So much going on!

As the title says, so much was going on in the middle of fall quarter. Let’s begin with where I left off in my previous blog. One Friday evening, Lansing Bryan, officially our contact person for students from the Netherlands but really the kindest woman I’ve ever met, took a group of us to an American football game at her son’s high school. It was so much fun, seeing the all of the players on the field, the cheerleaders, marching band. And of course we were trying to figure out the rules of the game. I thought it was really cool.

That same weekend on Saturday I booked a trip to Portland in Oregon. By myself with one of those giant Amtrak trains (they’re pretty big compared to Dutch trains). I always wanted to go and ever since a famous Dutch television show filmed there even more. It was amazing! I have seen so much, like one of world’s biggest bookstores called Powels. But I also walked over the many bridges, ate my way through the Saturday and Famers market, I went shopping, wandered through the rose garden and took a ride in a cable car to enjoy the city from the sky. It was quite the experience doing it all alone. But I had fun.

In the following week, there was going to be a Halloween dance party at the school. Now I just needed something to wear. So me, Tanja and Bram (all Dutch) decided to go to the Outlet Center, which is right next to Wall Mart here in Auburn. But first we had lunch at IHOP. The International house of pancakes. And you guessed right, those pancakes were amazing! Probably really bad for you as well, but it can’t do any harm just this once right?! Afterwards I bought an orange pumpkin faced t-shirt for the dance, which was perfect for me. The dance itself was fun! The Green River dancing studio had prepared a ten-minute-long dance, which was great and a lot of people really wore exceptional costumes.

The morning after the dance I signed up to go to The Nisqually wildlife center. This time not just for fun. Because I was planning on shooting my video-journalism final assignment there as well. It was beautiful! It was very foggy as well which gave me such an incredible feeling. Like we were nowhere. For my video, I interviewed John who guides us on most Green River trips and Christina. An international student ambassador who organized the trip this time. It turned out fine and started editing the whole thing back at home.

On Halloween itself, we had a day off from school. Me, Tanja and a German girl called Amelie decided to go to Seattle. It was a beautiful day with a clear sky (quite odd in rainy Seattle) and we wanted to see the city from its best. We went to the top of the Columbia Center, the highest building in Seattle and to Kerry Park. A free park with a nice view of the city. That evening we wanted to eat somewhere. But we didn’t know how serious Americans were about Halloween, because everything was closed! So we just ate at home instead.

Remember how I wrote that campus life organizes a lot of trips and that I signed up for pretty much everything during fall quarter? At the beginning of November I went along on a hiking trip in the Mima Mounds Area followed by a tour in the capitol building in Olympia. The Washington state capitol. It was very interesting and at some point I felt like I was in the White House or something.

When I had to decide whether I was going to stay for another quarter or not I looked back at everything I had already seen and experienced and everyone I have met so far. I mean one of my roommates in from Japan, the next day you sit in class next to someone from Italy or just from Kent, Washington (which is a city about 30 minutes away from here). I love hearing stories about where people are from and what they do and dream of. Plus, I heard about all of the trips GRC would organize in the snow! So I decided to stay for Winter quarter as well.

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School starts and hiking Mt. Rainier

After getting used to everything, from finding out where Wall Mart is to the laundry rooms and where we could find our advisors it was officially time to start college life. As I said in my first blog, I had four subjects fall quarter and class every day. At first, it was quite difficult for me to really do everything in English, like taking notes and making a quiz. But you have no idea how fast you get used to it. A lot of my classes were with another Dutch girl called Irene, that was great! We could walk to school together or talk about homework and eat Domino’s giant pizzas together. I liked my art design class most, because I like learning new computer designing programs. But there are classes for literally everything, if you like sociology or criminal justice for example.

Our first weekend into the quarter, campus life organized a trip to Mount Rainier National Park. It was a pretty long drive, don’t underestimate distance in the US, but it was totally worth it. It was so beautiful! Fall had just begun, so everywhere you looked were these bright colors and high trees with big leaves. We first stopped near an amazing waterfall, before we headed up to a visitor’s center where we ate some. Then we hiked to a much higher point where it started to snow! I was so not prepared for that. We walked for about four hours, before we went back to school. It was a wonderful day.

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The weather was great my first weeks here. One of my favorite things about GRC is that it’s not in the middle of a big city. In fact, right behind the school is a forest. Where you can walk several trails and have some great views of Mount Rainier. When I was first introduced to it, I knew I would be coming there a lot. And I did. You can also walk all the way to the river. I tried to swim there when it was super hot outside, but the water was still very cold. Nevertheless, I tried!

