Name: Analise Gay
Year: Junior
School: Hogwarts
Subject:Witchcraft & WizardrySo remember that time I told everybody I was going away to study abroad at the University of York in England? Well, I lied. But if I tell you where I really go to school now, keep it a secret, all right? You see, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been my home for the past few months and will be for a few more. Turns out, I was not too old to attend and learn to be the witch I was born to be!

My acceptance came as shock since by Rowling’s standards I am much too old to still be receiving a magical education. But exceptions have been made before, and I was one of the lucky few to be accepted for a sort of exchange program.
I was sorted as any other first-year, and placed in Gryffindor, of course. My stereotypical Leo personality traits would place me nowhere else. I have been welcomed to the common room as a bit of an oddity as an American, which considering where I am seems rather silly. Everyone here is different; we’re witches and wizards.
Contrary to popular belief, classes have actual applications—besides Divination, of course. Instead of learning Trigonometry for no apparent reason, I have learned protection spells and spells of simple healing. Mastering spells verbally and non-verbally is a challenge for a Muggle-born and someone who is a bit behind everyone else. Yet, still I am learning charms and incantations that I know will continue to enrich my life once my exchange program has ended.
One class that is particularly interesting is “The History of Harry Potter and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.” In it we learn about Voldemort’s youth and how he became who he was, as well as the impact he had on the wizarding world. The second half of the class is dedicated to learning about Harry Potter and the night he became the boy who lived, as well as his struggles to destroy Voldemort and restore peace. Though most of my peers have grown up hearing the story, only I have already read seven books and seen eight movies about it, so it came as no surprise when I saw did well on all the examinations.
After reading so much about Harry’s experience in his “Care of Magical Creatures course,” I decided to sit in on one. Two of the students informed me that they had been bitten by their textbook, and showed me their bandaged fingers as proof. Luckily, the day I decided to sit in the professor had brought in a unicorn from the Forbidden Forest. The unicorn was so white that it was hard to stare at it; it seemed to be reflecting the sunlight. The whole time it was tied to a tree the professor lectured us on the benefits of unicorns. Apparently the blood of a unicorn has magical powers that can save someone who is dying. The professor lifted a vial of unicorn blood to show us its color and consistency, which was thick and silvery blue. After the lecture we were able to approach the unicorn and pet it, which was an insane experience. It felt much softer than a horse; it felt like silk.
Possibly the most fun I’ve had here was when we were allowed to go to Hogsmeade one night. Take it from me, butterbeer is just as amazing as Rowling described. But even better than the butterbeer is the daily dinner in the Great Hall. The ceiling of the Great hall surpasses any other building I have ever been in.  All of the students gather at their respective tables and eat until they can’t eat anymore. There are hundreds of options to chose from every night, and best of all, the food replenishes itself immediately.
Hopefully my article can reach everyone at UCR soon. After living so long with email and text messaging, communication via owl mail isn’t the fastest way to go about it, but I’m not complaining.