David in Washington DC

David is a sophomore Hunt Scholar majoring in political science, economics and public policy in Dedman College. In Spring 2010, he is studying international law at American University in Washington, D.C. He also will travel to New York and Europe to tour international organizations and hear a live debate in the International Court of Justice.

Inside an ice cave

IMG_1073.jpg IMG_1077.jpgOur class had to wake up extremely early Sunday because we were traveling to the French Alps. The drive to the Alps was amazing as I was able to see the snow-capped mountains and the beautiful landscape surrounding our bus.

After an hour we finally reached the Alps and the glacier that we would soon be able to explore. Each year portions of the glacier are carved out into an amazing ice cave. I was amazed at the size and the beauty of the glacier and the mountains.

I cannot wait to see what adventure is around the next corner!

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Exploring Lausanne

Today I traveled to Lausanne, which is a forty-minute train ride from Geneva. This day was extremely relaxing as I was able to explore the local cathedral, open market and the beach. I was also able to try true French hot chocolate – rich creamy chocolate syrup that you have to eat with a spoon.

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Dinner adventures in Geneva

IMG_1040.jpg After flying/traveling for around 12 hours, we finally arrived in Geneva. The bus ride to our hotel was around 20 minutes, and I was dying to change clothes and take a shower (since I had been up for over 24 hours).

Once everyone had moved into our rooms (the beds are extremely small!!!) we decided to explore Geneva. I wouldn’t describe Geneva as one of those amazing European towns; however, the lake Geneva rests on is gorgeous.

Eventually we all got hungry, and our walk around Geneva turned into a quest to find cheap food. This was a disaster! I will never attempt to find food with this group again. It took us 30 minutes to find a place to eat, and the food wasn’t even that great. We found some small pizza place that also served Ethiopian food. The cook/owner spoke no English (or decided not to speak it). He kept asking us questions in French and we just nodded our heads and said oui.

Finally the pizza arrived, and we all had a great time laughing and joking about our quest for food.

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The Big Apple and big snow

ATT00001.-2.jpg As most people around the United States know, two weeks ago the Northeast and the rest of the United States was hit with a large snowstorm. Our class was supposed to travel to New York on Sunday, but the entire D.C. area shut down the Friday before we left. With two feet of snow on the ground, everything was covered. By some luck our bus got out late Sunday night. It took us an hour to get out of the D.C. area, and we arrived in New York late that night.

19866_1367749955154_1273830047_31096841_403254_n.jpg The next day we woke up early to walk to the United Nations. I had never been in New York before so I was excited to see the city. Arriving at the United Nations, I was amazed at the size and how majestic the compound is.

Our class was able to explore the UN and had a chance to look at the General Assembly Room (in photo). Looking into the room I realized how special this opportunity was for a college student. I had the chance to stand and look into a room where great leaders of this world stood and made important policy decisions.

19866_1367746315063_1273830047_31096784_522174_n-1.jpg After touring the UN our class listened to two speakers who have dealt with issues of International Law in their profession. The first speaker spoke about the difference between humanitarian law and human rights law. Hearing from an expert of this field, I was able to realize the challenges countries face when in season of war. We addressed issues from Guantanamo to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Each of these topics has forced policymakers and state leaders to make drastic decisions about human life and how their country would treat certain groups.

However, our trip to New York was quickly cut short. Monday night we found out that the entire Northeast was going to be hit with another snowstorm. The weather stations were calling for near blizzard conditions, and our supervisors were worried we would be stuck in NY if we stayed. Our professors decided to attempt to beat the storm and drive back early Tuesday.

19866_1367748915128_1273830047_31096817_6603278_n.jpg Even though we were in New York only for 36 hours, this was a trip I will never forget. We were able to visit Times Square, the United Nations, and see the Big Apple. Yes, it was a little disappointing to leave early and not be able to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Ground Zero, but at least we were able to be in New York for a short time.

When we arrived back in D.C., the snow quickly began. Wednesday the entire city shut down again, and the city decided to stop all snow removal services. Most American students were forced to stay indoors because of the blizzard conditions. Slowly, however, most of AU was catching a mild version of cabin fever and needed to get out of the dorms.

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Hello from Washington

Mail%20Attachment-1.jpeg I understand the semester has been in session for about a month, but I would like to introduce my blog and myself. I am a sophomore at SMU studying International Law and Organizations at American University. This program is a unique learning experience where most of the learning happens outside of the classroom.

On Mondays and Tuesdays I will be interning at a law firm in D.C. that deals with government contracts. For the other three days of the week I will be attending seminars and other engagements that focus on international law.

I already love my class, as we have gotten to do some extremely exciting things in D.C. Over the past few weeks we have visited the U.S. Supreme Court, the Newseum, the Holocaust Museum, the Organization of American States and the World Bank.

The pictures are from my visit to the Newseum, which was a memorable experience. The first photo is a piece of the radio tower from one of the World Trade Towers. This exhibit was designed to honor the journalists who shared the story of September 11 with the world.

Mail%20Attachment.jpegPictured to the left is a section of the Berlin Wall after its fall in the 1980s. The Berlin Wall was a symbol of communism and a lack of freedom of speech, a freedom most Americans take for granted each day.

Oh… I almost forgot, later this semester we get to travel to New York and Europe to visit the United Nations and the U.N. Courts.

I invite you to embark with me on this exciting journey. This semester will be an experience I will never forget and an experience I hope all SMU students will consider.

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