Writing about my semester program on this website makes me feel a bit disingenuous since I’m not exactly embarking on a trip overseas. Instead, I am sitting in the Orlando International Airport at five in the morning to catch a one-stop (Atlanta) flight into Ronald Reagan International Airport in America’s Capital, Washington D.C.
While I was in the application process, the choice between a semester in Southern France and Washington D.C. seemed like a relatively easy decision on the surface. France is… France. However, as a political science and philosophy double major, I’m glad that after some careful (and stressful) deliberation I decided on the Washington Semester Program at American University. The program includes classes with a built-in internship component that’s advertised as “resume building” and the like, as most of the similar programs are. I’m looking for a bit more than lines on a resume, although I’d be bluffing if I said that it wasn’t a nice touch.
In the past several weeks leading up to my departure, my large family in Florida has held (too many) mass meetings in the form of barbeques, outings to various bad movies, and dinners with questions like “so, what are you even going to be doing there?”
The closer I get to my arrival and start of the semester, the clearer it is to me that I have no real semblance of an accurate answer to that question. The response I’ve hard wired myself to say is essentially what I told you two paragraphs ago. Classes + Internship + Dorm Living + D.C. = my whole semester! While this sounds like a decent formula for a happy semester, it’s admittedly not what I’m really looking for.
What I look forward to more than anything is the opportunity to meet people who are as passionate about political change and civic engagement as I am, and the ability to use Washington D.C. as my own personal stomping ground for four months to build on those connections and learn as much as I can. What made choosing this semester program the right fit for me was undeniably present, even when I thought that I might want to choose some other destination that might be more fun to talk about at coffee shops and the like, is that the experience that I crave is really in the place that I can intellectually thrive and continue the work that I want to do. I encourage anyone reading that might be considering a similar program, to do the same.
I’ll keep you updated and you have my best regards in the meanwhile,