Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Summer in Washington, D.C.

Politics, journalism and shopping. My three favorite things. Fortunately, I spent a month of my summer in D.C. and got to experience all three in the best way possible.
From July 1- July 14, I stayed on campus at American University and drowned myself in the world of journalism and communications. I took 2 courses: Professional News writing and Advanced Video Production.
In my news writing class, we were taught by a former writer for USA Today and even got to take a field trip to the HQ in Virginia to see the process of creating a newspaper.
In my video production class, myself and 8 other students created separate documentaries for the Smithsonian Museum on the Big Bang. While doing so, I interviewed an astrophysicist from NASA.
Besides from just work, I was able to meet friends that shared the same interests as I did. We got to go to the Eastern Market to shop for handmade jewelry and crafts and got to experience different cultures through food and local music festivals.
After the journalism program, I spent the other 2 weeks at George Washington University, taking part in a community service and politics based program through BBYO, a jewish youth group.
The first day of our program, we went out to a local park and spoke to homeless people and shared some items with them, such as socks. Hearing their stories was enlightening and definitely changed the perspective we took toward homelessness. One of the most interesting things we learned was that even if you don't have any spare change, just a smile or a greeting can brighten up anyones day.
Another aspect of the program was working at a service site. My service sight was called Bright Beginnings, which is a free daycare center for homeless children. The children were not only happy and cheerful, but they were kind and innocent- just like any other child you may meet.
The next part of the program was lobbying our senators. The group of Florida kids, about 10 of us, went to meet with Senator Marco Rubio's Legislative Correspondent. I chose to speak about the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, which ended up being dropped in Congress the following day.

Overall, my summer in D.C. encompassed my favorite things. I was able to learn a lot about homelessness, journalism, poverty, politics, culture and especially myself- as I was able to meet new people and share new experiences.