It feels amazingly good to be back in DC and in the House. Familiar buildings, faces and the weather. DC doesn’t let you forget the humanity. The Fall has officially started and it gets a bit colder day by day.
The first month of school was pretty overwhelming. Lots of readings, a high tempo of going through readings, difficult and different lectures compared to the lectures I had back home in the Netherlands, and fast speaking native English speakers who are hard to follow. I found myself thinking about what I just have read after a page of reading, with the legal English terms which were unfamiliar for me. Many different questions are going through my mind, “am I going to survive this,” or “I underestimated the Master program in the US”.
Stress was coming up in my mind until I had the chance to confess this ongoing struggle with my classmates, and when it turned out that I am not the only one dealing with this “study shock,” I could continue breathing again. After speaking with different professors and classmates I realized that it was a matter of time to get used to this new system of learning. In the United States, lectures are quite different than back home, where I was listening to the professor, took notes and left. Here, lectures are different; there is interaction with the professor, where you have to answer questions about the readings and you have to explain your opinion.
Next to the study stress, which is kind of over now. I am used to the system, I also try to have a social life, which is less, comparing it to my stay in DC while I had an internship. I am blessed with the new international network I built up with classmates from all around the world and residents at ISH.
Every year, the International Student House holds its annual Global Leadership Awards Dinner which honors people who have made outstanding contributions toward international understanding. We are had a small Tribute Dinner for award winners, Members of Congress, and special guests. The Ambassador and Mrs. Sasae of Japan hosted a dinner at their residence on Thursday, September 17. I had the honor to be invited as a guest speaker and give a speech in the name of ISH. It was the best gift I could have had for my birthday, which was on that very same day. Being 25 years old and reaching this point made me proud. Also, this year has been my second birthday in DC and I must say that it is a very nice experience to be at ISH and studying in DC, celebrating your birthday with friends.
Whatever comes on my path, every day I am grateful for this opportunity. Roads are not always easy and have their ups and downs, but that makes us strong and brings us where we are today.