To say it is an interesting time to be in DC is an understatement. The city is rife with political talk. These past couple of week’s we have had a government shut down and an extremely controversial ‘shooting’ of a woman outside the Capital building. The amount of Facebook messages I have received asking me “is there total anarchy in DC?” “are you still going to school?” “are you ok?” Everything is actually very much the same within the confines of the GWU campus.
We do not see what is happening but the discussion is everywhere. You cannot enter a classroom without someone speaking about it, joking about it or an American asking your European outlook on the issue. Not only does the political nature of the city make this the hub of discussion, the type of students at GWU make it even more interesting. It is almost as if this university only teaches political science and international affairs. Everyone is extremely motivated, politically engaged and ready and open for a discussion all the time. The university is essentially a political forum. There are various political societies and groups that advocate for specific issues. There are even academic co-ed fraternities that only the crème de la crème of politically minded students can be a part of. It is really interesting to be in such a politically engaged environment that is constantly a hot bed of activity.
Studying in this city also allows you to do an internship for credit during term time. This means at any given time around 10-20% of the students in class are wearing suits as they’ve just come from work. And these are some prestigious internships: interning for members of the senate, at the state department, Red Cross headquarters to name a few. A friend of mine had just spent the past four months trying to get security clearance for her internship. As an international student these internships are not open to me, however there are many think tanks and lobby firms to be excited about. Last week I applied to a handful of green think tanks hoping for a placement for the Spring semester.
There is so much to take advantage of in this city I don’t even know how I am going to fit it all in. Speakers every week, internships, site seeing (although that has been out on hold as museums and monuments were the first to shut down along with the government). It has only been two months and I have not even made a dent in the political delights DC has to offer.