What do you do when you get bored?
Oh you know, just walk to the National Mall.
. -Wave 🙂
Taking five college students and sending them across the country to live in D.C. for a summer, sounds like the beginning of a crazy MTV social experiment trailer. We are from different walks of life, venturing down many different paths, yet share the commonality of being driven and adventurous SMC students.
I did not anticipate the close bonds I would make during my time here in D.C. It has been so inspiring and motivating being around my peers, who are dedicated and hopeful for the future. We all have differing aspirations, but it has been so amazing to see and learn from our differences.
Paloma, Maguy, Marco, and Precious are key contributors in making my experience here in D.C. so memorable. I could not have picked a better group to travel across the country and survive rigorous internships with.
I not only have found friendships within the group I came here with, but also with my fellow interns in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education. Between the five OESE interns, we created a tight-knit support system. Every day we would joke through group chat, giggle in the intern cave, and eat lunch together.
Coming to D.C. has been an amazing experience, but sharing this experience with my peers is what has made it especially special.
Hey guys, it’s Precious here. Lately all of our posts on this blog have been about our exciting adventures here in D.C., but now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. That being, how to budget for your 2 months stay in D.C. First off I will tell you guys how I budgeted, and how that worked out for me.
When I first heard I was selected for the Dale Ride internship I was very exited. It would be the first time I would be staying in a state other than California. That meant a different weather environment, different culture, and a different way of living. Initially due to my naivety I thought the $2,000 scholarship I would receive from the Scholarship Foundation would be enough to sustain me for 2 months. But it was thanks to Wendi DeMorst, Sherri Bradford, Aurelia Rhymer, Janet Tercero, and Jaazer Webster who let me know that the $2,000 would only be able to cover things like transportation, food, and laundry. If I wanted to explore and spend money in D.C. I would have to start saving money on my own.
Aurelia really helped me a lot – being a previous Dale Ride intern she schooled me on what to expect when living in D.C. An important one being that the D.C. Metro tends to be expensive during the hours you will have to get to and from work. To expand on that, the D.C. Metro has this thing called “peak hours”. That means there are certain hours during the day where the Metro is expensive, and that is the case because of how many people use the Metro to travel to and from work. A typical internship will ask for their interns to work a 9 AM – 6 PM shift. These hours happen to be during the peak hours for the Metro, so you will find yourself paying about $3-$4 dollars for a one way trip. Another thing about the Metro that you should expect is that you pay however far you’ve travelled. The further the trip, the more you pay. This is very different from the bus system in California where you can pay $1.25 and travel as far as you please. I would suggest budgeting the cost of the D.C. Metro in your trip. One thing I bought when I was in California was a pre-paid SmarTrip metro card (a card you need to use in order to ride the metro) so that once I got to D.C. I did not have to spend money buying one and just refill the card when I need to.
As an intern in D.C. you are expected to wear business professional clothing. Some places like the Senate, where I work, expect you to wear business professional attire at all times unless we are in recess then you can wear business casual clothing. I know not many people have many business professional clothing, so I would suggest with every paycheck you get you use some money to buy an outfit. I would try my best to avoid waiting till the last minute to buy all of your clothes as it will be very expensive. If you cannot afford buying business professional attire, there is a Career Closet at SMC which can provide you with clothing that you can use while you are in D.C. Do not expect the Dale Ride program to provide you clothing. That responsibility lies on you.
I first want to start off by saying I am so grateful for the Dale Ride program for providing me with free housing. When I talked to my intern friends they told me about how they have to pay for their housing which sucks because we are not paid as interns in D.C. Thank you to the Alumni Relations office, The Scholarship Foundation,the donors, and the Dale Ride program for looking out for me and giving me a place to stay. With that being said, as an intern you will still need to provide the household items you need in order to survive here in D.C. The dorms/apartments come furnished but you will need to get your own pots and pans if you plan on cooking, bedding, and other bathroom items while you are here. When I arrived I went to target and purchased these items at a reasonable price. Be sure to prepare your budget around getting household items once you arrive to D.C. so that you can at the least cook yourself a good meal!
