Introduction: My First 15 days in DC

Introduction: My First 15 days in DC

Getting into the Swing of ThingsReflecting back on my first fifteen days in Washington, I’m amazed at all the things that I've done. I can't say that there really was much of a “settling in”, as I was quickly thrown into the busy life of a Washington intern. By my first week here, I had already made new friends, professional contacts, and explored and discovered many cool areas of the District.

The International Affairs Program

The international affairs program I am in has many ambitious college and post-graduate students. My program coordinator Indhika Jayaratnam is wonderful. She works really hard to keep us up date on what is going on a TWC, what events are happening in DC, and what things we can do to further our professional development. More on that later.

Living at RAF

The suites at RAF are really nice. They are hooked up with a dishwasher, washing machine and dryer, two bathrooms, kitchen appliances -- the works. My suitemates come from very different backgrounds. There's Brian from Arkansas, who has worked in Tanzania for two years and is here at TWC as a post-grad student in the Ford Motor Company Global Scholars Program. Then there is Hyunil, an undergrad from South Korea, who is studying finance. For him being in DC is not only experiencing a new city, but a new country, and a whole new culture. My roommate's name is Joe. He's an undergrad political science major from Dayton Unversity in Ohio.

The Internship

On September 7th I started working as a scholar intern at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. When I first walked into my internship building, a wing of the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center, I have to admit that it was a bit intimidating. After passing by security guards, metal detectors and a bag screen, I found myself in an enormous grey room. Everyone there was in business suits, pacing around with that aura of seriousness reminiscent of Wall Street businessmen in New York. Fortunately, all nervousness quickly subsided. After meeting my Wilson Center internship coordinator Krishna, getting a tour of the workplace, and meeting some of the other interns, I actually found the atmosphere of the place to be receptive and stimulating.

As a scholar intern, I work for two (you guessed it) scholars. One is William Milam, former US ambassador to Bangladesh (1990-93) and Pakistan (1998-2001), and Chief of Mission in Liberia (1995-98). At WWICS he is writing a book on transitional justice in Liberia.

My job? He wants me to do research on how economic development and transitional justice are interrelated in the context of state-building in post-conflict societies. Have no idea what that means? I didn’t either at first. I have been learning a lot about political economy and international law through this assignment.

The other scholar I am working for is Frederic Bozo. He is a history and international affairs professor at the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris. His expertise is the history of trans-Atlantic relations. The book he is writing focuses on French and US relations during the time of the 2003 Iraq war. He already written on the French side, and now he is in the US to learn more about the American side. His ambitious project, which I will try to help him with, involves interviewing former Bush administration members to get their accounts of what happened.

It's all about Time Management

Honestly, the workload can be demanding. I have been reading a lot of material. The first week I was given two books and a few hundred pages of text to read. My aim is to do as much as I can, and give a good first impression to Mr. Milam and Dr. Bozo. I see only good opportunities so far, and it will be up to me to see them when they arise and act upon them.

But while there is a lot of work, there is also time for fun. My next entry will focus on the fun stuff I've done outside of work -- happy hours, festivals, music, biking, museums.

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

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