After spending a couple of days at Rice and a few with my brother, I left Houston at 6am on Sunday, January 18, 2015! I can’t believe that after months of pre-departure tasks, I was finally on my way to Washington, DC for the first leg of this study abroad adventure. My amazing brother, Herbey, gave me a ride to the airport, and I didn’t need to wait too long for my flight. I flew from HOU to DFW and then made my connection from DFW to DCA with like 5 mins to spare (BTW Chicago Fire is a pretty good show).
When I landed, I received a message from Asha, a girl from my program who I made plans with to travel to the World Learning Office. Her friend picked us up, and we made our way. We talked for a bit; she’s Ethiopian and goes to school in Providence College. We realized that we both packed so much, but once we entered the room where people had put their stuff – we knew we were OK. We met our Trustees Fellow, Lindsey, and she seems like a great person. Since the reception didn’t start until 2pm, we were forced to leave the building. We went to a Thai place for lunch, and it was sooo good. On our way back, someone came out of a Starbucks and called out to us – another IHP-er, Ola.
After getting to know 3 of the other IHP-ers, one who also attends Rice, we made our way to the World Learning Office lobby, where the rest were waiting. The reception was nice and comfy. We all mingled… typical small talk – name, school, year, major, etc. After about a half-hour, there were introductions of our staff, presentation of our program, and the dreaded goodbyes. I had already bid farewell to my family, so I just hung around with the other solo IHP-ers.
The rest of the day consisted of welcome packets, safety orientation, and getting to know one another. We walked to our hostel, and had some time to settle in. Since the program catered our dinner, we went back to the office, and played some typical icebreakers (taking me back to O-Week)! We went back to the Hostel to get some rest, because we start off bright an early tomorrow (even if it is MLK day).
I still can’t believe that I’m here with 27 great students and a staff that will impress anyone. Here’s to an unforgettable semester!