Student Journeys

Exploring the heart of America: My journey in Washington DC

Washington D.C., the political epicentre of the United States, is a city teeming with history, culture, and opportunities. As a Politics and International Relations student, my recent participation in the Working Cultures program in Washington DC was a transformative experience that gave me a unique window into policy-making and cultural heritage. In this blog, I will share the highlights of my journey, the remarkable professionals I met, and the invaluable lessons that have shaped my personal and career development.

Day 1: A glimpse into government affairs

On our first day, we had the privilege of meeting Sarah K. Hudson, a seasoned professional in government affairs, international policy, and political strategy. Her career journey, from a congressional intern to her current role as a FedEx government and regulatory affairs manager, was a testament to the power of hard work and adaptability. It was a lesson in the diverse career paths one can take within politics.

Day 2: Navigating National Security Policy

The second day introduced us to Noor Hasan, an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company, specialising in national security policy. Hearing about his challenges and triumphs on his journey was inspiring and eye-opening. Our visit to iconic sites like the White House and a sightseeing sunset cruise further enriched our understanding of US politics and culture.

Day 3: From Financial Planning to Environmental Justice

The third day broadened our horizons with encounters with professionals like C. Lorenzo Evans III, an expert in financial planning, and Emily Kroloff, a Program Analyst at the US Environmental Protection Agency. Their financial literacy and environmental justice expertise highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of global challenges, enriching my perspective on the potential intersections between politics and other fields.

Day 4: A Glimpse into African-American History

The fourth day was a profound visit to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, the only national museum devoted to documenting African-American life, history, and culture. The emotional tour and the following panel session reinforced the importance of acknowledging historical injustices and fostering dialogue and empathy, particularly in international relations.

Meeting a journalist at the alumni Event

One of the program’s most memorable moments occurred during the alumni event, where I had the honour of meeting Trung Nyguyen. Our shared passion for discussing human rights sparked a profound conversation. Trung’s journey was one of the most inspiring stories I have heard. His advice to always follow your passion and stay confident, even in the face of difficulties, resonated deeply within me. This encounter further strengthened my commitment to a career in diplomacy, particularly in advocating in human rights, and highlighted the power of shared experiences and stories in shaping one’s path.

My journey in Washington DC has enriched my employability and reinforced the importance of diversity, inclusion, and cultural sensitivity in today’s globalized world. I plan to build on this experience by continuing to network with professionals I met and using these insights to inform my academic pursuits. Washington D.C. has not only deepened my understanding of

politics and diplomacy but has also ignited a passion for making a positive impact on a global scale. It’s a city that embodies the dynamic, ever-evolving nature of international relations, and I can’t wait to see where this journey leads me next.

Saba Malik

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