I also went to Seattle again with another Dutchie called Tanja. It is a wonderful city, very urban and relaxed. We went Pike place market again, the best spot in Seattle if you ask me. They have over a hundred shops where you can find literally anything! We also found a great restaurant, where I still go almost every time I’m there. And with the ferry to Bainbridge Island. If you know Grey’s anatomy, you’ll recognize this place.

On October 13th, I skyped with my sister because it was her birthday. At moments like this you really don’t like being so far away from them. Luckily the next day campus life organized another trip. This time to the Northwest trek zoo. I really like animals and just going somewhere for a day so it distracted me a lot. We saw some wild native animals, like a bison, moose, deer and goats during a nice tram ride.

By November 1st I was supposed to know if I was going to stay for another quarter or not. I was sure of myself that I was going home by the end of December. More reasons why stayed in the next blog!

Introduction

Hi there, I am Naomi van Roon! I am currently 20 years old and from Zoetermeer in The Netherlands, close to The Hague. Right now, I am sitting in my room in my apartment at cca. Our homes next to Green River College. Because that’s where I go now. When I finished my study in The Netherlands I had no idea what to do next. Should I study something else, or maybe get a job? And that’s when I decided I needed some time to think about it. To be sure of a good decision. I wanted to go to the USA and spend my gap year studying at a college. Then I would be able to travel, see many different places, meet new friends and still be working on school. I requested information from many colleges and universities across the country, but when I came to Green River College, I knew that I had to look no further. I immediately got a personal email. When I looked more into where the college is located and what subjects they offer, I asked some help from an organization that guided me through all of it. And here I am! Already in my second quarter at GRC in Auburn, just 45 minutes away from Seattle.

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When I first got here, I was overwhelmed by all the information we got in such short time. The first week was called orientation and was all about getting to know the school, our surroundings and each other. We had to go through a couple of tests, short introductions with our advisors, had a little get together with just the European students and of course we went to Seattle. We also went on a one night camp, called CORE. To just have some fun before school would start the following week.

I had 4 classes during fall quarter. Art design, video-journalism, geography and volleyball. I needed to have at least 12 credits, to maintain my visa, but ended up taking 16. Three heavy 5 credit subjects and a 1 credit sport, just for fun. GRC offers so many student life activities, I guess I almost signed up for every trip past quarter. Of which I’ll tell more later in the next blog.

Meet Jason!

Jason Charnock is 18 year old Dutch gap year student here at Green River College.

Jason

What made you decide to come to the USA?
I did not know what I wanted to study in The Netherlands after high school and a gap year at college in the US gave me the opportunity to take many different classes to help me decide what major to choose when I go back to The Netherlands. The USA was and is always one of my favorite places to visit. Second of all is that I think that English is a really important language to speak and understand in your future life. The other reason is that I think that it is a really valuable experience for anyone.

Why did you choose GRC?18472077_1550511778354675_2044862673_o
I chose GRC because I went to an information session in The Netherlands where one of the GRC representatives gave a presentation. They made me really excited about Green River because of the very personal approach GRC has as well as a very good international program. They also have a wide selection of classes that you can take. For example, their aviation department is really good and I like to take classes there. I would choose GRC again if I had to do it over and would recommend it to every future gap year student.

How has your gap year been so far?
My gap year so far is great! I made a lot of friends and I am having a really good time here. There are many fun things to do here, like going to sports events, hiking and exploring Seattle.

What do you like most about GRC?
What I like about GRC is that they take good care of their international students. The first time you come here they help you with a lot of things what makes everything a lot easier. And every staff member I ever had to deal with has been very friendly and helpful!18519182_1555064607899392_1229656125_o.jpg

What is your most memorable experience since you have been here this year?
There have been so many! One of them is that I really like to travel so I have made quite a lot of trips here and spent Christmas in Costa Rica and New Year in San Diego. I travelled to LA with a friend I met at GRC and we even made it on TV in the US and the Netherlands! I celebrated my birthday at Seattle Mariners with 8 friends from 4 different countries.

What is a must-do or must-see as an international student here?18472070_1550511745021345_1253046212_o
 A must do in the United States is just to go places. Flights to LA for example are not expensive. SeaTac (the airport) is pretty close to GRC what makes it a lot easier. Another must do is go to American sports games like baseball and basketball. Participating in club activities is also a must as you meet new people and go on many fun excursions.

What are your plans for when your gap year is over?
After my gap year I will go to Avans Hogeschool in Breda and I will study International Engineering & Management there.

Do you have any tips for new gap year students?
Take part in as many activities as you can fit in. Join different clubs from college to meet many new people. Choose a wide range of subjects. Mingle with all the different nationalities and learn about different cultures.

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