This past summer I had the opportunity to "study away" at American University in DC. The specific program that I attended is the Washington Semester Program, which includes an internship and class, and also runs in a bigger version during the fall and spring semesters. What I liked most about the program were the friends that I met, opportunities that I enjoyed, and the fun! During my time in DC was very busy, as I was taking an AU class, two NU classes, a 40 hour/w internship, a part-time job, and trying to explore.
Since the first night that I arrived in DC, by chance I answered a Facebook post offering to meet up in a group for brunch. Not knowing how well I would get along with them, I was hesitant, but went. That one day set up friendships for the whole summer (and a few for hopefully longer). And, it led to multiple weekend brunch trips and exploring.
Both some of my enjoyable and most stressful times (apart from managing my time w/ classes) was working. I interned under the IT systems branch of the HR department at the Small Business Administration. During my time I was able to help my branch, by providing input, research new IT laws, and mandates, and eventually customer service for the agency. I also was able to attend conferences and eventually shadowed the CIO, Maria Roat (who has become a role model to me).
My other side of work was being a host at Hard Rock, which gave me more friends, and more reasons to sleep. While fast paced, and constantly involving interesting people both visiting and working in the restaurant, I enjoyed working there... Despite feeling like I was sometimes missing out on other things other interns were doing. In the end though, I visited a lot of things and saw a lot that I wanted to see, even working two jobs.
One of my favourite parts of DC is the softball (slow pitch) culture. The agency I interned for, the SBA, had a softball team and so did a lot more agencies and groups. So, while in DC I was able to play softball, even if it was different than fastpitch, and network really easily with people within the agency.
And best for last for this first of two parts... Embassies!!! While in DC I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Italian and Mexican Embassies during events that they held this summer. If ever in DC, I suggest looking out for these events, you never know who you’ll see or how much fun you’ll have dancing to Spanish music at a Italian party.