Campus Confusions Part II: Post-Abroad Oddities

You’ve all probably heard the expression “abroad changed me” and thought, “dear God, that person sounds so obnoxious.”

Still, some of us have actually changed. Some of my friends from Madrid are now ~euro~ and dress in clothes you only see when you crash an Expat Society party. In my post-abroad experience, late-night eating is a thing of the past for me…or at least it was until my second night back on campus. Let’s just say I’m back to being a regular at Domino’s.

As my parents were quick to point out, the world did not wait for us while we were abroad. We all have come back to Georgetown — that is, we all came back happy and then were promptly slapped across the face when we had 100+ pages of reading due for the first Monday. Now let’s just say these past few weeks have been a severe reality check.

However, as I sit here stressing about my Spanish paper, readings on Sharia law and Portuguese homework (see what I mean?), I can’t help but also be shocked by how much Georgetown has changed since my last visit in July. Here are just a few ways in which Georgetown has blown my mind in the last three weeks.

1. New Students. This one has to be the most noticeable change for anyone returning from abroad. Who are you and why did you take my favorite Lau 4 cubicle? What makes you think it’s okay to sit next to me in the ICC and make a huge mess of your Corp sandwich? Clearly a semester has put me out of touch with other Hoyas.

2. Apartment Lifestyle. As a friend once put it, I now have a place to cook, eat, sleep, hang out with friends, party, etc. I also technically never have to leave unless I want to go to class, work, be an actual human being, etc. The upgrade from Kennedy to Vil B is much better than many people think, which leads me to my next thought…

3. Village B is slightly nicer. I was quite pleasantly surprised to find a full-size refrigerator in my Vil B when I moved in a few weeks ago. I was not surprised, however, when I was greeted by the unbearable stench of my tower when I moved in. I guess some things will never change.

4. CHICK-FIL-A. One of the weirdest, but certainly not unwelcome, changes on campus. And if the thought of having a renowned eatery on campus isn’t absurd enough, how crazy is it that I haven’t gone yet?

5. Patrick Ewing has returned. Old news, I know, but having a new basketball coach on campus is big if you’re a true basketball fan. Although I’m ashamed to admit I left the game against St. John’s before the epic ending, it’s safe to say we’re in a better place than where we were last year (no disrespect to the former coach).

6. UG is now ~bougie~. Located at the top of the new bookstore, it seems to me that UG has lost its hipster-feel and has now traded for a more mainstream Barnes-&-Noble-feel. Just my personal opinion.

7. Leo’s has a VW bus inside. Considering new Leo’s opened months ago and I do not have a meal plan, this one probably is not that important of news. Just a fun fact, though. I’m glad to see the mice haven’t left.

8. The Drama. Though we all tried to stay updated on what was happening on campus, we were bound to miss some of the biggest drama since Josh Peck didn’t invite Drake Bell to his wedding. Whether two of your friends are dating, three of your friends only talk to each other now or your one friend confessed his/her lifelong love for — the sky is the limit. All you want to know is EVERYTHING.

Can’t you tell I studied abroad?

9. Even printing has changed. I’m really not sure why this change was necessary and I know for a fact other formerly-abroad students are struggling to print documents because an obscure reinstallment is required. While I’m all for advancing technology, we could at least have had a warning before being sorely and publicly disappointed at the Lau 2 printer.

10. New semester, new taste. Of course, I mean the new Burnett’s flavors floating around campus. While all returnees are used to the cheapest alcohols abroad has to offer, that first taste of Burnett’s — assuming you’re 21, of course — is bound to slap you across the face harder than that first homework assignment.

“I bet you thought you’d seen the last of me.” — Burnett’s

Welcome back, Hoyas! While we may miss abroad every day, it’s safe to say we missed our friends, Piano Bar and the Hilltop even more last semester.

