3 weeks in China – what I did, what I would change

Summer 2017 marked the end of my time as a full-time student and the end of undergraduate studies for my boyfriend; and as such, we wanted to do a big trip together to celebrate. We initially thought of Japan, but realised it was a bit too expensive for our student budgets (we’ve actually just been this summer 2018!), so my boyfriend suggested China.

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3 Months down, 2 to go.

I’m almost 3 months in, and I can already tell that I will miss my semester abroad terribly. My experiences so far have been brilliant, and as well as the academic differences, I’m enjoying the subtle differences. So far, these have included language, a more causal culture, the independence and undoubtedly travel. Studying abroad has definitely enhanced my confidence and personal development, and I like knowing that I’m able to move to a different country on my own without too much trouble.

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Spring Break

Spring Break – a very American institution. As well as enjoying myself at Georgetown, I knew I would love the traveling aspect of this semester abroad. I decided to opt against the traditional break of going to in the Caribbean, Mexico or Miami, and took in four cities across the states. Beginning in LA, and ending in Chicago, this is a brief summary of my 8 day Spring Break.

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Internships & Competitiveness

For the past few months I’ve been interning/volunteering one day a week at the Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign. If you are not aware, Senator Sanders is in the running to gain the Democratic nomination alongside Hillary Clinton. He is very much as left wing as allowed in America, which on the whole is pretty right wing. I tend to think of Hillary Clinton as being far closer to David Cameron than Blairites. He has similar stances to Corbyn, but not as left.

From speaking to others at Georgetown and George Washington University, I’ve noticed the emphasis there is on interning alongside one’s studies. During orientation, there was a whole session dedicated to the protocols of interning. It isn’t unheard of back at King’s to intern, I know a few people that do so, but it isn’t an overwhelming majority like I have found here. Amongst exchange students, there a few of us that do, and the majority that aren’t, are actively seeking one. I know someone who is interviewing to work at his country’s embassy, and a few that intern at Capitol Hill.

I do believe that interning an excellent thing to be doing to stand out from the crowd in the employment market, but I have noticed that it breeds an intense level of competition, and from talking to others, a lot of people really don’t like what they do. I feel like this is a typical view of those that intern, and I do know a girl that enjoys where she interns, but others I know aren’t as crazy about it. I must admit I’ve become disengaged with campaign work, especially when the majority of the time I am phoning people that don’t want to talk to me. It is exciting working on a campaign, but I know that having a few months working in America will look good for my CV. That argument is the reason why those of us intern, but there are some implications to this, i.e. stress. It might be just me, but with the intense workload at Georgetown, it often seems like too much balancing it all.

Although, I only do one day a week, and I know others that do two or even three days. This constant work must lead to a lot of stress and sacrifice when considering schoolwork. The professor for my ‘Politics of Inequality’ class (Matthew Carnes) took a poll in our class today, asking how stressed the class of 40 felt in general, over two thirds felt stressed regularly, with one of the two thirds feeling ‘overwhelmed’. This institution is a highly academic and rigorous one, and adding intern culture to the mix breeds a stressful environment, which speaks volumes for the calibre of the students here. As I become more integrated into this institution, I notice myself working harder, as if to keep up with everyone else, and this sentiment is quite common. I do wonder if other students are open about feeling stressed. Considering the competitive nature I imagine there is a desire to act as if coping with a lot of work, an internship, and extracurriculars is the norm. As well as being the norm, the amount of activities and stress one is under is almost glorified, causing people to gloat how much they have to do. The poll in my class earlier made me reconsider the Georgetown environment. Don’t get me wrong, this university a great place to study, impressive academics, and I really am loving it here, but there is a question of whether this competitive culture is healthy.

 

President’s Day Weekend: New York

New York Weekend (12th February -> 15th February)

Today is President’s Day, a somewhat national holiday. It essentially celebrates the presidents, and it usually lies between Lincoln’s birthday and Washington’s, but today it actually falls on old Uncle Abe’s birthday. Happy birthday Mr. Lincoln. I say a ‘somewhat’ national holiday because some colleges have the day off – mine, and some do not. I feel deep sorrow for those who don’t. Thanks to this day off, three friends and I decided to have a little trip to New York.

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Week 1, Moving In

I’ve now been at Georgetown for a week and a day, and so far it’s pretty great. This past week has been incredibly busy, quite intense, but overall enjoyable. Here’s a recap of the past week.

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Today!

Today’s the day! I’m currently sitting in the airport waiting for my gate number to pop up on the board, and I couldn’t be more excited. I don’t think I’ll write much today because there isn’t much to say! All I can say is that I’m beyond excited now, and can’t believe the day has finally come. Anyone that knows me knows my (borderline) obsession with the US, so being able to live there for almost 6 months is a real dream.

This morning was an early start granted, but it was fine checking in and getting through security. T5 is always efficient for this. I had a quick breakfast with my mum and dad at Carluccio’s before I went in, then a rather emotional sendoff of course. I just took advantage of duty free and purchased a few bits, and then to WHS Smiths to buy a few packs of minstrels to tide me over. One thing about the US I don’t like is their sweets (or candy, have you). Not a fan. Hershey’s? No thanks. These minstrels will be great to have the first few days. Or unless I eat them on the flight.

So the plan for now is get on the plane, arrive through customs, get my visa stamp, cab to my hotel for the night, grab dinner, and sleep. I expect I’ll be pretty tired so I’m not planning to do anything much this evening.

I think that’s about it! My next post will be from DC!!!!

🙂