The scholarship you receive from the Dale Ride program will be able to help you buy groceries for your place, and even purchase a meal or two outside. I would suggest being reasonable with your money – do not constantly go out to restaurants to eat if you know you did not budget that into your trip. Try to purchase groceries so you can avoid doing that; there is a Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and CVS nearby so you can buy food and snacks. You will save a lot of money if you plan this way. For the most part I buy groceries and make my own food at home. Rarely do I ever spend money out to eat because it’s cheaper if I prepare my own food at home.
Anyway, these are some of the tips I have for you so you can budget your trip efficiently. A couple of unrelated tips I found out while being here is D.C. is is an early city. Expect most shops to be closed by 9 PM, 10 PM at the latest. On the escalators, especially at the metro stations, walk on the left side and stand on the right side of the escalator. Pack a lot of shorts, sunscreen, and bug spray as the humidity here is unbelievable.
That’s all for now. Until next time. Au revoir!
My internship thus far has been amazing, and has presented me with amazing experiences that I will cherish and never forget. Not only have I been able to meet many senators, I was also given the opportunity to take a tour of the White House!
Getting a tour of the White House was by far one of the best experiences I’ve had here in D.C. When you’re in the house it’s almost unbelievable to know that people live in this home. The tour was a self guided tour, so you were allowed to walk around on your own and ask the Secret Service guards information about the room you were currently in. I went with a couple of the interns in Senator Boxer’s office, and we had an amazing time.
I would suggest that if you want to get a tour of the White House you ask the office you get placed in to book you a tour, or you book them about 3 months in advance as the tours fill up very quickly and are highly sought after.
Here are some pictures I took while I was on my tour. Hope you enjoy them.
Until next time! Au revoir!
Senate Democratic Rural Summit: Fostering the Next Generation of Rural America
Hosted by Senate Democrats
June 29, 2016
The Senate Democratic Rural Summit was a half day event that focused on the importance of a thriving rural America, for the nation’s economy. The summit was held in Dirksen Senate Office and chaired by Senators Mark Begich, from Arkansas, and Mark Pryor, from Arizona. The summit featured Democratic senators, business owners, farmers, and other interested parties in rural America. The rationale for convening the SEnate Democratic Rural Summit was to engage various stakeholders (i.e., Margaret May Health, Casey Institute, InterBel Telephone Cooperative, Celestial Roots Far, Rios Farming Company, and Worfarm Institute) in a conversation about new collaborations in revitalizing rural America and discuss best practices in utilizing existing programs and policies (i.e., Rural Business Development Grants program, Rural Energy for America program, FAST Act, and Rural Education Achievement Program).
Economic Challenges and Solutions in Rural America, was the first panel disussion topic. Panel 1 was moderated by Senator Donnelly, Rural Summit Co-Chair, and Doug O’Brian, Executive Director, White House Rural Council. Lead Participant, Senator Manchin, Co-Chair, Senate Prescription Drug Abuse Caucus. Below are discussion points of Panel 1:
The topic was investment opportunities in rural America. Panel 2 was moderated by Senator Heitkamp, Rural Outreach Chair, and Senator Tester, Member, Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. The lead participant was Lisa Mensah, Under Secretary of Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture. The main focuses of Panel 2 are stated below:
It was amazing to learn about the importance rural communities have on the nation’s economy. Working for the Rural Education Achievement Program, it is beneficial to learn about the challenges the communities we serve face. In cause of this, as a team, we are able to better serve the school districts in rural communities. The summit also enphasised the importance education has on rural communities. Not only are school districts the heart of rural communities, it as well fosters the youth who grow up there. The youths in rural communities are the future of that community. With a strong educational foundation these youths will assist in making the rural community thrieve.
Paloma Vasari Blog Post:
Dale Ride Intern
….Ok let’s see, I’ve got everything with me and I’m starving.
