Third week in Chapel Hill: From experiencing the Heart of American University Sports to our Travel Weekend

Basketball Game: Miami vs. UNC

Week Three of our exchange program at UNC has been a fascinating experience, culminating in our attendance at the UNC vs. Miami basketball game and our travel weekend. Our week kicked off with a relaxed gathering at Sup Dogs, a popular restaurant at Franklin Street especially known for its diverse hot dog variations, providing us with a taste of the American cuisine as we prepared for the upcoming game.

Throughout the week before, we could feel the excitement for the basketball game building up within the campus community. So, after finishing our pre-game lunch at Sup Dogs, we joined the throngs of students making their way to the stadium, blending in with the sea of the Carolina blue UNC jerseys and hoodies.

The atmosphere inside the stadium was lively and intense. The stands were filled with cheering fans, their enthusiasm contagious. Despite UNC taking an early lead, Miami’s team displayed remarkable resilience, keeping the score close throughout the game. Each play was met with applause and chants from the crowd contributing to the intensity of the match. Go Tar Heels!

As the game progressed, we found ourselves fully immersed in the experience, appreciating the passion for the sport and the sense of community among the UNC fans. We waited for the final buzzer to sound, signaling the UNC victory with the score 75:71. It was a unique opportunity to witness firsthand the role of collegiate sports in American university life, an aspect of the culture that we had heard about but hadn’t fully grasped until now.

Road trip to Wilmington: 02.03. to 03.03.

Arriving in the coastal college Town Wilmington, we, a group of five UHH students, were welcomed by beautiful sunny and warm weather, southern-looking houses with big porches, and vegetation that catapulted my mind straight into the movie “Forrest Gump.“ Palm trees and mistletoes met one another in the blue sky while our 5-seater, fully packed with people singing along to the radio and luggage, passed by the entrance sign „Welcome to Wilmington.“ First stop, the hotel we were staying at for the night. After quickly refreshing and figuring out the next steps for the day, we got back into the car and made our way downtown, where we were met with the smell of summer vacation (I bet you’ll know what smell and atmosphere I am talking about). Strolling through the historic streets of downtown Wilmington, we took every chance we got to explore small shops and take plenty of pictures of the beautiful buildings and murals. Of course, when we passed Kilwins ice cream shop we had to stop for a sweet treat!

One of our American fellows and his sister, who lives in Wilmington, joined us and took us on a little tour around downtown. This is when we learned that, indeed, alligators are roaming the waters of Wilmington (unfortunate for some, a blessing for others, we did not experience their presence during our trip).

One of the highlights from our trip was definitely spending the evening/night watching the beautiful sunset before heading down to a pizzeria and bar where we stuffed ourselves with gigantic pizzas (some of us were very delusional and thought they could finish a whole pizza all by themselves – big miscalculation) and playing board games with the American fellow, his sister, and his friends. This might sound rather boring, but we all had a blast. We ended the night with some chocolate cake and pajamas in our hotel room.

The next day started with a very American breakfast. After fueling ourselves with lots of sugary food items, we made our way to Target to get some snacks for a little picnic at the beach. Arriving at the beach, we realized that eating here might not work out the way we anticipated since the whole beach was covered in fog. Not to worry, we still got to successfully have a picnic inland.

When it was time to head back to Chapel Hill, we had lots of experiences and impressions to take bring back home with us! Not to forget, the drive home was already memorable enough. We had plenty of time to bond over music and conversations during the three-hour drive back home.

Making my way back into my bedroom, I can happily look back at this awesome weekend and the friendships that were formed. OH, an important thing to mention is that we discovered capybaras (not physically, they, unfortunately, do not exist in North Carolina), a savage animal that rides on alligators’ backs – what a legend (we made it our spirit animal for the trip and discovered there is a song worshiping these true legends)!

Travel Weekend in Washington, D.C.

On Thursday, February 29th, Laura and I took a bus to Washington, D.C. After a 5.5 hour bus ride, we arrived at our hotel at 11 pm, ready for a long night‘s rest. We stayed at a very central hotel, so that we were able to mostly walk everywhere. That is why on Friday, after having pancakes for breakfast, we were able to just walk to the National Mall. Some of the most prominent sights are located in and around this park, including the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial, which we found very impressive. Of course, we also went to see the White House. We finished the day by having dinner at a nice Indian place.

On Saturday, we took a look at the Supreme Court and visited the Library of Congress before splitting up: Laura then visited the Museum of Bible while I went to the National Museum of Natural History. After that, we took the metro to the Georgetown neighborhood, where we had a very yummy late-lunch at an Italian restaurant. Then, we took a long walk down M Street, which is recognized as one of the best shopping streets in the whole country. We had an amazing time going into different stores and taking in the views of the beautiful architecture outside. We finished the day by having some cookies at a famous Bakery called “Levain“, and then went back to our hotel. After an amazing weekend, we took the bus back to Durham on Sunday morning, where one of our host families picked us up.

Laura, Fahima & Marieke

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