Travel Hacks for Thanksgiving

travel hacks 2The time has come. We finally get to go home! But don’t get too excited just yet. Before we leave the Georgetown bubble and arrive at our cozy beds and clean/functional showers, we have to account for that trip home. Whether it’s a plane, train, bus, or car ride home, here are some hacks to make the trip a little more comfortable.

  1. Take a blanket with you. Yes. From what I’ve learned on my Amtrak rides home is that it can get pretty cold. I’m not saying pack your whole twin-sized, puffy blanket from your dorm, but a thin one to make sleeping during the trip a little easier.
  2. Pack your earphones/headphones with a fully charged phone. While you’re still on campus, connect to the wifi and download all your songs on Spotify before you go. This way, you can go on airplane mode on the trip, save your battery, and still be able to listen to everything you’ve recently saved in your library. You’re going to need it when that one baby starts crying and ruins it for everyone.
  3. Pack snacks. Go to Hoya Snaxa, Vittles, CVS, wherever. Purchase your granola bars, bananas, candy, and whatever else to keep you comfortable for a couple hours.
  4. Wear layers. If it’s too hot, you can take off your sweater with a shirt underneath. Don’t put the extra layer in your suitcase that’s overhead, but wear it or put in your backpack for easy access.
  5. Wear a baseball hat. Now this one may seem questionable at first. But do it. At one point or another on the trip, you’re going to get tired–and the lights may still be bright on your plane/train/bus. You can’t bust out a sleeping mask, so use your hat. This has saved me on my trips. Tip your hat over your face and now you can rest in peace and in the dark.
  6. If you’re not the type who can handle listening to music for a couple hours straight, download some movies on your laptop before you go.
  7. This is the crucial tip. If you want to be productive on your trip home, make sure you plan ahead. Most transportation methods don’t provide free wifi. That means download all your assignments from Blackboard and load your online articles before hand. This way, you can still work on your assignment without an internet source.
  8. Last but not least, dress comfortably. Whether that means wearing leggings or sweatpants instead of jeans, slip-ons instead of sneakers, t-shirts instead of button-ups–be sure you can endure sitting in your chosen outfit for a couple of hours. 

That’s it, folks! Happy almost Turkey Day! :)

Gifs: giphy.com

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

God Bless Our Metro

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Well, not so much God. Pope bless our Metro. If you haven’t heard, don’t own Snapchat or are just oblivious, the Pope is in town. Yes, that is right, the Holy Father is in the building (and, by building, I mean the District).

Pope Francis leads his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Jan. 15. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (Jan. 15, 2014) See POPE-AUDIENCE Jan. 15, 2014.

Naturally, his presence is going to cause major travel problems across the city. Metro, car, bus… you name it, you probably can’t take it. Personally, I was unable to travel to my internship downtown today because of the Pope. But, hey, I am not complaining about teleworking.

While some people are upset about these travel problems, others are taking a more proactive approach to the problem. One DC citizen has even created a petition, which urges that the Pope bless the D.C. Metro.

Anyone who takes the Metro often knows how many problems it has. It breaks down, it has fires or it just doesn’t show up. We, the citizens of D.C., cannot seem to win. Even when no one important is in town (Read: Not the normal characters), it still doesn’t run in a timely or orderly fashion.

So, Mr. Rosenheck has decided to take matters into his own hands:

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This is obviously so necessary, the Metro is out of control. Will a blessing help the problem, though? The D.C. Metro is in a transition now, so maybe a religious blessing is what we need?

So, would you sign the petition?

Thanks to the DCist for this extremely important information.

Photos/Gifs: DCist.com; wikimedia.org; wordpress.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

GTFO: Hidden Study Spots in DC

GTFO

GTFO is back, and here to help you find more ways to leave campus. With finals coming up

Oops, where was I? Anyways, with finals coming up, 4E has decided to help you find free hidden study spots throughout DC. If caffeine isn’t your thing, don’t fret! There are plenty of non-coffee-shop ways to escape the soul-sucking monstrosity that is Lau, the primal fights that arise when two pre-med students fight over a booth in Regents and the smug looks thrown your way out the windows of the MSB castle after your GoCard stops working at midnight.

LET ME IN MSB

Here are some of the best places to enhance your studying by exploring DC:

1. The Bishop’s Garden: Pilgrim Rd Washington, DC 20016

What is it: The Bishop’s Garden is located in the back of the National Cathedral, a short two-mile walk from campus.

Why you should go: It’s a great place to sit out in the sun and work on your Problem of God paper or read John Calvin. Although there’s no wifi, the garden is a peaceful place to get work done and escape the masses of stressed out students.

How to get there: if you aren’t feeling the 2 mile walk, you can take the 30S bus up Wisconsin.

2. Kogod Courtyard: 8th St NW & F St NW, Washington, DC 20001

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What is it: Located inside the National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian American Art Museum, Kogod Courtyard is a cool modern space with lots of tables and free wifi.

Why you should go: If you get tired of studying, you can check out the America’s Presidents gallery or the American Art Museum exhibits (arguably the coolest museum in DC). Bonus: Shake Shack is right across the street.

