D.C.- The pre-departure FAQ Answers

Schreiner is a pretty small campus, but just in case we haven’t crossed paths: Hi, my name is Natalie Raper.

In sticking to my vow to take as many opportunities as the school will pay for, I am getting ready to spend my Spring 2018 semester in Washington, D.C. It will be similar to a study abroad but I will just be on the other side of the nation versus the other side of the world. I plan to do a series of articles on my time in D.C. so that you guys can see what I’m up to (if you’re so inclined to do so). My goal of this series is not only to inform you guys that the opportunity is out there, but to create something that I can also look back on and remember my time in D.C.

Here are some of my most commonly asked questions whenever I talk about my upcoming trip:

Didn’t you just get back from another trip to like, Colombia or something?

Totally did! You should for sure check out that opportunity while you’re at Schreiner. Feel free to email me with questions about that trip too.

So D.C., eh? You must like the cold!

Not one bit. I detest the cold. People always say stuff like ‘in the cold you can always put another layer on!’ but I completely disagree with that. Hotter climates are where I feel most at home. For this trip I’ve just been packing warm and hoping for the best.

What exactly will you be doing in D.C.?

I will be going to D.C. through a third party called The Washington Center (TWC). They helped me line up an internship with the Peace Corps, I will live in one of the apartments they own, and the have an awesome website that includes lots of guides about what to pack, what D.C. is like, and life of a TWC student. I don’t know too many specifics about what my day to day life will be like, but I know that I will be sharing an apartment with three other girls, living in an building with a diverse culture, and working at the Peace Corps’s communication office at least four days a week. The other day will be consumed with professional development activities put on by TWC, and at least one day a week I will be taking a class. (I’ve submitted my preferences on which class I want, but haven’t heard back on my final schedule yet.)

What was the application process like?

So this was definitely a multi-step process because there were many things that I had to apply to. First I had to apply to TWC. I chose this program mainly they have an established relationship with Schriener and because I was familiar with them from the last time I traveled to D.C. The TWC application wasn’t too difficult- some recommendations, a couple of essays, and transcript. Then, once I got into the program, I had to wait. That was excruciating, because I can be impatient at times. After a couple of weeks, I started hearing back from various agencies that were interested in conducting a phone or skype interview. After a few interviews, I decided to work for the Peace Corps, mostly because when speaking on the phone that is where I most saw myself working. I felt the working environment was friendly and forgiving, which was something that I was looking for. After accepting the position at the Peace Corps, there were mountains of paperwork to get through as well as countless security measures that I only just finished (as of 1/18/18). At some point during all of this, I also spoke with the financial aid department on campus to figure out the final number to pay I was looking at and notifying people that I wasn’t going to be on campus. Finally I also had to fill out a roommate questionnaire and a class preference sheet.

Neat-o. So, how did you find out about this program?

I actually used this program last year too. This program’s how I attended the Presidential Inauguration with Jessie Leal. This time though I will be going for a full semester, rather than just two (awesome) weeks.

Dang a full semester! Are you going home for Spring Break or nah?

Unfortunately, as far as I know, I won’t be getting a Spring Break because I’ll actually be working (like an actual adult). Since I’ll be working for the government, I’ll get those holidays off , but there’s only one during the spring semester: President’s Day in February. So far, being an adult is a bummer.

Are you going to get credit for this internship?

Yup! Since I am a history major it will just be transfer-electives, but I need those anyways.

How do you pay for it?

I’m technically considered a full time Schreiner student, which is awesome because that means some of my financial aid will apply towards the program. On top of that, since I am going to be participating in an internship, I’m receiving funds from the Meaningful Work department. Also, it doesn’t hurt to try for scholarships- local scholarships give you the best chance of winning.

Who are you rooming with?

I haven’t actually spoken with them, so I’ll have to get back to you on that.

What kind of living arrangements are you going to be staying in?

Like mentioned earlier, I’m going to be living with three other girls. We will live in an apartment which has a kitchen, two bedrooms, two baths, and is furnished. It’s up to me to bring stuff like bedding and hangers, though. The Washington Center is targeted to college students from all around the world, so I expect there to be some diversity in the type of cultures represented there.

Where in D.C. is the apartment building?

This is in the NW quadrant of D.C. at the NoMa-Gallaudet stop on the Red line.

What were your parents reaction to this trip?

They were fine with it- after saying “hey I want to go to this foreign country for seven weeks and oh yea I only kinda speak the language,” then returning in one piece,  D.C. is nothin’.

Are you excited? More importantly: Are you nervous?

I’m really pumped about this trip. I’m also super nervous, but I know that I can handle whatever comes my way. If not? My family and friends have made it clear that I have people that I can turn to if I need the support.

What would you have done if the Government Shutdown of 2018 lasted longer?


Luckily that didn’t happen! I still have an internship to go to. Yay!

In conclusion:

If you’ve reached the end of my FAQ’s and still have more questions, please please email me! I love to talk about my travels and am happy to help with anything I can. Contact me at

Note from the editor: Subscribe to the below to get an email notification every time our writers post new content, and to see when Natalie checks in from the East Coast! 

2 replies »

  1. Super proud of you Natalie! You are going to see and do amazing things. Soak it in and be sure to continue to share your adventures with us back at home. We MISS YOU in the CDO!

    Liked by 1 person

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