California to Washington D.C.????

<p>Hello :)
Im from california and am considering attending the American University. I have never been to the east coast but am very good about adapting to new environments. Since its a little hard to visit, can anyone tell me a little more about the university? weather? Does anyone have any experience with going to school in a completely different part of the country??? I havent been admitted yet but am pretty sure ill get in. Any advise would be wonderful!</p>

<p>My D went from Texas to DC and is loving it. She loves the urban environment and the ability to see the city/sights, etc. There are a lot of free and reduced price admissions to the museums, plays, concerts, etc. She is a rarity at AU, where most of the students are from the northeastern US (New Jersey, NY and PA), but she has bonded with some friends from Arizona and they get together to bemoan the lack of real Mexican food and the cold. About the cold - it's not that bad (according to my D), but I hear that February can be a beast for those kids not used to winter. More than cold - it is really rainy (compared to TX). Bring some good rain boots and umbrella. And don't bother buying a winter coat until you arrive -they just don't sell good winter gear in warmer parts of the country.</p>

<p>You should know American is in a residential part of the District (as opposed to, say, GW, which is smack in the heart of downtown). The area around AU is fairly quiet--not out-in-the-country quiet like Oberlin, but not bustling. There is good public transportation, but the closest Metro stop is either a longish walk or a shuttle-bus ride from campus.</p>

<p>D.C. does get snow in the winter. Last winter was extraordinary, of course, but it will snow in excess of 6" at a time and shut most things down a couple of times in a typical winter. (People from Buffalo, please keep your snickering to yourselves.) More than snow, we tend to get an unpleasant thing called "wintry mix," which consists of snow, sleet and freezing rain. Daytime highs in winter average in the 40s; average overnight lows, around freezing. In winter, you will want a warm coat, gloves, a hat, a scarf and good boots. I agree that you should buy them here. But D.C. is not Boston, or Bangor, or Bemidji; if you came from one of those places, you might never actually wear your hat or scarf.</p>

<p>Summers in Washington (not that you asked) are hot, but more than that, they are oppressively humid. Ninety degrees in D.C. is uncomfortable in a way that ninety degrees in the San Joaquin Valley just isn't.</p>

<p>For what it's worth, I do not live in D.C., but I have lived in VA and MD since 1986. It's nice here, and there's a lot to do in Washington. Try it! I think you'll like it.</p>

<p>DC is a city with a unique culture, especially for someone outside the East Coast. The level of cosmopolitanism and sophistication is simply astounding, and politics is a part of everyday life. Even cab drivers offer up their (often quite thoughtful) opinions on the subject. It's a physically beautiful city. It's also a great place to be a college student because most of the museums and other touristy sites are free, nightlife is fairly accommodating of people under 21, the mass transit is excellent, and few places can rival the internship and extracurricular opportunities.</p>

<p>But, despite the throngs of young college grads out to make a difference in the world, DC is also a very "establishment" city. There's nothing resembling the level of creative energy that you find in San Francisco or Seattle or New York; there are a lot of first rate art museums but not a distinguished local arts scene. I came from a small town in the midwest and this sort of thing doesn't bother me pervasively (I love the city and will probably spend a good portion of my adult life living here) but it's the one serious flaw the city has. </p>

<p>Megpmom is right that the plurality of the students are from the East Coast, but you'll hardly be a rarity coming from somewhere else; AU is a school with a reasonably national draw.</p>

<p>DC has undergone a remarkable revitalization. There is a tremendous amount of activity in the center of DC and many great neighborhoods. It is a great place to go to college, except that it is more expensive than many other areas. The metropolitan area has been the fastest growing by far in the northeast US and is projected to keep growing by another million people.</p>

<p>Most of the crime is concentrated in the eastern half of the city, which is not near AU.</p>

<p>The Metro system is a major asset - it connects all of the major destinations, including many other colleges and large employers. Driving is often not pleasant in the DC area because of the congestion and the unusual street intersections.</p>

<p>Tens of embassies and large religious institutions are near AU.</p>

<p>AU is blend of both worlds - a pleasant campus environment that is within a reasonable Metro ride of great attractions.</p>

<p>Also, the DC area has great greenway systems with bicycle trails.</p>

<p>
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Driving is often not pleasant in the DC area because of the congestion and the unusual street intersections.

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<p>There's an understatement!</p>

<p>Hahah wow those answers really helped a lot! I feel much more confident about going to school there now :) Its nice to know i wont be thought of as an outcast/crazy from california.</p>

<p>D is from California and so far absolutely loves DC & AU. Now she hasn't had much of the winter weather -- she came home from break before things got too cold. She did get plenty of late summer heat & humidity, and other than needing new hair product, she dealt with it. :-)</p>

<p>Although most AU students are from the Northeast, there are quite a few Californians. 3 kids from D's graduating class are at AU and there were 3 kids from her summer camp job also going to AU. So you won't be an outcast at all.</p>