As I walk off the plane I see Wave ahead of me her hand signaling ‘this way’. For a minute there I found myself in a Bugs Bunny Cartoon-something like a scene from Wackiki Wabbit the point in which Bugs Bunny is trapped on a desert Island. I begin to imagine my companion as a juicy rotisserie chicken on a spit…Waves arm a lovely golden chicken wing.. urhmm..but I digress.
You’ll be happy to know Wave is alive and well and having a fabulous time at the Department of Education (its the first time I discuss this publicly-quite soothing).
Just a few minutes into my arrival in Washington DC-home of The Lincoln Memorial, The Washington Monument… I spot an American Institution: A Cheeseburger Joint! I literally felt my stomach smile. Wave and I sat down for a couple of cheeseburgers, fries and fresh squeezed lemonade!
Yikes! $35.00! Each! + the $60 bucks for luggage we didn’t expect, + the cab ride? $#*@! I suppose we could have shared our burger…we are splitting the cab ride about $30 greenbacks.
$110 lighter we head for George Washington University in the Foggy Bottom section of the city. As our cab drives through tree lined streets I recall the beautiful intersections I had photocopied to my mind.
Students in flip flops, backpacks around their shoulders, dressed in Polo-all making their way into Whole Foods Market…wow, Whole Foods, the only grocery store I spot in the neighborhood.
Hmm..If we shop here it will be whole scholarship instead of paycheck. No worries, I have my maps with me and I already identified parts of the city where I can find a Safeway, Trader Joe’s and local ethnic markets found in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood off 16th street. The community has welcomed refugees for years diversity of population and prices. Plenty of mom and pop stores with affordable prices.
There is Independence Ave! ‘If the cabbie knows what he is doing..he will take Constitution Ave, circle around the monument, hit Pennsylvania Ave and turn on H and 22nd street to Amsterdam Hall-our destination’ my mind flashed.
Sure enough onto Constitution and there before me stood this Beauty! Passing it, I caught Wave, a broad smile and countless possibilities zigzagging across her eyes, as we looked on together.
Dale Ride Intern
Have you ever felt small? Have you ever considered your achievements minor compared to others? Have you felt like your story, no matter how impressive or interesting was not enough? Do you see perfection as average and average as mediocre? If you answered “yes” to all those questions, you and I should certainly get acquainted. HI, MY NAME IS MAGUY AND I’M A PERFECTIONIST. I’m a perfectionist and being second or third is never an option for me. If you are just like me and you have questioned your whole existence because you have not accomplished much in your life while Mozart composed his first melody at 4 and Mary Shelley created modern science-fiction at 18 with her masterpiece, Frankenstein, then here is a guide on how to survive your Washington DC internship.
First of all, get ready to learn… A LOT. Dear future Dale Ride intern, here’s a scoop for you: you are Jon Snow now. This means one thing “You know nothing!” (And yes, there will be more Game of Thrones references in my future posts) Granted, you might not actually be completely uninformed about your new environment but I want you to start with an open mind. Your constant pursue of perfection might have led you to several leadership positions and you might be used to guiding rather than following but you need to change your mindset. I understand that the need to impress people by your knowledge and your experience is part of your nature now but never underestimate the power of a good pupil. I believe a good listener to be more effective than a blind doer. Do not be afraid to sit and learn. You might not shine as much as the other interns at first but you’ll impress by your abilities to efficiently execute orders.
Secondly, be ready to be impressed! As I recently started to say, Dale Ride is like a box of chocolate, you never know what internship you’re gonna get (yes, I do movie quotes too). As a future Dale Ride intern, you will have the opportunity to meet government officials, ambassadors, representatives and senators. You will meet important public figures and you might have the opportunity to interact with them. You will find out soon enough that DC offers some of the most powerful networking events in the country. You might feel small and intimidated but remember this, YOU ARE JUST AN INTERN. This is your first step in the real world. You might not be as impressive as some of the figures you will meet but you are at the right place right now. Give yourself some time and stop being too hard on yourself. Don’t feel small and don’t be afraid to take initiatives. Speak up! Let your voice be heard loud and clear! Make connections! Go meet people! This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you should try to get the most out of it.
