A Busy Start to a Busy Summer

A Busy Start to a Busy Summer

Glad to see you've returned to read about my experience in D.C.!

 

I can officially say that I have been in D.C. for over two weeks and I’ve adjusted quite nicely. I don’t need a Metro map to go back to my apartment anymore or to get to and from my internship. Occasionally I even find myself knowing exactly what street can take me where! It's funny how many times I can walk down the same handful of streets looking for different offices but every time I find something new. For example, two buildings down from my internship is the Dolly Madison House! I'm learning something new about this city every day and I love it.

 

First week lessons

I learned many things in my first week:

1. It is important to reply to emails as soon as I receive them; I don’t think I’ve ever replied to as many emails as I did last week.

2. Coffee does, in fact, perk me up. I thought it didn’t do anything to me.

3. My heels not as comfortable as I thought they were and my handbag is actually not as big as I thought it was. Luckily, my heels have been fixed.

4. I am so thankful to have been born in this country and learned English because it opens a million opportunities.

5. Macedonia has been seeking NATO membership for nearly as long as I’ve been alive.

6. It is an art to read and understand Congressional Resolutions.

 

It’s a complete change in lifestyle to be working nearly full-time. Most days I don’t even notice the time until its past 1 o’clock and realize I’m hungry! I’ve become friends with the other interns at UMD easily. This is going to be a great internship.

 

Second week realizations

My second week involved a lot of discoveries on the culture of D.C. Everyone here is always hurrying from one place to another, usually with a phone at their ear or in their hands, as if they're off to save the world (which I suppose considering the sheer number of non-profit organizations and charities here, they might actually be doing). I've also noticed how everyone speaks about “their friend,” a person who can get them into any restaurant, event, or even a job. Sometimes I think that connections are what get people places, but then I think of my own experiences and realize that while connections are important, having the right skills and knowledge is more important. I hope that while I’m here I can expand on both my connections and knowledge.

 

But the most impressive thing that I've noticed about D.C. so far is the amount of free food at events. I spent two days in a row when the only meal that came out of my own kitchen or pocket was a lunch!

 

After two weeks I can talk about my duties and responsibilities at my internship with a lot more certainty. As an International Policy and Diplomacy Fellow at the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), I keep track of legislation relating to Macedonia and Southeast Europe, attend events around the city, do research, draft press releases, and help out with general tasks. Since UMD is relatively small, I get to do a lot of genuine work that's helpful towards representing Macedonian-Americans. I've been able to attend many events so far, but my favorites have been a discussion by Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, on Scotland after the independence referendum and the recent parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom and a discussion by Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, on the Eastern Partnership. My certificate in European Studies is coming in handy!

 

EU Commissioner Hahn

EU Commissioner Hahn at the Atlantic Council

 

Nicola Sturgeon at the Council on Foreign Relations

Nicola Sturgeon at the Council on Foreign Relations

 

Last Monday, FIU, my school, hosted an orientation for the approximately 50 students in D.C. for the summer. It was surprising to see a few familiar faces from previous classes and even a few I know personally. I met a few alumni who currently work in D.C. and it really inspired me to continue working hard. Some of them spoke about life taking you in an unexpected direction, which motivated me to not be so afraid of the future; while it is uncertain, I will be strong and continue to work hard. It also felt really great to hear my Miami accent again. FIU is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year so keep an eye out for us!

 

FIU in DC

FIU is taking over D.C. this summer!

 

On Wednesday evening, TWC hosted a dinner with Sam Rose and his wife, Julie, for students who received a Sam Rose Scholarship. I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship and attend, where I personally thanked Mr. Rose and his wife for their generous contribution to my education. I would not be in D.C. right now, writing this blog, or at my internship if it wasn’t for this scholarship. Mr. Rose spoke about how the best way to help anyone is to help them receive an education; with an education, a person can do anything. I absolutely agree with Mr. Rose and again thank him for his support!

 

Since D.C. has received me so kindly and treated me well, I’m happy to give back to the community. I spent my Saturday volunteering with Cultivate the City with about 20 other TWC students at a local elementary school. We took good care of their garden and got to replant new plants. The garden is small, but it is definitely growing healthy fruits and vegetables and lovely flowers!

 

Gardening with Cultivate the City

I found some FIU students volunteering with Cultivate the City!

 

I spent the rest of my Saturday relaxing at my apartment with my roommates in preparation for the new week. Shout out to L, G, and E for being amazing roommates!

 

I have a lot more to write about but I will save that until the next time!

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

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