Sunday, July 18, 2010
It's pretty good to be back home :-)
But it's still a little sad because California can't really compete :-D. I'm definitely happy to be back because I really missed my family, but after New York, California can seem a little dull.
There's me looking sad to go back home on our last day :-)
So, New York is an amazing place and it's even better when you virtually get to go for free :-D. I experienced the Big Apple first hand and I will never forget it. I went to fancy restaurants and falafel trucks, I went to museums and college tours, I looked at expensive stores and shopped in cheap ones :-), and I was immersed in politics in a rigorous course that was made even more enriching by my location: the gateway to the world.
New York is a REAL melting pot. When you're there you will meet a Korean girl raised in Brazil, and a very interesting character from Missouri, and from all of the cultures circulating come ideas that are out of this world. In New York City I got to know people from all around the world, but even if you don't actually talk, the people watching is fantastic :-D.
When I stepped onto Columbia's campus I felt at home. I knew this was a big deal because I have visited quite a few schools, many on this trip, and that feeling is very rare. I've only gotten it at one other place. As a matter of fact, I quite often get a negative vibe from a school, so this feeling at Columbia was really special. It's a beautiful campus but what I love even more is that even though it's in the heart of the city [and Harlem is around the corner], they have magnificent campus life. There is a real pulse at Columbia and the students are involved in their campus. The food isn't that great but part of the beauty of New York is the fantastic ethnic cuisine all around. Columbia is definitely the place to be :-D.
My class was some really hard work. I put my foot into my paper and the end result showed it :-D. There was intensive reading--both books and articles--but I feel so much more knowledgeable that it was worth it. I also learned what kinds of political books I like and which I don't, which writing style I process better for those types of readings, and the organizational style I like. It was a total win/win situation :-D. Our teacher Dr. Z. was really nice and the seminar style of the class was really cool. If people other than myself had talked it would have been even cooler :-P. Just kidding, there was definitely class participation from everyone, I just really like to talk.
My trip to New York was the experience of the lifetime!!! Thank you sooooooooo much to everyone who made this possible and I will never forget you guys or this trip. To my ILC pals, you guys were amazing--I never expected you to be so nice or to actually make friends with you guys but I did and it was crazy fun :-). Now for some parting words of wisdom to anyone who may want to visit NY in the future:
1. The subway totally isn't that bad! It's actually really fun and you often meet really nice, new people. That aside, watch your purse.
2. Times Square at night is even cooler than Times Square during the day time and it's just as safe.
3. Eat the local cuisine!
4. Go to the museums, Fridays are free at some of the best ones!!!
5. Take a tour to get you oriented before you start sight-seeing.
6. Don't just go to the expensive stores, ask local people where they go to get their stuff because it's a fraction of the price and just as cute!
7. Don't buy anything at Times Square but post cards, there are wayyyy better places to go for souveniers. Except for the new Forever 21 and the H&M, but they have great deals so it's fine.
8. BRING WALKING SHOES!!! You walk everywhere in NYC and while your stilettos might be to-die-for, you will die if you try to walk in them :-D You can always change shoes once you get to your destination.
9. If you weren't planning on going to NYC change your mind because EVERYONE SHOULD GO!! :-D
Once again, thank you to everyone who made this possible.