Photos/Gifs: giphy.com, washington.org

Things I Saw On The Paris Metro

After a lovely summer abroad in Paris, France, I am back in my even lovelier home state, New Jersey. While I often frequent New York City, I definitely am much more accustomed to the suburban lifestyle (i.e. using cars as my main method of transportation). With that in mind, my six weeks of relying exclusively on the metro (and sometimes sketchy Ubers) brought about quite a few surprises. Here are the five weirdest things I saw on the Paris metro:

  1. I straight up witnessed a man ALMOST fall onto a baby stroller, which prompted the mother to burst into tears. In his defense, he was not close to touching the baby so the reaction was a bit unwarranted. That being said, the only thing I’m THAT protective over is my dog, and if someone almost stepped on him, I’d probably cry, too.
  2. I watched a man dig his finger in his ear for twenty minutes straight. Seriously. Twenty minutes. I hope he found what he was looking for.
  3. I watched everyone check themselves out in the metro doors. I can’t even make a joke about it though because I did the same thing each and every time. Those things seriously make great mirrors.
  4. I witnessed a man who was so drunk he was lying on the station floor and his friends quite literally had to drag him onto the metro. Don’t ride the metro alone at 2 a.m. kids, or this is what you’ll see:
  5. I saw a man wearing a shirt that said “Massive🐔”. Comment dit-on “overcompensation?”

And there ya have it folks. Stay safe using public transportation.

Photos/Gifs: residences-paris.com, giphy.com

6 Things I Learned About Georgetown While Abroad

Did I mention I studied abroad?

Step off of the Hilltop and outside of the Georgetown Bubble, and you will find many things to learn, do and see. The decision to “study” abroad was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.  Even so, the Hilltop certainly had me homesick: Georgetown has so many incredible things to offer; from expert faculty to your first New South pregame.

One of the strange parts about being abroad was learning about Georgetown. In fact, there are many things about my home university that I only realized after going to Milan. Some were good things, and others, not so much…

  1. We all like to poke fun at and react excessively to the swarms of  students smoking outside of Lau. Emerging from Lau, you may find yourself in a situation like this:Instead, the EXACT depiction of what students do in Europe is below. They are the real smokers: they don’t just do it to look cool, but they actually like cigarettes. Get ready for secondhand smoke.In reality, we don’t have much to complain about as non-smokers at Georgetown, since it seems most smokers here don’t fall into the latter category. We are nowhere near as threatened by secondhand smoke at Georgetown as we complain we are.
  2. Our coffee on campus is TERRIBLE. Paying at minimum $3.00 for burnt and stale coffee is not ever justifiable. I don’t even know if stale is an appropriate way to describe coffee, but I shouldn’t have to wonder. Case in point: my abroad university in Italy had vending machines that made better coffee than our campus baristas. Just another thing that machines do better. Since caffeine is such an important part of the student experience in college, its time to up our game.
  3. We need to give more credit to how beautiful and put-together our campus is. Campuses in the states are exceptional; from the manicured lawns, to the behind-the-scenes campus planning, to the sense of ownership the students take, it’s hard to not appreciate how much we’ve got. Instead, even my (nice and relatively expensive) Italian university had graffiti and was not managed nearly as well as Georgetown. Construction definitely gets old on campus, but it’s always for the better (except maybe the Thompson Center and the architectural disaster that is Lau).

    A tulip endowment is good for ~something~.
  4. You’re much more likely to feel supported at Georgetown than anywhere else. While we like to complain about stress and sub-par faculty at many points in our academic careers, try having a class whose syllabus doesn’t even tell you who your teacher is or where your class meets. At least we have capable (i.e. non-tenured) faculty that know what they’re doing. I complain about preregistration results as much as the next person, but try having not one, but two of your classes cancelled for good two weeks into the semester. How do students at a university that does that function (answer: they don’t)?
  5. WE HAVE SO MUCH MORE WORK. European academics are in fact whack. In all cases, I had just one assignment for each one of my classes: an oral final exam. At Georgetown, we have countless tests, multiple midterms, homework, essays, group projects (the list goes on).
    @everday during months-long midterm “season”

    The moral of the story is that Georgetown is perhaps harder than it really needs to be.

  6. Our campus and neighborhood is even less lit than we realize. Doesn’t need much explanation.

    The ONLY establishment with the name “bar” in it within a mile of Georgetown.
Alcatraz Club, a Milanese mainstay, doesn’t even need people to be lit.

Did I mention I studied abroad?

 

Photos/Gifs: tumblr.com, giphy.com, otnemea.com, flickr.com, residentadvisor.net

 

Summer Classes Abroad are the Worst…

Summer Classes Abroad are the Worst

One of our very own 4E bloggers has jetted off to the land of love, lights and (most importantly) wine. Her experiences abroad have been challenging and tiresome, but she has managed to push through to blog about her experiences.

Reader Discretion Advised: Article may contain references to pastries, cheese and lack of homework. 

