D.C. is THE place to be Past Review

By (Political Communication, Emerson College) - abroad from 08/29/2012 to 12/15/2012 with

Emerson College: Washington, D.C. - The Washington Center

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience in D.C. is something that I will never forget. I made an amazing connection with my roommates, and I know that I will remain friends with them for the rest of my life. Living with international students taught me invaluable lessons on culture, family, future goals -- and most importantly -- myself. I had an amazing internship that gave me both professional and academic experience. It was challenging, interesting, and extremely worthwhile. My supervisors were the best people to work for, and really cared about introducing me to the D.C. lifestyle. The program itself, The Washington Center, could have been improved. The weekly programming and civic engagement projects were not necessarily valuable to my overall experience. But with a few improvements, the program could go a long way. The academic course provided by Emerson College was a great way to stay connected with Emerson students and alumni.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The educational programming provided by The Washington Center was sometimes valuable, but never rigorous.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had awesome roommates and an overall amazing experience in The Washington Center living facility (the RAF).

* Food:

We provided all of our own food. It can be difficult to find time to cook, especially when you work a 9-5 and have other responsibilities. I recommend planning a couple of weekly meals with your roommates. It helps everyone out in terms of money and time, and can be a great bonding experience.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated in the local culture, but it was mostly self-initiated. I ventured out in D.C. with my roommates, and was able to see a lot that the city has to offer. The Washington Center doesn't provide very many opportunities to do this.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have a health related experience. However my roommate did, and the healthcare system seemed accessible and convenient.

* Safety:

The Washington Center provided us with helpful safety information during orientation. Since I have lived in a city for the past two years, it was somewhat redundant and common sense based. But it was certainly necessary.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

D.C. is a very expensive city, so it can be difficult to live on a student's budget. You have to take food, transportation, academic costs (books, portfolio, etc.), and recreation into consideration. I would generally make my own breakfast and dinner, and then buy lunch. This can get expensive pretty quickly (sandwiches range from $5-$10). The food prices at Harris Teeter are very expensive, so I would try venturing to Safeway as much as possible. The travel is definitely worth the amount of money you save. Although the city can be expensive, there are also a lot of free events going on. There are a ton of free museums -- many of which have ticket discounts on certain days of the week. There's free festivals, monuments, etc. Always something to do if you're low on cash.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100-$150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you take a cab, make sure you have a general idea of the direction/route to your destination (plug it into your smart phone). Share food with your roommates if and when possible -- it's definitely cheaper for everyone! Sign up for the DCist. It's a great resource for free events around D.C.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people I met and made lifelong connections with
  • My internship
  • Experiencing the rich, diverse, and exciting culture of D.C.
* What could be improved?
  • The Washington Center programming and networking opportunities
  • The Washington Center academic advising
  • The Emerson Academic Course
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Working a 9-5 isn't as scary as it seems!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.