Getting to Know a Different Side of D.C.

Posted on Saturday, Oct 07, 2017

Here’s a fun fact about me: My first trip to Washington, D.C. was when I was in the 8th grade. My fellow middle school peers and I visited museums, saw memorials, and got to walk inside George Washington’s home, all under the close supervision of our teachers, of course. My second trip to Washington, D.C. was four years later, during my senior year of high school. During this trip, we were split into groups of five or six and were given the opportunity to plan the trip amongst ourselves. It was this year where I experienced some of the best Chinese food I’ve ever had (pro tip: Chinatown Express has the BEST noodles). Now, another four years later, I’ve returned yet again to D.C., a college graduate and in the process of finding a job. It’s almost a little coincidental to think about how many times I’ve been fortunate enough to visit D.C., and how each time I’ve been given more and more freedom to experience the city in different ways. Knowing that I have four months to explore and experience D.C. is incredibly exciting, and I’ve decided to stay away from the tourist traps (at least after my first week) and see what it’s really like to live in the capitol of the United States.
I’ve only spent about three weeks in D.C. as of right now, but during my time here I have been fortunate enough to explore and get a feel for what the culture of this city is like. My friends and family would tell you that music is very important to me, and when I learned that I would be interning in D.C. for four months I made sure to check out what the music scene was like. Spending four years in College Station, where the closest city was either Houston or Austin was a struggle for someone who enjoys going to concerts that don’t involve country music. As I scrolled through concert and show listings I could feel my heart race; I was going to be in a city that had actual bands and artists! I wouldn’t have to drive two hours to see a show! Before I arrived in D.C I proceeded to buy tickets for a Washed Out concert, and just a few days ago I decided to buy last minute tickets for Japanese Breakfast. Obviously attending concerts costs money (a sad fact of life), but I’ve made it a plan to attend as many shows as I can during my time here. If you enjoy music, I highly recommend checking out D.C.’s music scene. It does not disappoint.                      
Another aspect of D.C. culture that I have experienced is the food. D.C. is a city that has a variety of cultures, and therefore, has a variety of foods. Just walking outside my internship’s office I’m surrounded by restaurants that serve a variety of foods from all over the world. Ramen, tapas, burgers, Chinese food, Thai food, Greek food, vegan food, Mexican food, pizza, Mediterranean food, Indian food, crab, Peruvian food, the list goes on and on. While I bring my lunch to work almost every day, I treat myself once a week to a special lunch outing. It’s always easy to stick to foods that are familiar, but given the amount of diversity that D.C. has when it comes to food, it’d be a shame to never try something totally different.
While my time in D.C. has just begun, I can hardly even imagine all the things I will be able to see and experience during my time here. If you’re thinking about applying for PPIP, even if it’s in another city, it won’t ever be a bad idea. Not only will you gain experience working a city like Washington, D.C., but you’ll also get to work with individuals who are striving to make the world a better place. I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to intern in D.C. and am excited about the months to come.

Talia Chavez
American Public Human Services Association
Washington, D.C. | fall 2017

Japanese Breakfast playing at the Black Cat

Washed Out playing at the 9:30 Club