I Interned in Washington, D.C., and You Should Too

Over the summer, I had the incredible opportunity to live and work in Washington, D.C. through the UC Davis Washington Program. During my time there, I interned for the Washington Program itself, creating content such as newsletters, articles, and social media posts. I also got to interview other program participants, which took me to places like the DNC and even the Pentagon. The idea of living across the country over the summer without any of my friends or family was incredibly daunting and stressful at times, but being there was the experience of a lifetime, and one I highly recommend.

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Work experience is probably one of the most important things you want to get while you’re still in school, and Washington, D.C. has so many opportunities for university students. There is an unfathomable number of companies and organizations in D.C., and almost all of them hire students as interns. The Smithsonian institutions alone hire interns who major in anything ranging from history and communications to aerospace engineering and veterinary science. I interviewed students from countless different backgrounds who found amazing internships in areas like journalism, museum studies, public health, and human rights. The opportunities in D.C. are virtually endless. 

Working in D.C. also gives you the chance to network and meet other people in your area of interest. If you’re going there through the Washington Program, you’ll be living with and surrounded by other UC students. Even if you go there on your own — and there are a good number of students who do — you’ll be able to make friends with other interns and the regulars you work with. Your coworkers and the people they connect you with are instrumental in networking, which will definitely help you once you graduate and are hunting for a job.

Aside from working, there are so many incredible places to visit in D.C. I was there all summer and I didn’t even get to go to all of the places I wanted to see. There are, of course, all of the national monuments and the Smithsonian Museums, which are must-sees for anyone going to D.C. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History was a particular favorite of mine, considering they had the freakin’ Batmobile!

Image Source: Smithsonian

Georgetown and Tyson’s Corner Center are fun if you like shopping, and the Hillwood Estate and Tudor Place offer tours of mansions and beautiful gardens. D.C. is also home to the Folger Shakespeare Library, The House of the Temple (a Masonic temple which, yes, I did visit), and The International Spy Museum. There is never a dull moment in the Nation’s capital.  

D.C. is truly a city for young professionals. There are great restaurants for foodies, hundreds of places to take quality photos for your Instagram feed, and a bunch of clubs for those who like to go out at night (there are even several 18+ clubs). D.C. is home to so many organizations that there are endless events scheduled every week. I got to attend the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission at the National Mall, where they projected the rocket launching onto the Washington Monument. I also got to go to the Smithsonian’s Asian-American Literature Festival and attend a panel where Asian-American YA authors talked about the publishing industry and how they approached writing. Even when I wasn’t working, I was gaining valuable experiences.

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D.C. is a place where the past and progress seem to meet perfectly. There is so much history there, yet at the same time it feels so new and full of life. If you want job experience, or even just the opportunity to live in another part of the country, I would highly recommend checking out Washington, D.C. and seeing what it has to offer you.