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My First Ten Days “Studying Away” in Washington, D.C.

My First Ten Days “Studying Away” in Washington, D.C.

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Greetings from The Washington Center (TWC)!  This is Michael Butcher on move-in day at TWC.  I am spending the semester completing a 12-credit internship in the office of Congressman Charlie Dent of the 15th Congressional District of Pennsylvania.  I am also taking a 3-credit class, Rising China: U.S.-China Relations in the 20th and 21st Centuries.  After just 10 days in the program, I am finding life in D.C. and the internship fast-paced and exciting!

The building pictured is where I live, attend class, work out in the gym, and enjoy the excitement of meeting people from around the world.  This semester the program serves over 400 students from 13 different countries including China, Japan, Belgium, Spain, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S.

Capitol

After a walking tour to the Capitol and a practice run on the Metro, I began my internship this past Monday in the Rayburn Building of the U.S. House of Representatives.  On Thursday I shadowed a tour guide, as I will be leading tours of the Capitol for constituents from Congressman Dent’s district.  I have a lot to learn!

What an opportunity to live in D.C. during an election year!  Stay tuned for more information about this adventure made possible through the LVC Study Abroad Office.

 

Capitol Tales

Capitol Tales

To all the history buffs, political nerds, and globally minded souls, this blog goes out to you.

My name is Olivia and I am a Senior, Political Science major with Law & Society and potentially Global Studies minors. I chose to take part in a fantastic study away opportunity in the heart the nation’s Capitol over my last Fall semester. The Washington Center provides a comprehensive learn, live, and work experience that trains young professionals through a high-intensity internship and multiple professional development courses. TWC, for short, helped me land my internship at Citi Global Government Affairs, where I am an associate who provides substantial analysis of International Trade and banking regulations to senior ranking officials, and maintains communications with over 100 countries around the world. I had just finished up multiple public sector internships from the Summer, mostly related to Congress, so jumping ship to private international affairs has been quite a change, but I am hopeful to broaden my skills as I approach the real world.

I work on Pennsylvania Ave over 150 above the District, and this is my daily coffee view.
I work on Pennsylvania Ave over 150 feet above the District, and this is my daily coffee view.

I am no newbie to the District, however I have never been a resident. The first couple of days were filled with confusion. The District is an incredibly accessible place, if you remember your four quadrants…

I took an Uber ride for the first time and requested the opposite quadrant from which I lived in, and quickly learned my lesson with a 17 block hike back home. My neighborhood, affectionately called NoMa (Northern Mass. Ave), is full of luxury high-rise apartments and colorful row homes. Northwest is where most Washingtonians work and it is home to Capitol Hill and the National Mall. The other two quadrants sport a plethora of living styles, from completely eco-friendly and green, to the unfortunately run-down and rougher neighborhoods. DC is also incredibly close to Baltimore, College Park, and Silver Spring, Maryland, and Arlington, VA. You would never know you were in  a city less than 10 miles wide because each day you will hear a different language, see a new international flag in your taxi, and eat food from an exotic culture. For a place that seems to be everyone’s temporary residence, I’ve never felt so at home.

I have been in D.C. for just over three full weeks and I have not been able to keep my blogging up to speed with my adventuring. This post is dedicated to the basics.

DC Weeks 1-2 142

Week 1: Train, sleep, walk, speak as many languages as you can, repeat.

Week 1 I helped welcome over 200 international students to Washington, D.C. and got them acquainted with the neighborhood. We gave them metro cards, learned a bit about where they were from, and then taught them how to act like Americans… Naturally, we gave them Five Guys and taught them how to Whip and Nae Nae.

Weekly Tip: When traveling across the National Mall, wear VERY comfy shoes, and bring plenty of water.

TWC Ambassadors in Front of Capitol Hill
TWC Ambassadors in Front of Capitol Hill

 

Week 2: Early birds get the worm at the gym, Starbucks, internships, and at the bar.

Week 2 was all about getting acquainted to your work week. My internship is a 9:00am – 6:00pm grind, complete with a 20 minute metro commute and one hour to network at lunch. I learned how much I truly valued a short walk to class, a couple of people in line for coffee, and the speed of sandwich making. Those things don’t even cover the grueling, yet rewarding research internship I go to four days a week. Thankfully, Lunch and Happy Hours are where the work world tends to shed their structured exterior to relax and break down the dress code or etiquette barriers that so often precede your interactions during business hours. The rest of the week consists of a couple of classes, late Thursdays and mid-day Friday, which luckily, LVC has prepared me very well for. Stay tuned for some interesting projects, D.C. scandals,  and life after business hours coming soon!

The National Mall at night is just as spectacular as it is in the day time
The National Mall at night is just as spectacular as it is in the day time. TGIF!

Week 3: Family dinner and a show

I just finished week 3, and I’ve settled into a weekday routine that is finally manageable between work, class, and friends. I have also seen about half of the National Mall, two concerts, over 10 restaurants, a couple of sporting events, and learned a few conversations in Belgian, Chinese, Portuguese, and Italian, to name just a few highlights. The events may be non-stop in D.C. but I still managed to find time for some beloved visitors from Pennsylvania! On top of that, my TWC family and I cook dinner in our apartment each Tuesday, and invite a good portion of our floor to try some traditional American college food. Now, don’t be dismayed, we have a pretty nice kitchen and a couple of stellar chefs who have whipped up Tex-Mex tacos, Pan-Asian stir fry, and gourmet breakfast for dinner. Dinner is followed by laughing off the work day, making weekend plans, and hopefully starting a pretty great political debate.

Surprise Labor Day visit from my folks and little brother!
Surprise Labor Day visit from my folks and little brother!
SUPRISE Life in Color with some fabulous LVC Alums!
SURPRISE Life in Color with some fabulous LVC Alums!

“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Next time stay tuned for awkward encounters, Trump Rallies, and what it truly means to be a D.C. Native or just a Day Walker…

God Bless,

 

Olivia Edwards