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"I MISS..." STORIES OF TRANSITION

Displayed at the George Washington University Corcoran School of the Arts and Design

As an international student living in Washington, D.C., I gravitate towards individuals who are also experiencing a new life in this city. I reside at the International Student House of Washington, which provides me with more affordable housing in an American city. During my time in this shared living space, I have befriended students from diverse backgrounds. With constant pressure to assimilate and excel academically and professionally, these students often resist feelings of homesickness or nostalgia because they cannot visit their homes at will. To encourage them to explore these feelings, I have asked them what they miss and enjoy most during their study abroad in D.C.

Yoriko | Japan

"I miss my family, including my cat!"

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Josephine | Indonesia

"I miss my collectivist culture. In the U.S., you may see your friend once a week, maybe once a month. But if you call someone a friend in Indonesia, you see them every single day. I love going to coffee shops here! Everything was closed back home during the pandemic, so I feel like I am experiencing life anew."

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Jing | China

 

"I received my student visa three days before I arrived in D.C. I am glad to have a place such as the International Student House of Washington to help me with my transition. When I arrived in the U.S. for the first time, sitting in the cab that brought me from Dulles Airport to the International Student House, I felt nervous but fearless, small but confident. I hope to stay curious and adventurous no matter how old I am."

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Crystal | North Carolina

"Home to me is more than a place. It is in people and in emotional investments. It feels abstract. I cannot imagine staying my whole life in North Carolina, but in moving, I know I will struggle with change, loneliness, and not being in close proximity with friends."

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Blanca | Spain

"I miss my sister. I am grateful to be able to go back home for Christmas this year. I know many people cannot afford to."

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Denis | Russia

"Every week I spend in D.C. brings with it so many memories and impressions. I have celebrated not only traditional American holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving but holidays such as Oktoberfest and Diwali as well. I miss being able to cook my favorite foods and go to the best speakeasies in my city, but I’m pretty sure the future will bring even more events and fun."

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Amanda | Singapore

"I miss being able to go to the beach with my best friends Michelle and Nissa any day of the year because back home, we only have one season: summer. My favorite moment since moving to D.C. was a road trip with three friends to New York City. I had a wonderful time getting to know them better while eating, sharing stories, talking about our futures, and laughing as we explored NYC."

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Kayla | Atlanta

"I miss the familiarity that comes with being home such as knowing the best lunch spots, the best skating rinks, the best shortcuts to skip traffic… Although D.C. is beautiful, moving means starting over, and I really miss things that were part of my life, especially since many things have been in flux due to COVID."

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Kei | Japan

"I haven’t been back to my hometown in more than two years. My favorite moment since moving to D.C. was a Halloween party we held at ISH (the International Student House). I dressed up as Pikachu and had a blast!"

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Washeru | Ghana

"I miss my favorite Ghanaian food, Waakye, which I only ate once in D.C. However, I experienced by best Ramadan (fasting in the Holy month) in this city. I got to meet new people from different cultures and enjoyed continental dishes from different parts of the world during iftars in mosques, including the historic Islamic Center of Washington D.C."

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Paul | Germany

"I miss taking a walk in Augsburgs's old town, choosing a pretzel from one of the many bakeries and enjoying the plazas and parks of the city. On my birthday, my friends surprised me with an actual cheesecake accompanied by bread. It was hilarious but exactly what I wanted."

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Eliza | Malaysia (Self-Portraits)

 

"I moved five times during COVID, and each time I struggled with finding a community in a brand new state. Staying in a shared living space such as the International Student House has allowed me to get to know people without needing to always take the initiative. I have enjoyed making mini trips over weekends and discovering new ethnic food spots with friends who have similar taste buds. I’m so happy to not be the only foodie in town!"