At the very latest on your first day in D.C. – especially during the spring quarter – you will hear everyone telling you about the cherry blossoms. Now you will not know what exactly people talk about, but you will soon understand. The peak bloom of the cherry blossoms – a gift of a Japanese diplomat dating back to 1912 still celebrated today – was estimated for April 8-12. We had a nice walk around the tidal basin with all those blooming trees with my think tank-office, and interns during the week. On the weekend I then saw with my fellow UCDC students the very interesting and colorful Cherry Blossom Parade with singers and many marching bands, coming from all over the country and beyond. [Small warning: During that weekend though the tourists are innumerable, tidal basin basically unapproachable due to a mass of people I have not seen before here in D.C.]
D.C. has a happy hour culture – admittedly because otherwise most drinks and food places are barely affordable (for an unpaid intern they are); and this happy hour culture, maybe ironically, is mostly used by young professionals and interns. In general, D.C. is a very young city though, which is definitely positive for your quarter in the capitol. So: don’t miss the happy hours which can offer sometimes a free dinner(ish) meal just when buying a two dollar drink. You just need to figure out where to go, but your fellow interns will gladly discover that with you.
The internships are definitely taking form. I dare to say that in the non-profit I am interning, the work that I am doing is contributing to the organization and is hence very worthwhile and substantive. In the think tank I am still mainly doing administrative work, which is ok though, since I can attend any event I find interest in, be it on the looting of antiquities in a post-revolutionary Egypt, on the European Neighborhood Policy and the ‘Ukrainian crisis’ or on peacebuilding in the horn of Africa. In both offices the atmosphere is nice and welcoming, which does not mean not-demanding. But from my two experiences I believe that I can state: Most of the internship providers will treat you as an integral part of their company or organization. Now I am off to my first travel here on the North-East of the U.S.: one of the most amazing natural wonders of the world. Well, you need to wait one more week to find out more – brace yourselves!