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Summer Internships – An Insider's Guide to Washington, DC Internships

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A summer internship in Washington, DC is often a once in a lifetime opportunity for students to test-drive their careers and make important professional contacts. But what’s it really like? The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC), a nonprofit organization that helps students locate internships in government, business and non-profit organizations in Washington, DC, assisted us in connecting with several interns to create the following profiles. The students answer questions and describe their experience in their own words.

For general information and additional resources, read Washington, DC Internships – Interning on Capitol Hill.

Intern Profile Index - Listed by First Name and Workplace

Student Name: Dominic

School/Major: University of Ottawa / Université d’Ottawa – Political Science and Public Administration

Internship Placement: Ball Janik LLP – A lobby and government affairs firm

Duties: As an intern, I work primarily with the lobbyists at the firm to assist them with various projects related to their legislative work. I track the progress of bills and funding requests from the cities that the firm represents in DC. I also provide assistance to an organization called Transportation for America as they launch a grassroots campaign in order to help urge President Obama and Congress to create the world-leading, sustainable transportation system so desperately needed in the United-States. This is important because during the current session, Congress will likely pass the Transportation Authorization Act, which will set your country's transportation and infrastructure priorities — allocating hundreds of billions of dollars for projects that can shape communities for generations. Specifically, I attend Senate Committee hearings on transportation issues and report back on the testimonies that were given. I deliver letters to congressional offices and additionally I provide assistance during special events organized by the firm like fundraising events, which enable me to interact with American elected officials.

What did you like the most about interning in Washington, DC?

Everyday is a learning experience, when I first moved here I knew very little about the legislative process in the United-States and my goal was to observe it and learn about it as much as possible. This internship has definitely enabled me to do this above and beyond my initial expectations.

What did you like the least?

What I like the least is the weather. The crazy humidity levels, high temperature and unpredictability of the weather are hard to get accustomed to. Quebec City is much cooler and dryer this time of the year and the weather there is quite predictable, we basically get what Toronto had the day before.

Did your internship help you make future career plans?

Definitely, The Washington Center has provided many extracurricular activities that allowed me to meet and network with people that work at agencies for which I would like to work in the future.

What recreational activities did you participate in while in Washington?

I enjoy digital photography of landscapes and the beautiful sunny weekends we have had have been spent outdoors at local landmarks and monuments taking photographs and then processing them with High Density Range software to create works of art. I also look forward to seeing a few movies at the SilverDocs film festival. I have a few friends that will come visit during the summer and I plan to go visit some of the museums with them.

Where did you live?

I live in North Bethesda near the Grosvenor Metro stop.

How were the accommodations?

The building is really nice and has great amenities including an outdoor pool and a pub room! When I say real nice I mean it. But this neighborhood is not pedestrian friendly. I must take the metro for two stops to have access to a supermarket or a pharmacy. Considering I left my car in Canada and flew here, that is a bit of a drag…

Is there anything else that you would like to share about your experience?

This city is amazing, the people are great. It seems to me like a microcosm of the United-States, there are interns here from every States and I meet someone from a different State everyday. As your neighbor to the North, part of the experience for me in DC this summer is to meet and get to know who are these people that share the world’s longest border with our country.

Read more intern profiles on the following pages
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  5. Summer Internships – An Insider's Guide to Washington, DC Internships

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