When I learned that I got into the DC internship program, I was extremely excited and could not wait to live in the area for the semester. One thing I did not expect about moving up here, though, is what a culture shock it would be. The DMV area is such a young, truly urban and fast area, almost a complete 180 from Texas. Navigating life here, especially as a 19 year old college student, was such a new experience for me, but I learned my way around and how to have the best experience of my life during the internship. Here are some tips that I learned from my experience!
First, find like-minded people you can hang out with in the area! A great way to start this is trying to connect with your fellow interns from A&M. I was lucky to be paired with someone with a very similar lifestyle to me as my roommate, and I was able to find many other interns that I became fast friends with. Additionally, DC is all about meeting new people through other people! I found new friends from people my roommates were friends with or worked with, so it’s a great and easy way to find people to spend time within the area.
Next, stay on a budget! This is perhaps the most important lesson you can learn for DC. The area is so incredibly expensive, and much more costly than Texas for sure (or Atlanta, where I’m from). The more you can save on things like food and transportation, the more money you will have to have other experiences! There are two big things you can do to save money. Cook family meals with your roommates at home; by buying groceries in bulk, you can save so much money! Second: use the metro system! Uber and Lyft are so expensive in the area, and using public transportation is a much cheaper option to travel around the area.
Next, explore the area! I know that all the interns coming to DC are passionate about their policy interests and the internships they are going to, and that can make it very easy to fall into a work-only mindset. While it is very important to take full advantage of your internship and the experience you can gain for it, it’s also important to take time for yourself and do something fun. The DMV area has no shortage of attractions in addition to the famous sites in the area, and there is something for everyone to explore here.
Lastly, take a moment to relax! Recognize that you were chosen for this program because you are completely capable of handling the responsibilities and the tasks that come with both the internship and the living experience. It’s important for you to be proud of yourself for that, so take some time to think about it and enjoy what DC has in store for you!
Global Cold Chain Alliance
spring 2022 | Washington, D.C.