The words “summer” and “classes” shouldn’t go together; summer is best spent tanning, not studying. But since I chose to study abroad in Tours & Paris this summer, I’ve taken some time out of wine tasting, chateaux visiting, walking along the Seine, and (I guess) class to compile a list of the worst parts about taking summer classes abroad (in my experience, France).

Classes. A few hours of classes in French everyday can be pretty tiring, but the worst classes are the wine tastings. Especially when bread and cheese are included.

~class~

Field Trips. Remember those things? Soooo middle school. Really, half a day at Versailles? A tour of The French National Assembly? Meeting the French Minister of Foreign Affairs? The worst.

~footage from our field trip~

The Homework.

 

The People. Meeting new people is always hard, but meeting people then having to spend six weeks in France with them is just the worst. Does anyone really want to walk along the Seine, laughing in the rain?

 

The National Pride. France, why did you have to host the Euro Cup this year? Everyone getting super hyped about soccer football? Where is the national pride for the Olympics trials?

And finally, the food.
In France, you can have….

A different cheese every day of the year.


Gelato galore.

And don’t even get me started on the bread.

Ugh, summer classes are the worst… But in all seriousness, there’s no better way to learn about a culture than by studying abroad. Whether you want to take courses over the summer or the school year, I cannot stress enough to you that one MUST study abroad. No matter where you choose to plant yourself for 6 weeks to 5 months, learn and embrace all that your ~host~ country has to offer!

Gifs: giphy.com, http://bit.ly/2avuxDa

The Closing Address

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I remember the exact day that I became Deputy Blog Editor and began my climb up the 4E ladder of power. I was sitting in a random hostel in Tel Aviv, Israel, on a trip with a subset of my abroad friends. It felt like a dream to me, both because I had just achieved one of my goals and because I was in ISRAEL (Read: wut). Anyway, I know for many this does not seem #lifechanging, but for me it was (cue emotions). Over the past two years, 4E and the bloggers have given me so much. It has defined so much of my Georgetown career, and for that I couldn’t be more grateful.

However, the time has come for me to give up my power and become an actual wash up. It is scary leaving something you love. But graduation is coming (even though I am trying to fight it) and it has come time to accept that the end of Georgetown is near.

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While this won’t be my last 4E post — because I am not ready for that yet — I am writing this to close the chapter of my dictatorship editorship. And, what better way to do this than by reminiscing on my favorite posts (of the 124 I have written) from the past two years.

From my heart to yours:

  • The End of the Beginning– “Oh, and when you are finally at your study abroad destination complaining about ‘how weak your internet connection is,’ just think about your favorite blogger (a.k.a. me) trying to stream videos in Turkey. God help me.”
  • 4-eign E: All About that Mosque– “Other than the untimely alarms, Turkish society is pretty normal. In Alanya, there are TWO Starbucks (and yes, they do serve iced coffee), local shops, a beach and a million and a half tourists.”
  • Campus Confusions: Post-Study Abroad– “My friends and I have realized that we have missed out on some key phrases that have been added to this beautiful language of ours. Excuse me, but what is ‘on fleek?’ Is that like a compliment? So beyond confused.”

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  • The Five Times when You Know You are a Senior– “The youth has been deprived. I explained the saga of going to Tuscany’s yesterday and actually got emotional. Who doesn’t miss the curb sing-a-longs? Or, wait, was that just me?”
  • Friday Fixat10ns: Freshman Year Throwbacks– “Let me set the scene: The year was 2012, fall to be exact. The place? Georgetown. Obama hadn’t been re-elected. Libya and Syria were all over the news. Gay marriage was not illegal nation-wide. Kim Kardashian and Kris were still technically married. And these songs were the hits of the time….”

