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RC student does semester in Washington

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Katy Quinn Hurst

Special to the Brackety-Ack

There may come a time in Roanoke College student’s four-year stretch that they start to wonder what could be waiting for them beyond streets of Salem. When this happens, what are the options for students who want to experience something more? For many ambitious students, studying abroad throws them into a new place, a new culture, and many new and exciting experiences. Studying in a different country is definitely an adventure, but what about students who crave a new place and culture but want to stay a little closer to home?  Are there any options for them? These are the questions I found myself asking last spring.

As a Roanoke student, I have enjoyed many benefits of going to a small school. I love getting personal attention from my teachers, seeing people I know in every class and walking down the paths, and the sense of community and security at Roanoke. However, coming from a hometown just as quiet as Salem, I found myself craving a little more hustle and bustle. I stumbled upon the Lutheran College Washington Semester on the RC website and it seemed like a perfect solution: going to Washington D.C. to join a group of kids from twelve other small colleges living and working in an exciting city.

The “Washington Semester” is one of Roanoke’s hidden treasures I have come to discover. Public Affairs and Political Science majors are told about how the internships they can find in D.C. will help further their careers in law or politics, but students in other majors aren’t directly exposed to the opportunity. At first, I didn’t know if I would be allowed to participate in the semester being a psychology major, but that’s the beauty of it: any student in any major can go to D.C.! The staff at LCWS will help you to find an internship in any field that will count as two class credits! LCWS also offers night classes you can take to get credits without interfering with your internship schedule.

I take one night class, one independent study, and work at the Kennedy Center doing artistic administration for the Washington National Opera. My internship has already allowed me to get a feel for the working world, explore my interests – even beyond my major, and discover possible career paths (getting paid to do it isn’t bad either). Dr. Peppers, the advisor for the Washington Semester, the LCWS staff, my academic advisor, and several other psychology professors have really helped me to set myself up for success in D.C. without falling behind in my major. Even miles away, I’m not missing out on Roanoke’s personal touch.

So far D.C. has definitely been eventful, an earthquake and a hurricane started my new adventure off with a bang. I have already gotten to do and see so many cool things and I haven’t even been here a month. I would recommend coming to D.C. to anyone, in any major, or with any area of interest. I do miss being at Roanoke, but walking home from work through the shops at Georgetown, living in one of the ridiculously cushy LCWS apartments overlooking the city, going to film and music festivals, and exploring the nightlife have dulled the pain a little. To students considering participating in the Washington Semester I would say definitely don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Come to D.C., find and internship you will love, become a favorite with the LCWS staff by bringing them cupcakes from Georgetown, and this experience won’t let you down!