Hi you guys! I’m back.
I’m wrapping up my first couple of weeks in D.C. So far everything has been pretty good.
After arriving in Reagan International Wednesday (the 24th of January), I got to my place of residence around 5. We had a student orientation at 6 pm, so I didn’t quite have as much time as I’d have liked to pick up food and unpack, but I got to meet my roommates who are pretty cool! I share a room with a girl named Xhilda from Albania who attends a university in Indiana. We share the apartment with two other girls, one named Juhee who lives in South Carolina, and another girl Amalie from Norway attending school in Illinois.
The next couple of days after that were filled with orientations and meeting people. I met many people from Canada, New Jersey, and an absolute ton of people from Massachusetts. There is a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds represented here. A large part of the students are from Mexico which wasn’t something I was expecting.
Saturday night, Amalie and I hung out with our neighbors and walked around D.C. After a long night of checking out a party at an art museum and getting lost around Pennsylvania Avenue, we stood outside the White House and talked politics- the norm around D.C. Sunday I prepared to start my internship and went shopping for the week. I’ve discovered that deciding what to cook is very difficult, especially when the only thing you know how to cook is ramen noodles. On top of that, cooking for one can be expensive too, so this aspect of the trip hasn’t been as natural for me.
My internship, I’ve learned, consists of working for the Executive Secretariat in the Peace Corps. The Exec Sec (as it is affectionately called) manages some of the communications for the Director of the Peace Corps, more specifically the letters and emails addressed to the Director. Right now especially we are seeing a lot of turnover because many of the upper positions are appointed by the United States President. (Something like 14 or 19 of the positions of upper management.) My day to day life at the Peace Corps will include proofreading, logging and tracking letters the director receives and responds to in various software, and sorting through older files. While my job isn’t the most glamorous in the world, I like going to work everyday because of the people.
My supervisor Sylvie is a neat person. She is very patient with me and my fellow intern Airieanna. She gives us a lot of independence which is nice because that is the environment I prefer to work in. Sylvie works with another person, Melanie, who is also super nice. They, together, make up the Exec Sec dream team.
The Peace Corps kind of goes their own way when it comes to running the place. The Peace Corps is crazy awesome about honoring the wishes of the staff. Some of the efforts include having a room specifically dedicated to meditation, fitness classes offered three days after work each week, and lots of clubs to promote staff engagement. My boss is always encouraging me and the other intern to check out the area around the office whenever we need a break.
There is always at least a little bit of chaos because the majority of staff members are only allowed to work for five years at a time. This was a law enacted when the Peace Corps was created in 1961 under the Kennedy Administration in an effort to keep the program ‘young’. This means that like every week someone is leaving or starting. While this dynamic is interesting, it can be difficult to do longer term things or have a point of reference for precedent to look to for some situations. (Hence lots of sorting through older files.)
There are lots of interns that work there, and the mix is pretty diverse in terms of backgrounds. The commute isn’t too bad either, though the metro is full of interesting people. This isn’t a common thought among the other interns, but I look forward each day to riding it.
Tuesday after work from 6:30- 9:30 I had my first class at TWC- Middle Eastern Politics.
I know literally nothing about the Middle East.
It was a long three hours.
The professor seems cool though, and the class is fairly small at nine students, so I feel that it’ll be an okay