Hello Gauchos, my first week is over and it is definitely a change from California sunshine – let me tell you that. It’s snow time in D.C.; coming from Germany that was less of a problem for me than for my fellow Californians. Having been in California I thought I would skip winter this year, but I did not – it’s nice though. The UC Washington Center is – as everyone promised – superbly located. Strolling around D.C. is part of the holistic experience besides the internship and the classes. Classes have started and so did my two part-time internships: the first one in a new non-profit focusing on Middle East Policy, especially Egypt, and the second in a well renowned think tank in D.C. where I’ll work mostly with the transatlantic team.
First things first, walking around the city for three hours on my day of arrival, seeing the capitol, the White House, and many other things, buying a not-too-tasty overly expensive chocolate croissant but still enjoying every bit of breathing freshly cold city air, has already been one of my best experiences. My seminar here is the general research seminar, and my elective museum studies. For my elective I wanted to choose something where I can gain a completely new perspective on an issue, and I believe that the class is already doing a good job. We even have field trips planned and discuss the museum as an institution with curators, etc., who the professor is going to invite. So it sounds promising.
And now the part you might be most interested in: the internships. My work at the think tank has barely taken off, since the scholar I will be directly working with is only coming later in April. So for now I am supporting the office, which should be exciting as well. We’ll see how it will go. The second internship at the non-profit started off quite differently. I am the first real intern there and I was thrown into the cold water in terms of what they expect, but it is fine. Substantive tasks seem to be coming up, and the first event they hosted and where I helped out on my day off and after-hours was very interesting and definitely worth attending! I am excited to see how everything will play out.
So, by next week, my anticipation and my first impressions will turn into an opinion starting to being formed and in two weeks I can definitely give you a first judgment about how things are going. Just be sure – when you start your time here in D.C. in the future – the start can be pretty slow or also pretty harsh. Whatever happens: it will be fine, and if not you have definitely people at the UC Washington Center you can talk to. Stay calm and be positive! On that note, I’m off to another museum here; after all: I am in a real city with seemingly endless opportunities!! See you next week.
Excitingly yours, Andy