My first quarter, going on the yellow busses during orientation.

5 Tips to enjoying Green River’s orientation week

Fall quarter is right around the corner and international programs is preparing for new students to arrive. It’s an exciting, but at the same moment,  anxious time, if you are about to leave your home country and go to a new country all the way across the ocean (or at least, that’s the case for most students). Besides knowing what to pack, and what to expect, it’s good to know what you could do to make your orientation a great one!

Riding horses at CORE

Riding horses during orientation week’s overnight camp.

1. Always speak in English

Even if you have people around you from  your own country, you should always speak in English. This way, you’re inclusive of other people. You will probably meet people from all over the world who you might not have met if you only speak to people who are speaking the same language as you. It also helps you to get more prepared to do well in an English speaking classroom.

2. Don’t be shy

New students during CORE

New students roasting marshmallows at the overnight camp

Everyone is new and everyone is looking for new friends. Walk up to that person standing in the corner or sitting by him or herself. You may have things in common with that person and you might end up making a new friend.

3. Have some starter sentences ready

There are a few sentences that can really help you to start a conversation or that can help you to get to know a little more about the people you’re talking with. Besides asking for their name (try your best to remember their names, even though you won’t remember everyone, getting to know about 5 names a day is a great start), you can ask them where they are from, what they are studying, where they would like to transfer to, or what made them come to Green River.

4. Say YES! to (almost) everything

Of course you shouldn’t get yourself in dangerous or illegal situations, but whenever someone asks you to do something, answer with an enthusiastic YES! Do you want to go to the movies? YES! Do you want to go grocery shopping? YES! Do you want to explore Seattle? YES! There’s a lot to do out there, and a lot of people to get to know. Whenever you say yes to something outside of your comfort zone, you get to experience something you might have never thought of doing. Doing fun activities will get your mind off home and potential homesickness. Being active and surrounding yourself with new friends is the best way to live a happy and social life in the USA.

5. Join the Seattle and CORE trip

This is a definite “Yes”! Green River offers a free overnight camping trip and Seattle trip. These offer great opportunities for you to meet new friends and see something besides your dorm room.

Meet your new friends during orientation

Make lots of new friends during orientation.


Graduation at Green River College


previous host family came to watch the graduation

Last week was graduation, and because I have spent the last two years at Green River and I took all the requirements for an Associates Degree, I got a chance to walk in an American graduation and celebrate all the hard work I have achieved in those past two years.

Not only did I graduate, but a lot of my friends did too and they got to walk along side me.  The ceremony started with a bagpipe marching band leading the procession.   It was amazing seeing so many people in the stadium which is usually used as an ice skating rink. Many of my friends who weren’t graduating showed up in the audience to cheer us on.
Some of the teachers gave speeches and awards were given to students, but the main part of the ceremony was getting our diploma. I was a little nervous going up on stage, but actually getting the diploma and walking off stage and thinking back of what I have done at Green River for the last two years made me feel really proud of myself. Of course, when everyone got their diploma and after we moved our tassel to the left side of our caps (which represents you being officially graduated), we got to throw our caps in the air. Marching out of the big hall and being surrounded by my AMAZING teachers was great. Their hard work, dedication and passion for teaching, is what helped me get to where I am now.DSC_0233

Graduation ends with taking photos with the friends, family and teachers. It was so great seeing everyone celebrating and being happy for you to enter a new stage in life. I can really say that Green River has given me so many friends, inspirational teachers and people who I would consider family.


My AMAZING communication teachers

The Beautiful Snoqualmie Falls

IMG_9650 (2)Washington State is full of beautiful scenery. The most well-known mountain in the state, Mount Rainier, is visible from many places. But not only Mt. Rainier is beautiful to see, the many forests, waterfalls and lakes make this state great.

One of the main tourist attractions in Washington State is Snoqualmie Falls located about 30 minutes from Green River College.  Not only is the waterfall great, but also the drive which shows all the beauty that Washington State has to offer. It is almost like driving through the Alps.

At the beginning of April, I went there with my Dutch friend, Milou. The amount of water on the waterfall was very low. In contrast, last winter the amount of water was historically high. Seeing the differences in nature makes Washington State such a special place to study.

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Snoqualmie Falls in the Spring


Snoqualmie Falls in the winter

Roadtrip to Vancouver


In the car

Spring beak is a great time to travel around and see a bit more of the country. Since Canada is only three hours away from Auburn, Washington, me and 9 of my friends decided to take a road trip and check it out.

We left really early in the morning and we packed plenty of cookies and snacks to make it to the border. It is highly recommendable to get to the border early in the morning. Our wait to cross the border was only 15 minutes, but I’ve heard people say they waited for about 2 hours.


Yummy food in Granville Island

Our first stop was Granville Island, an artistic island with lots of little stores and a great covered market. Many different countries are represented in the food and the small bakeries.  This is a great place to have some lunch.

After our lunch break we went to Stanley Park. This park is very nice for a long hike. The view of the city and the beautiful nature makes it really worth visiting. Besides that, it is the largest urban park in Vancouver.

Vancouver, Canada is great to visit if you study in Washington state. Keep in mind that in order to cross the border you’ll need some the following:

  • Valid passport with a valid student visa
  • An i-20 form with a signature within 6 months
  • Optional for some countries, a VISA for Canada

Happy travels!

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Stanley park with the group