This summer I went from living in Murray, Kentucky to College Park, Maryland for an editorial internship. College Park is about thirty minutes northeast of Washington D.C. Though I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri and I’ve lived outside of the south and near a large city before, moving to the east coast for a few months was really different and exciting. If you’re thinking about moving to the D.C. area for an internship or even after graduation, here are the good, bad, and surprising things that happened when I moved this summer.
1. I saw pride flags on multiple public buildings.
This wasn’t super surprising since I moved to Maryland during Pride Month. What surprised me was seeing pride flags hanging not only inside the windows of business but on the side of city hall and on the visitor center in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. When I drive from St. Louis to Murray, I always pass the large Confederate flag flying over Paducah, so to see multiple pride flags around was refreshing.
2. I was asked if everyone wears Trump hats in Kentucky.
When I was in Maryland, I met other interns from all over the United States. A lot of them were from the north or from the coasts. We talked about a number of things, but something that everyone was interested in was the political situation. I was asked if a lot of people in Kentucky are Trump supporters and if a lot of people have “Make America Great Again” hats. Interestingly, the most “Make America Great Again” hats I’ve ever seen was in D.C. on the Fourth of July.
3. There was confusion about the location of Murray State and St. Louis.
Before this summer, I never had to specify that St. Louis is in Missouri. I had always assumed it was a popular enough city that people outside of the Midwest knew it. Then, after moving to Maryland, I was asked what state St. Louis is in, twice.
During a trivia night, one of the questions was what school and city has Racers as their mascot. My team put down the correct answer, Murray State in Murray, Kentucky. But the “correct” answer was Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
4. The good and the bad of public transportation.
The DC Metro is very nice, clean, and efficient. You don’t have to worry about who is the designated driver when you go out. You don’t have to worry about having enough gas or the traffic.
The biggest downside of the metro is being claustrophobic when it’s crowded. Sweaty people standing in close proximity on the metro on the commute home from work is never fun. Plus, you don’t want to miss the last train of the night. The metro closes at one in the morning on the weekends, which isn’t that late when clubs don’t open until ten at night.
5. The joy of food delivery services.
Sure, you can order pizza delivery and Chinese takeout, but living in or near a large city means you have more options when it comes to getting your food delivered. I had the option of getting almost any place with a carryout option delivered through apps like GrubHub. It’s the perfect solution for rainy days or if you don’t want to walk and you don’t have a car.
6. I was paying more for less space.
My apartment in Maryland was significantly smaller than my apartment in Murray, and it was more expensive. This was to be expected. It’s the price of living in a city. Though I had less of my own space, I had more things to do and more places to go.
7. There was more diversity.
Not only were the people more diverse, there was more diverse food. I’m not an adventurous eater, but I did try some new food. I had Jamaican chicken that was really good. There were multiple Indian restaurants to choose from. There were Korean BBQ, Mexican, Mediterranean, French, Italian, Lebanese, and Russian restaurants. You could live in the greater DC area for a year and never eat at the same place twice.
8. There are more opportunities.
Living near a large city not only means more fun things to do, it also means more job opportunities. I met a girl who had worked at the French Embassy, in a local police department, and as an intern at a radio station before her internship at the nonprofit where we were both interning. I couldn’t believe how many cool opportunities she had had, and when I told her this, she attributed it to living near Washington D.C.
Overall, moving to the east coast for an internship was definitely worth the experience. I grew so much as a person, developed a new perspective on life, and found somewhere that I want to live after graduation.