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An earthquake, hurricane Irene and Barack Obama

An earthquake, hurricane Irene and Barack Obama An earthquake, hurricane Irene and Barack Obama

Cecile Wolfs (21), a master’s student of Operation Research from the Netherlands saw president Obama speeching at the university of Richmond.

Cecile Wolfs (21), a master’s student of Operation Research from the Netherlands

“My longest journey was to Richmond in Virginia, USA, in 2011. I went there as an exchange student. I had been to the United States before, with my parents, and I wanted to go back. I chose Richmond because of the university: I could take subjects there that we didn’t have here (Wolfs attended University College in Maastricht, ed.). It was a great experience. Life on campus is just like you see in films. The first four weeks were intense. There was an earthquake; hurricane Irene passed by and president Obama gave a speech in the basketball stadium.

“In those days, Obama was visiting all the cities to speak about the Jobs Act. We suddenly heard that he would be visiting us too. Fortunately I was able to get a ticket. With some friends, I queued up at seven o’clock in the morning. Then a lady gave us a sticker with the number seven on it. She said: ‘You’ll be seated right behind the president and you’ll be on TV.’ You can still see the video on the White House site. Obama was much smaller and thinner in real life than on television. When he gave his speech everyone went crazy. Every time he said something they shouted and applauded. Very American, I got completely caught up in it. But when I watched it later I thought: he’s not really saying all that much.

“Actually everything I experienced there was fun. Of course the hurricane and the earthquake were a bit of a shock, especially because the latter was unexpected. But when it was over, it was nice to have experienced it. It was even on the news here in the Netherlands. I would like to go back to the US. I am now trying to get a work placement there. To the East Coast again, but probably a larger city like Washington DC or New York.”

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