I wrote what I think is a pretty good blog about my DC experiences over at the College of Liberal Arts blog, and wanted to post it here so you guys could read it.
Washington is great.
I don’t really know how else to say it. Over the past few weeks since I last blogged, my experiences, both in the city and at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, have only increased my appreciation for our nation’s capital. While the summer in DC is very warm, as promised, the weather has provided many opportunities to duck into many different restaurants and stores to cool off. One of my best restaurant experiences in the city occurred over the July 4th weekend in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. We were strolling down 18th Street, and eager to get off our feet and out of the heat (We had previously toured the National Zoo, a short walk away… and free too!), we walked in to one of the three Ethiopian restaurants on the street, named Meskerem, and sat down for dinner. Having never eaten Ethiopian before, I didn’t really know what to expect. My meal consisted of a spicy beef stew eaten by hand, using a giant rolled-up spongy tortilla-like bread as a utensil. It was absolutely fantastic. I’ll definitely be stopping by there again before I leave on the 14th of August. For lovers of ethnic restaurants, Washington has something for everyone. Countless ethnic groups have settled in the city over the years. Inside the Beltway, there are large Indian, Salvadoran, Ethiopian, and Hispanic populations that each have their own delicious food.
Moving past the food on 4th of July weekend, I spent the actual holiday having a picnic on the Potomac waterfront in Georgetown, which gave me a perfect sightline to the fireworks over the Kennedy Center. The actual fireworks themselves were pretty great, and you obviously couldn’t beat the atmosphere.
After the long weekend, work became much more interesting. I worked with my supervisor, Scott, on updating the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Institute website, and also recently spent time researching American biomass power plants. A longer term project I am currently working on is the development of a promotional video for the Penn State class, IST 445H, Globalization Trends and World Issues I took in the fall. The class, taught last year by Dr. Andrea Tapia, is the product of a special Penn State relationship with CSIS that features a two-day seminar in Washington halfway through the semester. Without taking that class, I probably would not have had this wonderful opportunity.
One of the better things about CSIS, which I may have already mentioned, is that we have many, many speakers visit and present about their expertise every day. These sessions are chances to interact with great minds, to learn about different points of view, and to get free food. My program is responsible for setting up for many of these speakers, which entails setting up chairs, and bringing water, soda, and ice to the conference room where the event is taking place. In addition to speakers at CSIS, Washington has many events every day. On Tuesday, I was dispatched to the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center to take notes on the day-long public forum for the Clean Energy Ministerial, a meeting of the energy ministers from countries that make up 80 percent of the world’s energy consumption. Organized by Dr. Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy, I learned much about what is needed for the world to have a cleaner, greener future.
That’s the thing about this city. It gives you so many chances every day to learn things you never knew, experience things you’ve never done, and meet people that are very influential in their respective fields. Coming to Washington and CSIS for the summer has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. If you have any interest in politics or international affairs, I highly recommend applying to intern here.