Default image

On Being a WashU Grad

Sarah S., M1

I’ll be honest, I was ready to leave WashU to try out a new school and a new city. I was a freshman RA for the past two years, eating lunch at the DUC and dinner in BD every day since starting undergrad. However, going to Second Look weekend convinced me that WashU was meant to be my home. The Central West End, where the majority of the first-year class lives, is a whole new neighborhood to explore. I can walk a few blocks to study, or hang out late at night with friends. I can afford to live walking distance from campus and easily roll out of bed late to get to class, salsa lessons, or review in Anatomy lab. Coming from WashU also made finding an apartment and cheap, used furniture so much easier. There are always new things for me to see, and I have these amazingly kind, fun, intelligent classmates to share it with. I can also share my favorite restaurants with them (right now it’s Cate Zone). So many of my friends from undergrad are still in the area, whether on Danforth Campus or working and living nearby in the CWE.

On Being an International Student

On Being an International Student

Ayo O., M1

Being an international student comes with its own unique challenges. Sincerely, no place in the U.S .can really provide us the same comfort as our home countries do. However, WashU provides a relatively comfortable community. The faculty is welcoming and your peers are understanding. There are groups both on the medical and undergrad campus that can make you feel more at home. The medical school organizes events that can also help you learn more about American culture. It is easy to make friends with your peers, and they can help you navigate through your time in America. The international office at WashU is also very efficient, especially at helping you with all the paperwork and logistics of being an international student. Generally, WashU is great at providing the support needed to help their students, including international students, succeed. No doubt, you will love it here like I do!

Default image

On Being Canadian

Andrew Q., M1

Bonjour-Hi to my fellow Canucks! Whether you are joining us after attending undergrad in the U.S., have just crawled out of your igloo, or if you are just tired of being asked if you are actually international, I’ve assembled a few survival tips for navigating any tricky culture clashes that might come up.


  • Say “sorry” a lot. Americans enjoy feeling like they are right.
  • Get used to subtracting 32, dividing by 9, then multiplying by 5 to have any idea what the weather is like.
  • Laugh merrily at people complaining about how cold it is. Anything above freezing is beach weather.
  • Sing “O Canada” over their anthem whenever it plays. I mean real, top-of-your-lungs, poutine-fueled bellowing — how else will they know we’re there?
  • While we’re on the topic, tell Americans about poutine. If enough of them learn of the wonders of French fries, gravy, and curds, they will surely be no match for our Mounties and polar bear special forces. We attack at daybreak.


  • Talk hockey. Most Americans are not capable of understanding your appreciation for the intricate art of dirty dangles, wheel snipes, and cellies.
  • Acknowledge the existence of Bieber. Deny, deny, deny.
  • Say “double-double”, “zed”, or “bag” like “beg”. Americans are easily startled by foreign noises.

Hopefully these tips are of help as you go forth amongst Americans and pass as one of their own. The less they know, the better, eh?

Default image

On Being from a Big City

Mike O., M1

As a New Yorker, I once believed that St. Louis would be a dreary midwestern city with little to offer in terms of fun activities. In this case, I’m incredibly happy to be wrong. After living here for a little while, one notices that St. Louis is a vibrant city with a plethora of engaging activities. While this is not an exhaustive list, St. Louis is home to Forest Park (which is larger than my Central Park), several museums, great breweries, delicious food, sports teams (Cardinals and Blues), and nightlife. They say the people make the city, and for St. Louis I couldn’t agree more. St. Louis is home to many interesting people, who happen to be very nice. In my opinion nothing beats my hometown of New York, but St. Louis is a close second and I’m incredibly happy to call it home.

Default image

On Being from a Small Town

Lena J., M1

St. Louis is the perfect size for someone who’s looking for a place that’s perfectly in between a small, rural town and the bustling Big Apple. I’m from a tiny town in Missouri where the cows move faster than the speed limit and there are no malls or Starbucks. When I was looking for medical schools, I knew I wanted to live in a mid-sized city that had a plethora of festivals, comedy shows (John Mulaney came through this year!), movie theaters (there’s only one small cinema in my hometown), and nightlife. St. Louis is perfect for all of that, and as a WashU medical student, you get a free Metro Pass to travel around the city. In addition, the medical campus is right next to Forest Park, so when I’m missing the nature and greenery of home, it’s just a simple run away. In addition, living in St. Louis is much more affordable than residing in some of the other larger cities on the East coast or West coast. Overall, I’ve completely enjoyed my time in St. Louis.

