Mi Experiencia at Partners of the Americas

During the next 10 weeks, I will be interning with Partners of the Americas in Washington, DC.

Entry #6: 8 FREE Things to do in Washington, DC

1. Walk through the Washington Mall and see the countless museums and monuments from afar. I don’t mean going in and seeing these beautiful exhibits, rather the national mall is a park on the South West end of the city, and it is a great tourist attraction with bike lanes, walkable terrain, and photogenic areas galore.

2. Actually GO to all of the free monuments and museums. I personally went to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Building Museum (this one cost money, but my office took us for a free trip), and many other just national treasures that people who live in DC take for granted.

3. Explore American University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, or any other university campus in DC. They all are beautiful in their own ways, and especially for a college student, go for a tour of these places to get yourself acquainted with other academic institutions.

4. GO TO THE ZOO. Yes, the National Zoo in Washington is FREE. You can go see all the animals you like and learn as much as you want with the captions and scientific studies. I went and saw the cutest Panda bear and I do not regret this day trip one bit.

5. Attempt to email and meet with your local representatives in Washington. I had the opportunity to tour the capital building and the library of congress by emailing and scheduling a meeting with my congressman and it was approved!

6. During the months of June and July, most metropolitan areas in the United States have a PRIDE parade for LGBT persons and allies. I highly recommend (if you are LGBT or an ally) everyone to attend the events circled around PRIDE. I went to the free parade and walked out with hundreds of free multi-colored beads, a cowboy hat given to me by a fierce drag queen, and plenty of coupons for local DC businesses INCLUDING a free meal from Chipotle.

7. Drive/bike/walk/jog down Embassy Row and be in awe of all the beautiful architecture surrounding our world’s ambassadors. Honestly, they are some of the most eloquent looking buildings in all of DC, so I highly recommend them. The United Kingdom and Russia have very large embassies that are equally as beautiful.

8. Lose yourself in a bookstore in Dupont Circle. There are dozens around the area and you will be able to find any book to fit your liking and relax in one of the lounge areas of the store.

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Entry #5: Becoming Accustomed to Living in D.C.

During the beginning of my internship, I was so ignorant of how to use the public transportation system efficiently, the bus routes, the metrorail, etc., but now I am completely comfortable going anywhere and everywhere in the city! This extends to the point that many people, who more often than not are tourists, began to ask me how to get around downtown! Of course I wasn’t the most qualified to help them, but I still knew enough to get them to find where they were going! It’s a great feeling knowing that within a month, one can become more comfortable getting around public transportation and local lingo. 

I realized this as my friends and family came to visit me during my internship. My roommate for the next year, Adam, came down for a weekend and I was fully capable of showing him around and taking him through the touristy DC spots. 10304697_755725481117552_8069754322736986892_n

This is us using the metrorail going to the capitol building! 

Later on, my sister came down for a week. I showed her around my office building, let her meet my bosses and the organization’s CEO, and introduced her to all new types of food. We first went to a Mediterranean food truck that offered meat kabobs with salads with foreign dressings and vegetables. 

I have also become so accustomed with the geography of the city, that if someone were to come and visit and ask me for a specific craving of food or type of environment they would like to see, I could show them there. For example, if you’re looking for the best central and south american cuisine, you go to Columbia Heights metro and walk three blocks to the Latino community. Everyone on the street has their signs in Spanish, so it’s easy to notice that you’ve arrived. If you’re looking for Indian or Thai, there are fantastic places downtown with trucks or actual restaurants between K and M. These are from personal experiences and just something interesting that I will be able to share with people who want to come down to DC. 

Most of my coworkers at my internship have also helped me by telling me exactly where to go to find certain things. For example, if I want to go and tour the monuments, more than likely they will know the best times and which ones are most interesting to go and see. I hope to tell other interns the best places to eat, relax, and tour down here in DC!

Thank you again for reading! 🙂

Entry #4: Community Based Project

Like I stated before, we were asked to create and form a community-based project proposal. With approximately $8-10,000, we were asked to come up with an idea that would benefit our own community in one way or another. With this guideline in mind, there was not much capital with which to work. I study Mathematics, but I am also interested in biology and public health, and after my internship here in DC, I will be a student researcher for the Biology Department under the supervision of Dr. Regina Lamendella. My interest in biology and public health especially, is the study of epidemiology, or the way society reacts or attempts to be proactive in lieu of an incoming disease or epidemic. Bringing this back to my project, I plan to have the funds used directly for marketing campaigns from the college to all students and personnel on campus to be more aware of health related issues. For example, I will attempt to put up more fliers in public restrooms regarding the necessity of simply washing your hands, the hazards of wearing inappropriate clothing for specific weather (flip flops in the snow, T-shirts during the winter, etc.), handing out more condoms to Resident Assistants or other student leaders on campus to make sure that if a student wishes to have sex, they have the right form of protection against diseases and pregnancies; this also includes the importance of condom use with an increased awareness in the heterosexual and LGBTQ communities. If there is still funding left after these concerns, I would also like to hold a training for all student leaders who work directly with first year students (i.e. CWS Lab Leaders, Resident Assistants, Lab Assistants and TA’s, etc.), and educate them on how to promote healthy behaviors from the first day a new student arrives on campus.
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More pictures of the Fellows and the Staff during the Congress!!

