A part of my soul will always belong to the USA

Written by Elpida Constantinou

Honestly, if you gave me all the time in the world, it still wouldn’t be enough for me to talk to you about the United States. When I signed up to be a part of Study Abroad, I never thought that this experience would change who I was so quickly. A year later, the person I was and the person I am are two drastically different people. The University of Mary Washington in Virginia is located in Frederiksberg’s scenic town. The students of UMW are the heart and soul of this tiny town. The locals and students are so friendly and inclusive. I felt at home on the first day. Although a smaller university in size, UMW has the heart of an Eagle. Choosing just six pictures to share my experience was honestly a challenge. Yet each of them includes why a part of my soul will always belong to the USA.

              Within two weeks of being at UMW, I was accepted into the UMW Dance Team. This opportunity unlocked a whole new world of experiences and friendships I could have never imagined. Wednesdays and Saturdays were now game days, and I had a new group of friends around me that ended up being a fantastic support unit as a whole. The UMW dance team members were far more than teammates.

              Game days are undoubtedly what set the USA universities apart from other places in the world. Game days are religion and being part of them was the least to say magical. Students cheering and wearing the school colors, the dance team on the sidelines supporting the UMW Eagles basketball team. The energy was compelling. Even people that did not particularly enjoy sports were captivated by the atmosphere and would cheer on.

              I have made irreplaceable friendships by being part of the dance team and participating in dance team bonding activities. I had the opportunity to talk and share experiences with amazing people I still talk to and can’t wait to see again.  Our inside jokes on the sidelines and laughs cross my mind daily. 

Fraymar is one of the accommodation options for the students of UMW. Unlike all the other options at UMW, Fraymar is a house with a community and a legacy. To anyone reading this and thinking about applying to UMW, choose Fraymar; it will undoubtedly be the best choice. When I was a part of Fraymar, I had the opportunity to live with 14 fun and unique individuals. Concurrently, because Fraymar is a house, I firmly believed it helped me feel more at home. As a community, Fraymar organizes events and partakes in several activities of UMW. As a study abroad student, the community of Fraymar helped me feel at home and make friends very quickly. A few of the activities we organized were taco-night, trivia, hiking, crafts, and celebrating the Chinese New Year. With highly diverse occupants, Fraymar is the perfect place to meet interesting and helpful people, which I was lucky enough to call my friends. Personally, the details of Fraymar is what makes it so special. The house architecture, the nights we all watched movies together, the home-like feel, and people’s constant presence are elements I miss daily.

Ever since I was younger, I had a dream of experiencing Spring Break in the USA. Due to a fantastic group of friends, a little luck, and planning on the 29th of February, I landed in Miami, FL. Fort Lauderdale beach was packed with students from all over the country. I got to experience a lovely week in the sun and with good food. Meeting people from other universities was so exciting as we got to talk and share different stories while soaking up the warm sun on the sandy Miami beaches. Miami is a place with a lot of different cultural influences. Some examples include Cuban and Hispanic. The streets of Miami are filled with beautiful street art that is surrounded by towering sky-scrappers. The mixing and development of all the different cultures together have created a radiant and vibrant community of amiable people. At the same time, it was both weird and scary to see a gator just relaxing in on a golf course while we were driving by. Miami is so diverse and unique and is definitely a place I will be visiting again as there is so much to see and enjoy.

Washington, DC, is a city like no other. The Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and the White House are defining history pieces. Having the opportunity to visit them and walk around D.C was on my bucket list long before I even considered applying to Study Abroad. As a city, D.C is exceptionally scenic and beautiful, especially during the springtime when the cherry blossoms bloom. As the USA’s political epicenter, you feel power and change while walking around the city. The unique mixture of historical monuments and modern buildings creates an environment like no other. As an aspiring lawyer, I fell in love with D.C, especially when I got to see the Supreme Court of the USA. Simultaneously, when you dig a little deeper, the city is also filled with fun activities like the D.C zoo, The Capitals Hockey Arena, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the National Air Space Museum.  All in all, if I could be in any city right now, Washington, D.C would be my choice in a heartbeat.

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