It is 8:15AM. I hear the whistles and screeches announcing the Metro train’s arrival and run as fast as I can up the steps. I squeeze through a sea of people onto the train and desperately search for an open seat. Of course, they are all taken, and I must accept the fact that I will be standing once more on my journey to work. I grip the closest handle I can find and try to keep my balance while also untangling my headphones and trying not to bump into the other people less than an inch away from me. After 13 stops, about 30 minutes, I walk off the Metro, up more stairs, and into the sunlight. The city looks hectic: men are selling newspapers on the sidewalk as people rush by on their way to work; there are frustrated drivers punching their car horns as they bravely try to drive through the streets of DC; others glide by as they peddle on their bikes, determined not to be late; and others look like zombies as they stand in long lines awaiting their morning coffee.
Growing up in Maryland suburbs about 30 minutes outside of DC, I never really appreciated the opportunities that my location offered me. I would visit my dad at work on Take-Your-Child-To-Work Day and there were always the school trips to the Air and Space or Holocaust Museums, but I never went out of my way to trek into DC until I moved 2 hours away to Delaware for college. People are shocked when I tell them about how rarely I would visit DC considering my vicinity to the city, but it always seemed like something that was simply there; something that I could put on hold and push off until another day. Now that I am so far away, I feel like I cannot stay away from DC!
This summer, I decided that I would do my best to find an internship in DC. I wanted to experience all that the city had to offer me, and, luckily, I was able to find one that suited me perfectly. I was a Program Intern at Jewish Women International (JWI), a progressive women’s organization that focuses on the prevention of violence against women and girls, promotion of financial literacy among women and girls, and empowerment of women and girls to be leaders in their communities. As a young Jewish woman majoring in Public Policy and Women & Gender Studies with a concentration in Domestic Violence Prevention & Services, you can probably see why I say that the internship suited me perfectly.
At JWI, the other interns and I were able to plan our own Intern Summer Speaker Series, attend lunches at the offices of other domestic violence-related organizations, and participate in endless networking events and conferences in every corner of DC. I also had the opportunity to write sexual assault discussion guides for other university Hillel students to lead on their campuses. The environment at JWI was very unique, being that it was an organization comprised of only women. It was amazing to feel like I was in a safe space of other inspiring women who were passionate about the same topics and issues as I am. And, of course, being in DC was absolutely amazing! The Metro ride is always a drag for me, but once you are in the city, there is so much to do! As I mentioned before, if you need networking opportunities, DC is the place to be. It seemed like every day new networking events for people of all ages and interests would pop up out of nowhere. There is also always something to do in DC, whether it be shopping at the Eastern Market, or visiting the monuments along the National Mall; exploring a museum, or eating at a food truck (I am now obsessed with food trucks and ate at them almost every day for lunch, by the way); kayaking on the Potomac River, or renting a bike through the city; DC is the place for everyone and everything!
Now that I have had a real taste of working and being in DC, I can say without a doubt that I will be back there at some point in my life. I will always treasure this past summer, and highly recommend interning in DC during the summer. It is an experience that you will never forget!
Heather Brody is a Public Policy and Women & Gender Studies major with a minor in Spanish. She has a passion for human rights, specifically women’s rights, and expresses these passions on campus as Fair Trade Chair of International Justice Mission, Treasurer of Human Oppression Prevention Effort, and a Victim Advocate for Sexual Offense Support. She is also very active in the university’s Hillel. Heather is in the University of Delaware Honors Class of 2017 and uses her love of writing to contribute the the Honors Program through their blog, 186 South College. To read more of Heather’s blog posts, go to http://sites.udel.edu/honorsblog/category/heather-brody/