This is an example of the information that will be going into my completed community-based project proposal that is due on Monday! We are also assigned to create a budget plan with plenty of research showing a necessity for this specific project. Most of the other interns plan on doing something related to Latin American affairs, but because I feel that my personal community at Juniata could also benefit from additional funding, I decided to promote them. Eventually, they will choose the best two proposals from the group, and ask them to present them in Brazil at the 50th Anniversary convention of the organization. Once there, the winning proposal will receive the total amount budgeted in the financial plan section. So, EVENTUALLY, this proposal could be implemented if I promote it well enough!! 🙂

Thank you again for reading!

Entry #3: Leadership Seminars Pt. 1

A component of my internship I have not touched on yet in my blog is the biweekly leadership seminars that we have to attend with the CEO of Partners. We are assigned two pieces of literature, one on servant leadership and the other on social epidemics. Our first seminar was the Monday after the Congress! It started at noon and soon became a “brown bag lunch” (a phrase we call in the office, a seminar or presentation in which you bring a prepared lunch and eat while listening). Our CEO, Steve Vetter, is quite the charismatic, enthusiastic, and all-around personable leader. He always has a story for everything and could give you an author to read by simply learning what one of your hobbies is. These seminars are for us to enrich our leadership skills and for us to grow as a leader in our respective communities. To begin this challenging journey, Steve made us complete an online evaluation of our leadership style through the DiSC assessment. The four categories stand for dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. After about 80 or so questions, we were all assigned a role and told to read up on what it means for us. I was given the iD identification, which means that I am a social, dominant leader who likes to be the head of the group. In an office setting, I will go around and ask how everyone’s day is going and how I could help to make it better. I will go around asking how everyone’s kids/pets/social lives are doing instead of only discussing work and professional material. During Steve’s lunch, he discussed the assessment more and we all felt that the identities were very appropriate for our respective learning and leadership styles. After discussing this aspect of our meeting, we touched on the first four chapters of the servant leadership book. These chapters included describing what a servant leader was, how we can identify servant leaders through their actions, and many stories of these servant leaders in action. Steve then commented that most CEOs are servant leaders and that we need to become them as they are the future of community service and how we can better our world socially, economically, politically, and just in general. On my next post, I will continue to discuss these seminars AND I will introduce the community-based project that we have to complete and compete with the other interns for the opportunity to be in BRAZIL for an entire week!! Thank you!!

Entry #2: Legislative Fellows Program

Previously, I had introduced my internship on this blog, but now I want to further explain more of what I’ll be doing for the next ten weeks in DC! The second week that I was here, I was assigned to be accompanying the Fellows, which are basically professionals in the workforce who decided to do a temporary exchange to enrich their skills and experience what the United States has to offer. I work with the Legislative Fellows, so most of the fellows I worked with were somehow involved with legal affairs or the government. After they had all conducted their fellowships, they united in Washington to attend our Debriefing session and the Professional Fellows Congress. The two programs were completed over the duration of five days or from Monday to Friday and I was in the office from 8 until 6 or 7 every day. We toured the Organization of American States, the Department of State, our organization, Partners of the Americas, and had plenty of informative presentations on different legal institutions in the United States and abroad. For example, I witnessed a presentation of conflict resolution. This presenter split the audience into four different groups with each group consisting of people from different countries to allow a more diverse conversation. I sat at a table with a woman from Zambia, a woman from Thailand, and a man from Sri Lanka. We all discussed issues ranging from political, environmental, social, and economic problems. The foreign countries had a greater similarity of corruption among their problems in government, and in the United States, we discussed bipartisan problems. After, we were given a reception with beautiful food and plenty of seating, but each table was formed among each specific country. I sat at the South African table and had the opportunity to meet those fellows and their respective diplomats! It was an enriching experience, as I knew nothing or mostly superficial information about the country. All in all, I got to meet the fellows that I was working for, other fellows who were quite interesting, and I got to meet a number of important international figureheads! And this is just week two!! Image

Entry #1: Arriving to DC

Although I had an entire year in high school of exchange, I believe a summer internship away from my family has allowed me to ponder my newfound adulthood. Moving in to my new apartment, completely furnished from my employer, put my mind and body in position to continue on the “growing up” track. I did not have work for the next few days, which allowed me to tour the area where I was residing, Silver Spring, Maryland. Neither of my two roommates were not arriving for another day or two, so I had the opportunity to tour DC and Silver Spring for the day. I went down to the National Mall, the Washington Monument, and walked around Georgetown, Arlington, and parts of Bethesda. You could say that I love to travel and “conocer” (to get to know) a new city. Upon arriving to my apartment, my direct supervisor, Sherrita, came to my apartment complex and we chatted briefly about the internship. Although orientation was not for another couple of days, it was enlightening to learn more about the NGO, Partners of the Americas, and the work I would be performing over the following weeks. I had learned that I will be working with the Legislative Fellows Program as their President’s Intern. My job consists of completing logistics for the arrangements of our Professional Fellows as they complete their fellowships within the United States and the rest of the Americas. Within the following days, my roommates arrived and we begun to explore the city together, although one of my roommates, Enrique, had previously spent a semester in DC working with the Mexican government. The other, Carlos, and I had never spent longer than a weekend in the capital, so this city was uncharted territory. We all speak Spanish from our travels abroad and our lives at home. That’s all for now, but tomorrow I’ll go further into my first week and the whirlwind of work I was thrown! Thank you for reading!The Legislative Fellows Program

This collage was created during our Professional Fellows Congress, which I will discuss on my next post!