I would recommend NYU DC students who are looking to work full time internships in politics, public policy, or related fields. This program is really great for connecting students with different individuals and organizations here in DC. The central location allows for easy access to the Hill, think tanks, and various other internships. If you hope to work in the government, this is a great site to gain experience and exposure. Similarly, if you’re hoping to work in public policy consulting or at a think tank, there are plenty of organizations here where you can get involved in that kind of work. I’ve found countless internships here that I’d love to take part in.
However, I would say that if you are not part of the Global Leadership Program, I would urge students to reconsider coming to this NYU site. The Global Leadership Scholars receive extra financial aid including a small stipend for unpaid internships. This extra financial aid allowed me to come to this study away site and it allowed me to take on an unpaid internship.
DC is extremely expensive. The housing at NYU DC actually costs almost the exact same as the NYU housing in New York. Thankfully, my scholarship covered the housing and left some for my food expenses. But without this aid, I would not have come to this site. I’ve found that there are more cheap food options in NYC and overall I think there are more free things to do in NYC. DC does have several free museums and obviously the National Mall, but I personally felt that NYC has more diverse options for fun and learning on the cheap.
If students do plan to come to NYU DC I have a few recommendations. First is to plan far in advance. Many internships begin accepting applications about 6 months before the internship begins. Sometimes they even begin accepting applications a year in advance. I’d also recommend coming to DC after you’ve already done at least one internship so that you are a better candidate for internships you apply for. You end up competing with students from Georgetown, American University, and George Washington University who likely have already completed a few internships and thus have better resumes. You also need to be prepared to send out many applications and not hear back. For my summer and fall semesters I applied for about 30 internships each round. I heard back from probably 2-5 each time around. With such a competitive applicant pool, it’s tough to find a good spot at an organization you care about.
Another recommendation would be to try to connect with as many people as possible, both personally and professionally. I recommend going to events that you’re interested in and speaking to people you meet there. There’s a lot of opportunities to attend happy hours or free events where people will gather around a specific theme. While I’ve met most of the people I know here from my internships or school, I wish I had had more time to attend different themed happy hours where I could have met more people in my field. Luckily, I’ll still have at least 2 years to meet likeminded people, but it would have been great to have enough free time to get to know more people here. I specifically recommend joining a DC Fray recreational sports team. I joined volleyball at the beginning of September and it’s been one of my favorite weekly activities.
In terms of places I recommend taking the time to visit: Los Hermanos, my favorite restaurant in DC, is at the top of this list. It’s affordable Dominican food which you can split into two meals. One of my favorite bars in DC is called Provision 14 and another good one is called The Pug. There are plenty of great places to eat, though most places are pretty expensive.