Luther students share their experiences about their Washington Semester.
For any political science major, Washington D.C. is the holy land. And, through Luther College and its affiliation with the Lutheran College Washington Semester (LCWS), I had the fascinating opportunity to spend four months in the nation’s capital.
As a part of the program, we took two evening classes a week and held a full-time internship. After several interviews, I got accepted as a legislative intern in Senator Richard Durbin’s office on the Capitol Hill.
At first, I was excited at the prospect of working in the Senate Assistant Majority Leader’s office. However, as I walked up the marble staircase of the nation’s Capitol building, I was struck by the daunting task of working in a senator’s office. Nevertheless, after a debriefing from the staffers who work really hard to lead the United States to prosperity, I settled in into my new job.
Working on the Hill did not only allow me to work on some groundbreaking legislation, I also had the opportunity to attend numerous committee hearings most notably a testimony by the Chairman of Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke. On top of that, I had the privilege of being on the actual senate floor while the American Jobs Act was being voted on.
Besides the possibility of a prestigious internship, Washington D.C. is drenched in national history. There are numerous museums and attractions to keep a person busy for weeks. One of my favorite attractions was the Newseum which showcases all of the major accomplishments of the media in the last century.
Living in Washington D.C. was truly an amazing experience. From the moment you land in D.C., you become engulfed in all the activities the city has to offer. Most importantly, Washington D.C. taught me that we all have a role in our society and as Mayor Rahm Emanuel says, "You do not become someone just to be that someone; you become someone because you want to do something." After all, we are the next generation of nation builders and the city showed me the hard work we all have to do in order to progress in life.
I wanted to live in Washington D.C. during the exciting months leading up to the 2010 elections. For that reason, I chose to spend the fall semester in D.C. through the Lutheran College Washington Semester program. In addition to enrolling in night classes, I worked at the U.S. Department of Education, where I worked alongside editorial staff to help facilitate publication of all department materials. While there, I was able to meet Secretary Arne Duncan and brush shoulders with him during a department-wide basketball tournament.
When not working or taking classes, I explored the rich history and culture of the city. With many friends interning with the Smithsonian Museums, I toured many of the downtown museums.
I lived with three fun-loving, talented women from schools in Pennsylvania and California. I also went to a handful of Washington Nationals games, sampled numerous restaurants and different foods, and even rode along with an on-duty police officer in the 6th District.
I thoroughly enjoyed living in a city with a vibrant political climate full of passionate individuals.
The semester provided a fantastic opportunity for me to work in Washington D.C. and helped me learn more about the world of public policy and establishing connections for finding employment in Washington after graduation.