3 Things That Surprised Me About TWC

3 Things That Surprised Me About TWC

The Washington Center was not new to me. I have known about it ever since I was a freshman in college. A friend of mine did the internship program, came back with amazing stories about D.C., and I was hooked.


Throughout my sophomore and junior year, I did more research on The Washington Center as I learned more about myself and what I wanted to do. And senior year came, just as I prepared for it: I am now in D.C. and enrolled in TWC's Academic Internship Program. But little did I know what it would actually be like to live in one of the busiest cities in the country.



I always imagined that the students in TWC's program will all live in a school-like dormitory in the suburbs with communal bathrooms and kitchens and, to be frank, I was not looking forward to it. To my surprise, the Residential and Academic Facility (RAF) is conveniently located very close to the center of D.C. with a 5-minute walk to two Metro stations, 30 minute walk to the National Mall, 15 minute walk to the closest “bar street” (H Street), and if you are lucky enough to have a nearby workplace, you can walk to work as well (like I do).


The RAF also surprised me with its well-furnished apartments. Four students are placed in an apartment with a kitchen, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms. On top of the standard 2B/2B apartment, we have a common living area with couches and a TV, our own washer and dryer, and two beautiful pictures of our respected Abe just staring at us to remind us how lucky we are to be in D.C.


Kitchen and common space area at the RAF



Another surprise to me was my workplace. I used to think that most companies in big cities are of larger scale and have a lot of employees. It is actually not the case here in D.C. A lot of organizations in D.C. are non-profits or of smaller scale, and that means a smaller staff.


My company has two founders/ managing directors, two full time staff members, and three interns. A lot of other organizations where my friends work also have a low number of employees. To some people, this might be not be ideal because of a small working environment. However, I look at it as a great learning opportunity because I get assigned more tasks than I would if I were working at a busier internship site.


Living Expenses

I was not taken aback by the costly city expenses. From food, to transportation, to entertainment, most things are pricey, especially compared to those in smaller areas. But fear not, because there are great apps like Eventbrite, Living Social, and D.C. Meetup that allow you to scout all the events in the city! Many of them are free, like the National Symphony Orchestra Concert that I just went to on Sunday, or cultural festivals that are open to public. Cooking is also recommended if you want to save some money.


National Symphony Orchestra Concert


Lastly, definitely try to walk and explore the city because D.C. is very walkable. Plus, you may catch a lot of good views that only by-foot adventures will unfold.


Syrian Festival


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