Going into Penn in Washington (PIW), I had my doubts. 

I kept getting told D.C. was an expensive place to live and while I knew that going into the program, it didn’t help how many people emphasized that point. 

As a FGLI student, cost is always at the back of my mind. But while those were my initial impressions of going to D.C., I now know the tips and tricks on how to navigate a busy, exciting city that’s more than the policy that gets made (don’t get me wrong that’s important too). 

This series introduces the PIW FGLI Orientation Guide – a document made by FGLI students for FGLI students in order to thrive in the District of Columbia. We will break down the guide into parts and let you submit your questions for a panel that will be held in March! 

So that being said – should I have done PIW? Well, honestly, yes. It showed me that while most of what is advertised is the political, which you’ll find plenty of, there are also the interactions between the private and public sector – meaning you don’t have to be a political science buff to participate (I certainly am not). It taught me the nuances of the industries found within D.C. but also saw how many seemingly unrelated fields can become political careers (for example, a creative writer who became Michelle Obama’s speechwriter). 

In terms of costs, PIW seemed even more accessible than a normal semester. Most of our basic necessities are covered and while financial aid varies on a case-by-case basis, most of us were pretty impressed with how our cookie crumbled (if you catch my flow). 

While this is only a short introduction to a larger project – please we want to hear from you and your concerns! Stay tuned weekly to hear more about the ins and outs of D.C. where next week I’ll talk about a big one – internships! See you soon!