Since my freshman year of high school, I knew I wanted to experience something new and exciting. Bay Path was a constant for me—suburban neighborhood, small class sizes—it really wasn’t a change from the life I had lived in high school. I knew I needed to spend some time in a place that I wouldn’t normally be living. I originally wanted to go to Italy, somewhere I have been before and fell in love with. I was set on this idea when American University reached out to me. I had only been to Washington DC once before for a high school field trip and was curious about what more the area had to offer. When I realized I could also complete my internship there, it seemed like the perfect fit. I have never been much of a city girl, but I was willing to give it a shot.
Taking part in an internship is one of the most beneficial opportunities available to college students. As we prepare for our futures ahead, students can learn so much from those who have already taken the journey. I wanted to intern somewhere that was different than what I would experience here, so when I got an offer from the United States National Archives to work for their Public Programs department I knew that was the route I needed to take. This was one of my best experiences in DC. I got a chance to view different parts of communications such as event planning and working with the public. I even got the chance to plan and run my own event. I gained experience and skills I wouldn’t have had without going there.
Washington DC is the heart and soul of America. Before I could learn about the rest of the world, I needed to learn about the history of my country. Within my first week there, I toured the Supreme Court and sat in on a hearing. Every week, we would visit a new location: The Washington Post, Fox News, NBC News, Politico, Sirius XM, the Capitol Building, Capital One Arena, the Newseum, and countless others. I was a part of the journalism program and met with editors, writers, TV hosts, radio stations, and anyone relevant in the media world. When we didn’t have location days, we spent our time in lectures with guest speakers such as authors, videographers, photographers, and all different types of political influencers.
Only half of my time was spent with my class. This does not include all of the free and amazing experiences I had on my own and with friends. Most of the museums and all of the monuments are free in DC. Through American University, I also received a free metro pass which made transportation extremely easy. There were beautiful sights, delicious food, and so much history to take in during the short four months I lived there.
I now feel more knowledgeable about the country I live in, more independent in the life I live, and more confident in my abilities. Even though I did not leave the country, my study abroad was one of the most influential moments of my college career.