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  • Finals Fashion: A Guide to Dressing Down– “This is me. I am leggings…There are many different ways to pull of this innovative look. Pair them with a t-shirt for a relaxed, ‘I might work out today’ look. The athletic, dressed down combo is sure to make people think that you might be fit and actually do something with your life. Or you can do what I usually do and pair your leggings with a sweater. The best part about this look is that people often will think you are put together. Joke’s on them.”
  • 5 Reasons Georgetown Students are Really Olivia Pope– “You’re awesome at delegating work and watching it all come together. Georgetown students work hard (and we Netflix even harder). Hoyas all possess the natural skill to command and demand attention. Come on, all of us have at least once delegated tasks and reaped the rewards. Life is a battlefield.”

its-handled

  • What flavor of Burnett’s are you?– “Sweeter than Whipped Cream, you are Sugar Cookie Burnett’s! This flavor should be illegal because it does not even seem like alcohol. You are perfect for fun night out, but not always for a crazy one! Maybe as the evening goes on…?”
  • Snapchat Updates Again: Emojis– “Fire- This emoji is the compliment to end all compliments. You guys are on a snapchat streak! Either you are besties missing each other or you are both too obnoxious on social media. Nonetheless, you have been snappin’ back and forth for the number of consecutive days indicated. Congrats!”

Honestly, I could list all my posts here. I have had such a blast being part of this amazing publication. Also, I’ll miss you all. Even those who rarely read my posts. Just having the opportunity to bring my thoughts to the world has been a gift to me. Don’t miss me too much.

Signing off from the Lau 3 reading room, forever 4E editor Coco.

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Photos/Gifs: bustle.com; theodysseyonline.com; buzzfeed.com; http://adnan.nyc/;  giphy.com; tumblr.com; manrepeller.com

Life in India: The Auto

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with transport in India, actually for anyone, familiar or not with the concept of the auto, please let me share with you my latest fascination.giphy

In fact, I am writing the post fresh from an auto ride. I think it may have been the closest to death I have ever been in my life and I promise you I laughed so hard I cried (subconsciously this could have been out of sheer exhaustion or terror, but we’ll go with the comical experience I chose to interpret it as).

It is 9:30pm and dark out here in Bangalore, and we were on our way back from a pub (so maybe a combination of tipsy as well). We had a bit of a hard time getting an auto driver to agree to take us to where we are staying, let alone do so for a fair price. We ended up settling on a driver who agreed to take us to Johnson Market for 100 rupees (basically the equivalent of $1.50 USD, but we were gypped nonetheless as the trek was really only worth 75 — but that’s not the point). Oh, and he was permanently cross eyed (I promise this adds important context).

Now, before I get too detailed let me explain the concept of the auto as best I can. Also known as a tuk tuk or rickshaw, an auto is basically the Indian equivalent of a taxi, at least purpose-wise. It has 3 wheels. Here they are often yellow and green. No doors, and a bench that fits up to two or three people — or sometimes even entire families — in the back. Three of us tend to fit into one very snuggly, however. They run on a meter, but more often than not (especially since we’re foreigners) they ask for double to triple what the meter would cost. Sometimes the moment we tell them where you want to go they speed away and we have to try upwards of 3 to 4 more to get one to let us in. They are our main mode of getting around this city and have, without fail, provided us with new experiences each day.

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I will not be able to describe the most recent ride with justice. Imagine if you were living out a video game in real time. A roofed four wheeler weaving through the busy city streets at night going far beyond an acceptable speed, and you the helpless passenger left to cringe (or in my case laugh hysterically) in the back. If this is still seeming like a “had to be there moment”, let me at least share with you a stream of thoughts that will hopefully help you get the picture:

  • So this is what it’s like to play chicken…
  • That’s 3 rounds of chicken in a row that we have won. (For those of you who may be unfamiliar, chicken is when two cars speed toward each other head on to see who will be there first (or last) to avoid hitting the other).
  • I wonder how fast we’re going.
  • Looks around the interior for the mandatory displayed registration: Nope, no license. This is safe.
  • I wonder how impossible it would be to tuck and roll into all this chaotic traffic?
  • These breaks are absolutely amazing!
  • I can’t believe we didn’t just hit that person, that family, that cow…giphy-1
  • At least I get the ATV experience while living in the city.
  • I can’t believe we didn’t rear-end that person… What, is that a mere 6 millimeters to spare?
  • The U-turning abilities on this thing are unreal.
  • Seriously sir, you’ve asked 5 people hoe to get to our location, please just let us get out and start over.
  • No English at all?
  • How on earth are we still alive?
  • How on earth have we not witnessed an accident? Perhaps the U.S. should switch up their traffic patterns: purge-style seems to be quite efficient.
  • When crossing the street: Hit me, you won’t.

This is my stream of conscious everyday, multiple times a day. Here’s to making it a full week without being hit by a car, only 9 to go!

Photos/Gifs: giphy.com, imgur.com, autogearcar.com, live.ac.uk