In Her Words: Andrea Valdés Dishes About Intern Life in D.C.

By Ashlene Lebrón

Andrea Valdés is a 21-year-old English major taking Washington D.C. by storm: this past semester, as part of the Córdova & Fernós Internship Program, Andrea was an intern at Congressman Darren Soto's office in Capitol Hill. Her internship allowed her further insight into Puerto Rico as well. As a representative of Florida's 9th District, also known as Central Florida, Congressman Soto “holds some sway over what happens in Puerto Rico," Andea explains, "since he is part of the Natural Resources Committee, which oversees U.S. territories like Puerto Rico, but also the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam.” 

“As an intern, I do mostly administrative and communicative related work. In other words, I am the front lines between the office and the constituents. Mostly, I answer phones, log comments, and take people on tours of the Capitol.” However, Andrea has been able to attend other conferences, receptions and activities that has gathered her some amazing connections throughout her time in the District. As an intern of the Córdova & Fernós Program, she and her fellow interns from the program are also alumni of The Washington Center, an organization which provides housing, career prep, and academic seminars to its interns.

Of course, being in such a richly cultured and diverse city, she has had some fantastic memories outside the office. “One of my favorite moments here though, was when I walked through the cherry blossoms in the Tidal Basin. Even though it was technically Spring, it was cold! But worth it to see the beautiful trees in bloom after anticipating their arrival for so long.” Yet, another memorable experience was when she recited a poem by Julia de Burgos, a performance which helped Puerto Rico's delegation win The Washington Center's Global Festival!

Needless to say, living in D.C. allows for some pretty unique experiences. As for Andrea's "only in D.C." moment? “Meeting Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and shaking-her-hand. I died!” 

Andrea has had amazing experiences and she has hit a few bumps along the way, but she has persevered. Homesickness for Andrea was hard ("I was always homesick") but it helped her become more independent and meet amazing people along the way.

On a personal note, Andrea encourages any student to apply to this amazing internship. Yet, she recommends to not apply to just for one, but apply to many and have your options open. "Once accepted, get in touch with past interns to teach you the ropes or give you some tips," she explains. When taking up jobs, keep your options opened and do not accept the first job they offer. “If it isn’t what you are looking for in terms of personal or professional growth, speak with your coordinator about the options and see if they can be approved before accepting anything.”