to visit the monuments at midnight. Exploring a city at night is a completely different experience. There are no workers around, no tourists and only the occasional security guard. Being only a few blocks away from the National Mall we decided to make the most of the warm weather and head down to the Lincoln Memorial. It’s one of the most iconic views both historically and politically and one that I have seen countless times before moving to DC. Sitting at the bottom of the memorial with a view stretching the length of the reflecting pool and reaching all the way up to the Washington Monument in the early hours of the morning is perhaps one of my favourite moments thus far. It was nice to have a peaceful moment to fully take in being in DC.
Later on in the week we attended a basketball game between the George Washington Colonials and the VCU Rams. According to full-time students, GW is not big on school spirit especially compared to other universities. Coming from the UK I find that hard to believe. The game fulfilled all my expectations of a school sports game. There were cheerleaders, a school band, free t-shirts, chants and a mascot (George, The Colonial). We were neck and neck the whole game. With twelve seconds left on the clock, we were trailing 52-50. Just as a win seemed impossible number 12 scored a three-pointer pushing us into the lead and winning the game (at least so we thought). The whole stadium erupted, the band started playing and we jumped and cheered in celebration. It was like something out of a movie. The game was not yet over. 0.4 seconds were put back on the clock in order to finish out the game. In less than a second GW received a foul, sending the Rams to the free throw line to score four more points and win the game.
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