How to get there: Take the D6 bus to 7th and E, or the Metro red line from Dupont to Gallery Place.

3. The Metro

What is it: This might be a me thing (OK, it’s definitely a me thing), but the Metro is arguably the best study spot in DC.

Why you should go: People-watching is by far the best form of procrastination, and when you’re sick of contemplating the intricacies of macroeconomics, you can contemplate the underground architectural marvel that is the WMATA. Bonus: there’s almost nothing in life as satisfying as riding the Metro to the end of the line, walking across the platform, and getting back on the train going the other way. I also should probably find a hobby other than obsessing over the Metro.

How to get there: If you’re a blue/silver/orange line person, hop on the GUTS bus from Rosslyn and take the Metro from there. If you’re a red line person, take the GUTS bus to Dupont to begin the best study session of your life.

4. Constitution Gardens: 

What is it: Constitution Gardens is another outdoor option for all you lucky people who don’t get sunburned after spending two minutes outside.

Why you should go: Located near the Reflecting Pool but away from all the tourists, Constitution Gardens is a beautiful spot to relax under the shadow of the Washington Monument. Bask in the glory of ‘Merica while cranking out some reading.

How to get there: Constitution Gardens is very close to the Lincoln Memorial, so it’s a doable walk or bike ride. You can also get pretty close using the D6 bus or the Foggy Bottom Metro stop.

5. The Library of Congress: 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540

What is it: The reading room at the Library of Congress is the most legit place to study in the District.

Why you should go: Studying in the hallowed halls of the LoC is a great procrastination preventer as going on Facebook seems sacrilegious when you’re surrounded by actual researchers doing actual research. Bonus: Having a Library of Congress card automatically makes you an ultimate swagmaster and way cooler than all of your friends. Flash that baby at Brown House and you will never again be asked, “Who do you know here?”

How to get there: Both the 30S and the D6 bus will get you within walking distance of the Library. You can also take the Metro from Rosslyn to the Capitol South stop.

Take advantage of all the awesome places DC has to offer, and GTFO during your finals cram sessions. Lau 2 will always be here to welcome you back with open arms and negative productivity.

Photos/Gifs: giphy.com, streetepistemology.com, stationsmart.com, americanart.si.edu, living-in-washingtondc.com, wikipedia.org, blogs.loc.com

OWN IT Speaker Profiles: Zim Ugochukwu

OWN IT Speaker Profiles

 

After last year’s overwhelming success, the OWN IT Summit is back! As The Hoya is the campus media partner, 4E will be periodically bringing you profiles of the illustrious speakers. Our third featured speaker is the founder and CEO of Travel Noire, Zim Ugochukwu.

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 10.25.18 AM Zim was born in Mankato, Minnesota to two Nigerian immigrants.

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While she has lived all over the world, she is currently residing in San Francisco.

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Those locations included New Delhi, Greensboro, Bangalore and Dharamshala!

Zim attended the University of North Carolina, where she studied Biology.

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She is the founder and CEO of Travel Noire and is an incredible travel coach.

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Sometimes she hangs with cool people.

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Zim was named one of Glamour’s 20 Amazing Young Women Who are Already Changing the World.

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And, she was named one of 10 of America’s Most Daring Young Black Activists. Talk about accomplished.

Oh and her instagram is out of this world.

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 10.47.56 AMBasically Zim is everything we want to be and more. 4E cannot wait to hear about all of her worldly adventures and her experience creating an extremely successful country.

Less than a month until you get to be in awe of her in person!

Info/Photos: https://instagram.com/zimism/; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephanie-kaplan/glamours-20-amazing-young_b_787106.html#s190009title=Maritza_R_Alarcn; http://www.thenation.com/blog/159004/10-americas-most-daring-young-black-activists#; http://zimism.com/

‘Marcel the Shell with Shoes On’ Is Back

marcelisbackIt’s true. Our favorite little one-eyed shell is back after almost 2 years. If you don’t know who Marcel the Shell is you must learn now.

Marcel looks like this:

tumblr_nbe7asiWnb1rt4qmeo1_400And says adorable things in his raspy little voice, like this:

“I like myself and I have a lot of other great qualities” and “Guess what I do for adventure? I hang-glide on a Dorito.”

This is his first video:

Marcel was created by Jenny Slate, former “SNL” cast member and star of the new movie, “Obvious Child.” Marcel deals with serious problems like wanting a nickname but knowing that he can’t give himself one, turning pages and sleeping eight to the muffin.

This is his second video: 

In his new video, Marcel gets locked out of the house and has to wait it out in the rain.

And this is his brand new video:

Marcel also has put out a book for all of us to enjoy all of his lovely sayings like “Life’s a party, rock your body.”

For all of us at 4E, I want to thank Marcel for coming back, and not impaling us on a hairbrush and reminding us that we should smile just because it’s worth it.

Got Jet Lag?

