From the BVU Travel Blog

Diving into D.C.

(more than a year ago.)

My name is Elizabeth Heffernan and I’m a junior at Buena Vista University.  I’m double majoring in English and Political Science, I’m from Sioux City, Iowa and this semester I’ve been interning at a private law firm called Marzulla Law LLC in Washington D.C. I’ve been in D.C. now for a little more than a month and I can’t believe time has flown by so quickly!  Every weekend I’ve been out in the city and the surrounding areas, seeing all the monuments, museums, and even a chocolate festival (and it was just as good as it sounds). I’ve seen the White House, the Capitol, and I’m even going to tour the Supreme Court.

I have been blessed enough to travel a little before now.  I’ve visited England, France, and the Dominican Republic all through opportunities here at BV.  But I’ve never had the chance to stay somewhere like D.C. for an entire semester.  I wanted to test myself, to see what it would be like to be so far from home for an extended amount of time.

And to tell the truth, it’s a bit of a culture shock.  You wouldn’t expect that here in the United States I would have more of a culture shock in another state than I would in another country.  But the big city is so much different than back home.  The pace is faster, everyone is always busy, and there are so many things to do.  But it’s been so eye opening.  I never thought I could fit in in a big city.  Sometimes I still have those moments where I miss home but there are times when I realize that I am able to navigate the city by myself, and that is a great feeling.

I’ve never had an internship before and it’s a great experience.  It’s so much different than school, having to stay focused from 9-6 every day of the week.  People depend on you in a way that they don’t really do at school.  You’re being tested every day but you get to meet lots of new people, and the people at my internship have been so nice and fun to be around.  I’ve learned a lot about what I am capable of and what I can do when put to the test And the best part? No homework (at least, not much). When I get back at night I’m actually finished for the day and am able to watch a show or read a book before I go to bed and not have to worry about anything due for work the next day.

I never thought I would grow up this much in so little time.  I feel more comfortable with myself, more ready to face things I didn’t think I could face.  I’ve realized that I can learn on the job and that it is all right to make mistakes.  I’ve learned so much, not just through this experience but through all my travel.  At a seminar I went to here, one of the speakers said if you don’t do something because you’re scared of doing it, that’s not a good enough reason.  Even though I was nervous about being so far away and doing something completely new, I put myself out there.  And it was worth it.

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Learning happens in the classroom, but also off campus. During January Interim, Spring Break and the summer, our students travel the world. They write about their travel experiences in our travel blog.