Study in USA: Washington, D.C.
by Way Yu
Choosing where to study |
San Francisco |
Los Angeles |
Texas : Austin |
Washington D.C. |
New York City
As the capitol of this country, Washington D.C. has all eyes upon it and it doesn't fail to impress. From its
historic monuments and stately government buildings to the restaurants and shops along the busy
streets, this is a city that breathes life and excitement.
Schools in the Area
Here's a well-known secret: D.C. is a great place to be as a student. Being in the nation's capitol certainly
has its advantages: With eleven universities and colleges in the area, not only do you have many top
institutions to choose from, but the international community fosters an unparalleled learning environment.
Oh, and the town nightlife is legendary too.
Most of the admired institutions in D.C.are private and have religious affiliations. (Surprisingly, there are
very few public universities in the area of note.)
Georgetown University, the most well-known in the area,
boasts of undergraduate and graduate programs that rival those of the New England Ivys. The emphasis
on liberal arts education coupled with an international focus has always been Georgetown's mission, and
it has worked well--the school is one of the best for students interested in world affairs. The reason is
simple: High-ranking national and international officials and analysts are drawn to the school because of
its worldwide reputation, and regularly visit the campus as guest lecturers. The Edmund A. Walsh School
of Foreign Service is specifically dedicated to cultivating students entering a career in international affairs.
Prospective MBA students may also wish to enroll in the McDonough School of Business, famed for its
focus on international business.
Students not interested in politics will be happy to find that Georgetown's other departments, ranging from
Theater to History, are also first-rate. Graduate programs equally strong are the Law Center, School of
Medicine, and School of Nursing and Health Sciences.
Other schools in the area include Howard University,
a historically Black college dedicated to preparing
leaders of colors in the international community; American University and
George Washington University,
both which emphasize public service and its students generally enter careers involving law, government
and international service; and the womens-only Trinity College.
Within an hour's drive are other top-notch colleges. Though not within the DC borders, student have
quick, easy access into the city. George Mason University
in Fairfax, Virginia is well-known for its
sprawling suburban campus reminiscent of the Virginia countryside. Originally a part of the University of
Virginia, it became an independent university in 1972. In Baltimore is
Johns Hopkins University, famed for
its medical school and hospital.
Students rarely complain about not having something to do. The city is full of restaurants, museums,
shops, movie theaters, book stores and more...you name it, it's here. Adams-Morgan is known for its
worldly feel, a remnant of when the African, Caribbean, and Latino communities made this neighborhood
their home in the '60s. Now, the four blocks are filled with ethnic eateries and shops of every kind.
Bohemian Dupont Circle is a haven for artists, poets and the like. The streets here are lined with art
galleries and sidewalk cafes. Over on Capitol Hill are the elegant (if stuffy) restaurants and upscale
boutiques frequented by the political crowd.
What would a town be without its nightlife? The city pulsates at night as people make their way to a black-
tie gala or a disco club. Especially worth checking out is the M Street strip near Georgetown, which offers
some of the best bar-hopping in the country. This legendary street is THE place for students to celebrate
their 21st birthday. Be sure to stop by Third Edition, which Playboy picked as one the top 5 college bars of
1999. For those under 21, many nightclubs have "College Nights" for the 18-and-over crowds.
When people talk about the Washington DC Metro area, they're referring not only to DC, but also to the
regions in neighboring Virginia and Maryland, like Fairfax (VA) and Baltimore (MD), both about an hour's
drive from DC proper.
Traffic was always bad but it's getting worse. Luckily, public transportation is inexpensive. You're better
off taking the Metro subway, which is clean, easily accessible, and cheap. If you bring your own car, know
that parking can be hazardous since ticketing and towing are strictly enforced. DC is also very walkable
and easy to navigate thanks in part to straightforward street names. Many streets are named after
numbers, letters of the alphabet, and states. Pretty soon you'll know exactly where the corner of K and
Perhaps the greatest feature of living in DC is that your neighbors will come and go often. A large portion
of the population is transient, settling in town for a few years and then leaving. New senators and
Congress members move in every two years, while each new presidency brings in a different set of
supporters and aides. Also throughout the year are college interns coming to do a few month shifts at a
DC has the enviable position of being neither too north or too south. There is snow, but rarely very much.
In fact, the city is so unaccustomed to snow that more than 2 inches of snow fall can warrant an official
Day Off. There is heat, but never the blistering temperature felt in the South. Here, humidity is more of the
problem. DC is at its best in the Spring, when the weather is mild and the cherry blossom trees bloom.
Enjoying the City
There are at least a hundred places to see in DC, most of which are concentrated around the National
Mall. Not surprisingly, many of these are tied to American history. However, don't be dismayed with the
prospect of having to learn about dead fuddy-duddies or viewing austere statues. It's a lot more awe-
inspiring than one might think. Inside the marble and limestone rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial, where
our third president's political and philosophical writings are etched into the walls, you'll be humbled. The
Lincoln Memorial, with its huge statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting on his chair, echoes the quiet strength
and dignity of this civil rights leader. The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial can be heart wrenching: engraved
in to the marble wall are the thousands of names of the men and women who died in the Vietnam War.
A less somber view of the nation's past can be seen in any of the national museums or galleries. The
Smithsonian Institute operates sixteen museums in the area, each worth a day's visit because of the
extensive, varied collections. Along the National Mall are thirteen, including National Museum of
American History, the National Portrait Gallery and even the National Zoo. The best thing is that all are
free to enter!
To see the inner workings of the government, stop by Capitol Hill. Here, the Senate and Congress meet
to discuss our nation's present conditions and plan for the future. If you contact your local congressman
or senator, you can easily get a VIP pass or gallery ticket and sit in during a session of congress. And of
course, there's the famed White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. Take the tour--it's both educational and
Theater lovers will be delighted by the Kennedy Center, which offers free performances every night. The
city's major arts organizations, such as the Washington Opera, National Symphony Orchestra, and
Washington Ballet, perform here regularly.
As for sports, there are plenty of teams to cheer on, including Washington Wizards (NBA), Washington
Mystics (WNBA), Washington Freedom (women's soccer) and Washington Capitols (NHL). Baseball fans
will have to root for the nearby Baltimore Orioles. Golfers will happily note the high number of golf courses
in the area since on the green is where many of the political decisions are made.
DC's more obscure attractions are located a bit farther out. The Potomac River offers biking and hiking
trails. Conspiracy buffs will want to tour the Pentagon, home to the FBI, in Arlington, Virginia. Amusement
parks with roller coaster rides, like Six Flags America and Busch Gardens, are outside DC city boundaries
but well within driving distance. There are also elegant homes to tour, Civil War forts to discover, and
historic churches to view. Additionally, an hour away in Maryland is Baltimore, a harbor city with its own
set of must-see spots.
With its focus on history and politics, Washington D.C. is an international city worthy of its fame and your