When people think of Washington, D.C., they generally think of Capitol Hill, the White House, or numerous, grandiose monuments that litter the landscape. But there is far more to the District. It is not just the Capitol of the United States—it is also a capitol of young professionals, innovation, and culture that makes it a truly interesting and unique city. Interning and living in the Washington Metropolitan area brings an unmatched amount of opportunity and experiences to students because of the people and organizations that thrive here. On any given day the city has festivals, live entertainment, a bustling nightline, and free activities for the average poor college student. Even more so are number of non-profits, government agencies, and optimistic start-up companies, and corporate offices that are itching to hire the young, passionate students that dominate the demographics of the area. Add in the number of beautiful areas to visit, both historical and new, along with the numerous varieties of great eats, it is no wonder D.C. is been rated one of the most optimistic cities in the world.
It is relatively standard for a visitor to hop on the metro at 8 AM and see a rail car full of twenty-year-old professionals rocking a full-suit with ear phones in both ears. The intern grind in D.C. involves some nice close, an extensive knowledge of public transit (man, we love our transportation stipends), and a whole lot of Grub Hub. Interns on the Hill also find themselves to be experts of security procedures that protect the federal offices. Then at 5 PM, the twenty-one-and-over crowd find themselves at the nearest happy hour where most are unwinding from the day and the overachievers are hitting up one of the nightly networking opportunities.
Although D.C. tends to be a microcosm of the “melting pot” the United States is historically known for, the city during working hours in the summer becomes a whole new level of diversity as students from all of the United States and the world relocate for at least a semester. Because of this, one of the great benefits of being a D.C. intern is the amount of different people you become exposed to. This makes both the day-to-day grind and the nightlife an unparalleled experience. On top of that, you’ll find some of the most passionate people who will talk for hours about their cause or the politics of the day.
Interning for the Washington, D.C. Economic Partnership and working for American University has been an experience I will never forget. I spend my weeks meeting with entrepreneurs, going to seminars, networking with other young professionals, meetings other students, and constantly taking in the sights and sounds of the city. What is the best part? The people I am meeting. I have partied with government officials, travelled all over the city, met rising entrepreneurs, and made friends from all over the country. Interning is never really glamorous, but the work is valued and rewarding. Working for a small public-private partnership, I have been given the opportunity to have a lot of say and control in what I do on a day-to-day basis.
Whats the bottom line? There is no city like Washington, D.C. and, even more so, no better city to be a young professional in.
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