Anna West - 2014 Program Participant

Study abroad students posing in front of The White House in Washington D.C.

Anna and friend in an obligatory picture in front of The White House.

Why did you choose a domestic intern in Washington, D.C.?

To me, studying abroad was as big of a component in my academic life as studying at my home university was. After spending my fall of junior year abroad in Costa Rica, I made the decision to continue my studies away from my usual environment for the spring semester. The Washington D.C. Program was a perfect fit for me because it still allowed me to be immersed away from my campus, but was close enough to home that I didn’t need to worry about time change or staying in contact with family and friends. Being “abroad” but within the U.S. also made it easier to stay in touch with groups that I was involved in on campus, such as an online magazine that I contributed to. People often ask me whether I missed out on my junior year, but I can say with confidence that it’s as if I never left! 

Where did you live during your internship in Washington, D.C.? 

Among my peers in the program, it was often noted that our housing arrangements were among the nicest in the city! The Washington D.C. Internship Program housing is located in Woodley Park, one of D.C.’s northwestern neighborhoods, only a few steps away from the Woodley Park Metro stop, making it easy to commute to work in the morning. The best part? You are within walking distance of the embassies, the National Zoo, and the adjacent neighborhood Adams Morgan, which has some of the best eateries in D.C.! 

A dramatic photo of the United States Capitol Building in Washington D.C.

Capitol Hill against dark clouds after final internship day and goodbye dinner. Photo credit to Anna West

What was the biggest challenge you during your internship in Washington D.C.?

Information overload. For most of the week I was immersed in a nine-to-five internship followed by night classes at the BU Washington D.C. office. Because the program is time-intensive, oftentimes I felt overwhelmed with the information and experiences I was required to digest throughout the week. That being said, no day was ever the same! There was also plenty of time on weekends and Friday excursions to take in what the city has to offer.

How has your experience interning in Washington, D.C. impacted your life?

The most important aspect of the Washington D.C. Program has been, unsurprisingly, the internship component. Settling into a full-time internship position has enabled me to become more comfortable in a work environment. As a senior embarking on the job application and interviewing process, learning to interact with my supervisors has undoubtedly prepared me for the next step in my career. 

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in the United States

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on a Friday excursion, coincidentally on MLK day! Photo credit to Anna West

Would you recommend this Boston University internship program to others? 

I would absolutely recommend the Washington D.C. Internship Program. In fact, a friend of mine has recently decided to participate in the program, even as a second semester senior! Anyone who chooses to participate in the program will find that it is an invaluable experience in balancing work, studies and life.

Did you experience any kind of culture shock when you came back to Boston from D.C.?

Although interning in Washington D.C. doesn’t require the same kind of travel requirements as hopping across the pond, it is still quite a foreign place. In D.C., politics are pervasive and politico speech on the streets may sound as alien as an actual foreign language. It is likely the best place in the U.S. to express your opinions on any range of issues. I became immersed in the fast-paced news cycle. I began to skim online newspapers on my daily commute like the other worker-bees around me. Weeks after I left, I continue to read the news and stay up to date. I still follow my representative on Twitter, and maybe that will never change!