Jetlag

Some of you (by which I mean myself) may have noticed that I’ve been uncharacteristically silent on 4E these past few weeks. The reason: I’ve been in China! The time difference between “the Middle Kingdom” and D.C. is about 12 hours, and as you might imagine, adjusting my sleep schedule has been a piece of cake.

Just kidding. Jet lag is a very real phenomenon, and I’m sure that many of you 4E readers have experienced it. But in case you’ve forgotten how it feels to have your circadian rhythm temporarily destroyed, here’s a handy reminder.

You fall asleep at dinnertime.

Like this, except you’re surrounded by family and friends and also you’re not Tina Fey.

What? You thought that only the elderly do that? You thought wrong. One minute you’re sitting down to eat, the next, your mother is shaking you awake and you have a piece of food stuck to your chin.

You wake up at 2 a.m.

Maybe your parents are practical people who decide to take a pill to help them sleep, thus restoring their normal sleep schedule. But you’re above all that. No, you’re going to pass out and wake up whenever you please! To that end, you’re going to jolt awake disturbingly early and be forced to play inane phone games for five hours.

You get hungry at weird hours.

Yesterday, I had a large breakfast at 7 a.m. At 10:30 a.m., I had lunch. At 2 p.m., I was hungry again. Apparently, when your sleep schedule is off, so is your food schedule. But never fear! This is why snacks were invented: for exhausted travelers who realize that their dad took the last of the ham.

You have difficulty doing basic tasks.

At the grocery store, you’re asked to grab a carton of orange juice. Approaching the stacks and stacks of cartons, you’re suddenly confused beyond belief. Do I normally drink low pulp or no pulp? Does it matter if it’s Tropicana or Minute Maid? What if I don’t want an extra infusion of Vitamin C? If you were in your normal, non-groggy state you’d realize that this internal argument is absurd, because all orange juice is amazing. Of course, there is the distinct possibility that you have difficulty doing basic tasks when you aren’t jet-lagged. We won’t judge.

It should be noted that for all the trouble jet lag can sometimes be, it’s completely worth it. Exploring different countries is one of the most fun things you can do, and as college students, we are in a prime time of our lives to visit and experience other cultures. Just bring some snacks and drink some caffeine, and you’re good to go. Happy traveling, Hoyas!

Photo: youredm.com
Gifs: tumblr.com, photobucket.com, giphy.com

How It Felt To Go Home for Winter Break

Home-for-the-Holidays-ColoradoCongratulations, Hoyas, you made it through finals. If you are anything like us at 4E, you’re probably already sitting on your couch and binging on Netflix with a plate of food the size of a dwarf planet. Needless to say, it feels great to be home. But just in case you needed reminding how awesome it really is leave for winter break, we retold your homebound journey for you. It went something like this:

When you finished your last final, you questioned if everything was real life. Could you actually be done?

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In a brain-fried daze, you slowly walked back into your room and opened the door. Then you did this:
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But you suddenly realized your train/plane was leaving in an hour and you hadn’t packed anything.tumblr_lv98xhjZEx1r6aoq4o1_500

So you shoved everything humanly possible into your suitcase and ran out the door.tumblr_m7ujvlcv1X1rcp7w8o1_500

And – thank goodness – you made it to the airport/train station. [Insert sigh of relief.]

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Your travelling came and went. Before you knew it, you saw your house. And then it hit you: YOU WERE HOME!

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And then you walked inside your house and everything just felt so good.

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And then you saw your fridge filled with food!

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After that, you realized you had an infinite amount of free time with no homework to do …

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… except listen to Beyoncé’s new album. Over. And. Over. Again.beyonce-1

But wait! You just realized Christmas is coming!excited-1

And, finally, the most amazingly breathtaking thing of all happened: YOU SAW YOUR BED.

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So for the next 14 hours, you looked like this.

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Yeah, that’s basically how it all went down. Enjoy your time off and happy holidays from 4E!

GIFS: tumblr; Photo: backround-pictures.feedio.net

DCTC: Dulles International Airport

DCTC DULLES

Earlier today, we showed you how to get to Union Station and Reagan National Airport in preparation for spring break at the end of this week!

By popular demand, here is a guide to getting to Dulles International Airport as well!

Route 1 Take/book a SuperShuttle! SuperShuttle is a shared van-ride system that can take you from the front gates right to Dulles. You need to make an online reservation to get one!

Cost: The fare is around $29 to Georgetown main campus for the first passenger in your group and $8 for each additional passenger (up to 5 passengers), excluding tip (check their website for price updates).

Route 2 MetroBus 5A is an express bus going from Rosslyn Metro Station to Dulles. You can take the GUTS bus from the McDonough parking lot to the Rosslyn Metro and take the 5A to the airport.

Cost:  The GUTS bus is free, the fare for this MetroBus is $3.

Route 3 A good ol’ taxicab. And to quote the helpful advice of Matt Caulfield from his article directing you to Reagan, “Hint: Sometimes even if you have a small or manageable bag, the drivers will insist on picking it up for you to put it in their trunk. BEWARE that some services add a bag-handling fee to your fare.”

Cost: It’s about a $60 cab ride (sadly) so grab one or two friends to make it more manageable!