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 Settling In 

Submitted by Constantin Berlin on Sun, 01/28/2018 - 05:00

It’s been an interesting couple of first days for me. After spending a week rather off the usual touristic places in NYC (my highlights: thrift shopping in Brooklyn and exploring freezing-cold and almost completely abandoned Coney Island) I have finally arrived in Geneva, NY — the place I will call home for the next 4 months or so. The journey upstate was exhausting and frustrating. The bus from NYC was delayed 1.5h, which meant that we missed the connecting bus in Binghamton, NY. I decided to take a Lyft together with my fellow exchange students to drive the last 200 kilometers. The alternative would have been waiting another 4 hours to catch the next bus. However, this scenario was rejected pretty quickly, because, after all, we were invited for dinner (and starving after a not-really-noutritious breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts.)

In Geneva, we were picked up by Campus Safety, one part of the microcosm that is HWS (Hobart and William Smith Colleges), and brought to our respective dorms. Together with three other students, I live in a house that is part of a cluster of small houses located at the northern end of the campus next to a pond. It’s appropriately called Village at Odell’s Pond. My roommates, who are from Lithuania, China, and Connecticut, respectively, have made settling in pretty easy for me as they’ve been incredibly helpful in any possibly way (showing me around campus, explaining the laundry room, etc). My first day was Orientation Day for exchange students. Many different people explained many different things about studying at the Colleges and living on campus. As a matter of fact, HWS is a very small college; there are only about 2,500 students on campus right now. Accordingly, the group of exchange students is even smaller. I think we’re ten. HWS is a campus college. In other words, students live on campus. And because there’s so few people, there’s always a spot at the library (let’s check again during finals week), the gym isn’t too crowded, and neither is the well-equipped sports center. Moreover, you’ll always find a table in the dining hall or in one of the smaller cafeterias. Speaking of which, the food situation is good to say the least. Let me explain: Just like every other student, I had to purchase a meal plan at the beginning of the semester. I could choose between four of them, ranging from all-you-can-eat to 30 meals per semester. After obtaining advise from other students, I decide to choose a plan including 70 meals and around $400 of so-called snack money. In other words, over the course of the coming 16 weeks, I will be able to have lunch in main dining hall 70 times (the options include literally everything from cereals and self-made waffles to pizza and Asian cuisine). Everywhere else on campus, snack money can be spent. There’s a Mexican grill, a sandwich place, a small bistro, and, of course, a Starbucks café. In short, life’s good and the food options are plentiful.
As I am writing this, I am in the middle of my first full week of classes. I’ll write about them in more detail in a future post.


The view outside of my apartment.


The first walk around campus.


The Village at Odell's Pond.


A sunny day on campus (1).


A sunny day on campus (2).


Seneca Lake.





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