Taking international students on local trips to cities has been enormous fun. Towards the end of last semester about six students and I went on a trip to Washington D.C. Our plans were to go visit the Museum of the Native American and then have some free time, nothing too drastic, but it ended up being much more than that.
Once we arrived, plans changed a little. The majority of the group was hungry for lunch so we had free time first. During this time a small group of us ate a quick lunch and went to explore. We went to the Jefferson Memorial, the White House; we even took a ride on the carousel outside of the Smithsonian Castle! When I asked Estera, our exchange student from Slovenia, about the trip she said that the time we spent walking around was so fun and relaxing that, “it felt like I had been going to D.C for years and I just happened to pop in for the day.” She also told me about hearing a street performer play “Peanuts,” and seeing all the people play games on the Mall; seeing everyone having a good time, seeing the city in full swing was incredible. The trip was more than a visit to the museum. Traveling up to Washington D.C I was able to show my fellow students my culture and city.
Another student, Natsuko, our exchange student from Japan, also had fond memories of the trip to Washington D.C. She told me about how going on the excursion was not only about getting to know the city, but she was able to connect more with other exchange students—learning about their cultures, and sharing her own culture with them. And in that same vein of culture she spoke to me about the Museum of the Native American, referencing the short American history (compared to Japan’s long history), but the acceptance the United States has had of different cultures.
The trip to Washington D.C was not just a lovely opportunity for the international students to visit the city and learn about American culture, but it was an incredible opportunity for me. Showing people around the city I spent much time in as a child and having the opportunity to learn about their cultures was tremendous fun. I cannot wait for our next trip! This time we are going to Baltimore!
Written by Adriana Rossel – The Office of International Education’s International Student Ambassador