Stacy: Things to Know About Studying Abroad in Washington DC

“Abroad” usually means across the pond or even across the border… but I chose to stay in the U.S. and study abroad in D.C. for the fall of my senior year. This was 100 percent the right decision for me. And yes, there is more to D.C. than politics and the National Mall.

The first two things people will ask you are, “Where do you work?” and, “Who are you voting for in the election?” It takes some getting used to, but you are never not networking. You will hear the word networking more than you hear your own name. But it is so fun to be in the D.C. bubble. You are right where the magic happens (or doesn’t happen depending on how you view Congress) and you won’t find a better place to experience policymaking and politics up close.

The Metro is more efficient than Boston’s T system – without a doubt. But the escalators to and from the underground platform are about a 2-minute ride if you don’t walk. So naturally, half of the metro-goers walk. The best way to indicate if someone isn’t from D.C. is how he or she maneuvers the Metro escalators. The left side is for walking, and the right side is for standing. Don’t mess this up or you will get yelled at.

Another thing to know about the Metro is that it’s sometimes more expensive than Uber depending on how far you travel. So before going underground, check Uber Pool to see if it would be cheaper, and it sometimes is.  Now, if you plan on Ubering in D.C… it is a city divided into sections. So when you’re Ubering or using Google maps, never leave out the “NW” or “NE” at the end of the street address because you will end up somewhere across the city. I learned the hard way…

This is very important…. Happy Hour is a thing! Yes, alcohol is exciting, but there is FOOD during Happy Hour too. My favorite experience in Happy Hour so far is at The Hamilton because they have a sushi bar… where there is sushi Happy Hour every day from 3-7pm. Half priced sushi people. It’s a big deal.

It is impossible to be bored here. There are things happening at the national level every day. This is the hub of international and national organizations. There are think tanks everywhere, free museums across the city, networking events and screenings for documentaries and movies all the time. But D.C. also has elements of a normal city, such as theatres, sports, nightlife, parks, shopping, etc. You can’t be bored here.

I know I said there is more to D.C. than the politics, and this is true. But don’t worry; you’ll still get your Frank Underwood experience. In addition to the politics, there is a city with its own culture here too. From one street to another, the vibe of D.C. changes completely. If you love the combination in Boston of history and modern day – then you’ll feel at home here in D.C.

I know D.C. isn’t the European adventure that Lizzie had in the Lizzie McGuire movie, but you will gain so much in this program. You will learn more about our country than you thought you could, you will gain professional skills from BU workshops and networking events and you will experience an intense internship that will give you more skills than a classroom ever could. You can always have a European adventure later in life. BU D.C. is preparing me for post-grad life, and I feel more confident about entering the real world after going through this program.

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