Expanding my Future in D.C.

Expanding my Future in D.C.

I'll be the first to say that this experience has not been what I expected and, from my previous posts, I am sure you can tell I am very happy with how it turned out. One thing I did not expect to happen was for my internship site to sign me on as a contractor and to extend my time in D.C!


This past month has been a roller coaster of things to do and deadlines to meet. I come from a university that, perhaps, does not value its international relations programs as much as it does its engineering department, but even coming from a relatively humble program, I think that I have made great strides in my field. If you had told me at the beginning of the semester that I would be applying for a diplomatic visa and looking for an apartment in D.C., I would have said, “I doubt anyone would want me!” But through hard work and long days, I think I made the right impression.



My organization

My greatest advice to anyone coming to this program is not to treat your internship like just an internship. It's best to think of your internship as your full time job; although you aren’t being paid, you are looking to advance yourself and make something out of your experience at the institution or company. It’s hard to look at your internship as more than a resume booster, but as I have said before, you get what you put into this program.


If you put in 100%, don’t be surprised by the connections and opportunities that could come your way. I am still not sure how I got my position; it reminds me of the “imposter's syndrome," the idea that you never feel fully qualified for a position no matter how hard you have worked to get where you are. I think overcoming this syndrome will be a large hurdle for me to pass once I begin my new position.



Things aren’t really going well for my hometown: with global energy prices dropping, job opportunities are harder than ever to come by in Calgary. I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to ride out this storm in Washington, D.C.


One thing I had to take into account when asked to stay on after TWC is housing. I think that this was the biggest hurdle for me to get past; I was surprised that there were more scammers online trying to get people’s money rather than real apartments up for rent. I was lucky to find a small place in Crystal City. Its about 10 minutes from the airport I will be leaving D.C. from eventually, and is about 10 minutes by Metro to my work place, so it’s the perfect location. As much as D.C is a great city, you also need to take into account how safe the neighborhood is. Yes, you may find a good deal, but also keep in mind how safe you will be commuting to and from work in the evenings.


The lobby of my new place! If you look hard enough, you can find great, affordable places like this!


I will be calling D.C. home for the foreseeable future, and I think there is still much to get used to. I thought that this experience was going to be temporary and that I would be back home before I knew it. I could sense the disappointment in my parents' voices when I told them that I would be staying on longer, because over the past 2-3 years I have not spent much time with my family (I also lived in South Korea for a very long time).


Opportunities like this should be seen as an investment in the future, and things worth your while often come with a bit of sacrifice. Mine will be time spent with my family, but I know it will be worth it in the long run and I think they do as well. I'll be home soon, just not as soon as I initially thought!



Read Rahul's previous blog posts here

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