Finally, don’t forget to have fun! The historic capital of the US offers a well-rounded experience to its visitors. Between conferences, congressional hearings, museums and historic landmarks, there will always be an activity to entertain your days. You might be missing the beautiful Californian beaches but seeing the white house and kayaking in the Potomac will certainly make up for it. Take advantage of your new home. Many wanted your place but lacked the uniqueness that guaranteed you said place. Never forget that. Don’t let DC’s summer heat ruin your experience. Dear future intern, be bold, be brave and be patient. I leave you now to your internship. Make SMC proud and may the Force be with you! (ok, last movie quote, promised)
Representative Marco Antonio Enriquez. I really like the sound of that. Wait a moment… Senator Marco Antonio Enriquez sounds much better! Honestly, I never imagined myself being a congressman, but when my mentor/supervisor, who is the policy advisor for Central America, Oxfam America, took me to the Hill, the image finally popped in my head. My mentor had meetings all day with the legal assistants of member’s part of the Central America Caucus, and discuss the current events in the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador). Upon entering the first representative’s office, I had a beautiful view of the Capitol, and it finally hit me; I can become a congressman and make a positive difference for the world. This will forever be a memory I won’t forget.
Until next time, Marco
As a Dale Ride intern, I was placed at the Corporate Council on Africa. The CCA is a trade organization whose purpose is to promote investment and business in Africa. The organization tries to strengthen Us-Africa business relationships and to make what was once seen as “the dark continent”, the new number one business destination for entrepreneurs.
When I first heard that I would be interning for the CCA, I immediately called my parents to share the good news. I was both excited and nervous at the perspective to work with people with the same professional goal: helping lift Africa out of economic darkness. I would have the opportunity to assist real agents of change and maybe become one myself. The first thought that came to my mind was “finally!” The word haunted my brain for the next hour: “Yes, Finally, I would bring change, finally!” I was full of joy and I could not wait to get on the next plane to Washington. I left with my heart full of joy and my mind ready to move the world.
I never saw this internship as just another summer hobby. It was my first step to help change Africa. I never knew how I would do it but I hoped to learn with the CCA. Learning is exactly what my first week at CCA was about. I first learned that I needed to learn more. Being one of the five Dale Ride interns created a growing feeling of superiority in me. I assumed my knowledge of the world to be vast enough to make me shine everywhere. I quickly learned how wrong I was about that. I needed to learn and learning is what I did. The first week was intense. I was immediately assigned tasks I was not completely ready for. I joined the Events and Marketing team and I had to get familiarized with months worth of documents. I had to learn a whole new work jargon and catch up with the people who have been working on the same projects for years. My supervisor, Carla Battle remained patient with me through my mistakes and my learning process. The CCA staff was always helpful and closely assisted me. I soon realized that interning for the CCA would not be easy and I was ready for the challenge.
I was aware of the fact that my internship at CCA would be interesting but I never realized how prestigious it would also be. On my first day, I met the minister of finance of Senegal and the minister of Economy of Mauritius. What seemed to be an extraordinary event for me was just another regular day at CCA. Ministers and ambassadors came every day and I had the opportunity to interact with them. What I first saw as intimidating and, frankly, scary, soon became part of my routine at CCA. Yes, meeting a prime minister became part of my routine. That simple fact still feels a little surreal. I had the opportunity of meeting more ambassadors and ministers than I can remember and I interacted with some of my role models. They taught me valuable lessons about change, work ethic and perseverance. The most valuable asset that CCA interns have is to learn closely from important public authorities and get accustomed to interact with them.
I am really satisfied with my internship thus far and I am looking forward to learning more with the Corporate Council on Africa. I know now that becoming an agent of change does not happen overnight and it requires hard work and dedication. It’s still the beginning of my journey in the international scene and I am lucky enough to learn from the best.