Default image

On Being from the East Coast

Faith W., M1

I’ll be honest, there are a lot of things I miss about the East Coast. I’m from New York City, so I’m used to having everything I could want — restaurants, museums, shops, the New York City Ballet — within walking distance, or accessible by an extensive 24/7 public transportation system. While I was a bit apprehensive about moving to St. Louis, I quickly settled in. The city’s attractions are definitely more spread out — bring a car, or make friends with those who did — but there’s lots to enjoy if you’re willing to look for it. I’m especially glad that the med school is located in the Central West End, a walkable neighborhood with charming architecture and lots of amenities close by (and a convenient Metrolink stop for those times you really need a change of scenery). While I’m planning to move back to the East Coast after medical school, St. Louis is a wonderful place to be a student on a student budget: Here, I can split a gorgeous 1600 square foot prewar two-bedroom/two-bath apartment with a balcony with one roommate and pay $800/month. In New York, that would get me a closet!

Default image

On Being from the South

Sajal T., M1

I’m not the poster child for Mississippi — most folks brand me as a Jersey boy after two minutes of conversation (understandable) — but my veins flow with sweet tea and my childhood neighborhood looked like the set of “The Help,” so I carry the Deep South with me at all times. Missouri and Mississippi are typically considered sister states, and, apart from the oft-confused postal codes, there is good reason for it. Overly passionate college football fans and sentences punctuated with “ma’am” and “sir” are all the rage here, too, and it’s comforting. Four years on the East Coast for undergrad turned me cold and callous. St. Louis has partially warmed me back into a dapper Rhett Butler (depending on who you ask). If you’re also from Dixieland and are worried about possible culture shock in St. Louis, fear not. While it is a big city, bringing with it corresponding diversity and social eccentricities, the air is still unmistakably Southern, brimming with indiscriminate friendliness and cozy charm. Just don’t fall for the “authentic Cajun” food here — NOLA’s still supreme in that department.

Default image

On Being from the West Coast

Sophie E., M1

Maybe you are like I was a year ago: super excited about medical school at WashU, but being from the West Coast, you are wondering if you can “survive” 4+ years living in St. Louis. Originally from the Bay Area, I grew up loving the accessible national parks, the diversity of people, the extraordinary food choices, the beautiful beaches … I could go on. Unexpectedly, I actually like living in Saint Louis. The medical school is located in the Central West End, near the beautiful Forest Park, perfect for a jog, stroll, or a visit to one of several (free!) museums. Everything that you need to live is within walking distance, including grocery stores, banks, and restaurants. St. Louis is within train or driving distance of Chicago, a dynamic city perfect for a weekend away.  If you have a car, or a friend with a car, you can also access many beautiful state parks throughout Missouri. Of course, one of the best parts about WashU is your medical school class. Being able to share moments with these amazing and diverse people will also help you feel right at home! Living in St. Louis also strikes a good balance because there are things to do when you do have time, but not so many distractions that you are tempted to go out when you don’t have time. St. Louis may not be the “West Coast Best Coast," but it is still a great place for a medical student to live!

Default image

On Being Local

Leah N., M1

Having spent my entire childhood in St. Louis, plus three years after graduation from college, I was exceedingly reluctant to spend at least the next four years at medical school in St. Louis. The fact that WUSM was in St. Louis was its least attractive quality to me, since I was really looking forward to exploring a new environment as part of this new chapter in my life. Once I started school though, it became clear that my expectations about living in my hometown — which were to feel bored and under stimulated — were quite off base. Beginning medical school marked a huge transition in my life involving exciting new challenges, a new routine, new academic stimuli and a new and larger community. In the face of all of these changes, the familiar environment has become a welcome source of stability. Having close friends and family nearby, and even simply knowing my favorite places to go for various purposes, has afforded me a few less obstacles to tackle. Finally, having a new community in medical school has even helped transform St. Louis for me, as I come to see old places in a new light and explore new ground in the area.