“Where did you go abroad?”
“But that’s not abroad.”
“What brilliant geographic commentary. You should run for Miss America.”
“Don’t you want to go somewhere a bit more … exciting?”
“Exciting? I learned how to Salsa dance on a rooftop in Havana. I went to Monster Jam, Monticello, New York City and Annapolis Naval Base. I was the envy of several heads of state as I cruised down the streets of Communist Cuba in a 1962 Chevy.”
“But … why didn’t you go to Heidelberg or Buenos Aires?”
“Well, I was actually on my way to Shanghai, but I chose to come to DC instead.”
“Because the DC program isn’t just for people who are scared to leave the country. I grew up overseas. It’s not out of fear of travel that I chose the DC program. We’re housed in high-rise lofts just blocks from the White House. I sat down to talk politics with a Congressional Chief of Staff on Capitol Hill yesterday. We are within walking distance of the National Mall, Georgetown University and about a dozen Smithsonians.”
“Let me slow this down for you. The food and housing situation trumps any other program. The International Study Tour is worth the entire semester. The program attracts interesting and driven people who go on to be leaders all over the world. Joe Biden is a regular in the restaurant downstairs. The opportunity to work in the internship capital of the world has draw, my topographical friend.”
“We are not the runt of the IP litter. DC is a phenomenal city with history and spark and incredible burger joints. In the DC program we intern on Capitol Hill, with NGOs or with the Nationals baseball franchise. Others choose not to intern at all. Some travel across the east coast. Some stay grounded in DC for a cheaper IP experience.
“The professors are incredible. I’m taking Latin American Politics with a Peruvian human rights lawyer and Astronomy with a cousin of Neil Armstrong. I think it’s fair to say we go to Capitol Hill for the Political Science GE more than any other program. An African Dance group visited my International Communications class. I danced. Badly.
“DC lacks the hype and PR attention of some of the other programs. For one, it’s brand new to the IP banner. But with that comes a cozier group, smaller classrooms and more individual attention.
“And don’t be fooled by the gridlock of Congress. Congress is a small part of a much larger city. For the most part, DC is full of people who are moving. They speak with conviction and intelligence. They run up escalators at noon. They fill coffee shops with political banter and quips on foreign policy. And in DC, you’re a part of it. You’re a part of the culture that moves.
“So no, I was not filled with regret that my IP experience lacked exoticism while swimming in the Caribbean with a Cuban cigar in my mouth. I felt no apprehension that I was missing out as I walked through Times Square or Old Havana.
“Call me cracked, but having been all over the world, I choose DC.”