I recently went on a weeklong trip to Washington, DC, where I found an exciting city filled with amazing opportunities for high school and college students. No matter what your interests may be, the nation’s capital can serve as a great launching pad for the rest of your educational and professional careers.
If you think you might be interested in politics, you can apply for an internship on what’s known as “the Hill,” where the Capitol building is located. Many students apply to work with their representatives or senators, and most applications can be found on their websites. Interns complete a variety of jobs, from giving tours of the Capitol to speaking with constituents to drafting memos. Working as a Capitol intern is a great way to network and see if you’re interested in public service. If you are of a different political party than your representative and would prefer to work with someone else, you can apply with them too. Most senators and representatives give priority to students from their states, but applications are typically open to everyone.
The White House
If you want to get closer to the center of the political world, the White House also offers an internship program. You can work directly with senior officials in 20 different departments, which are all outlined on the White House website. Students have the opportunity to meet United States leaders, go to meetings, write memos, and even do research.
There are also internships for students interested in areas beyond public service through the Smithsonian Institute. There are tons of museums located in DC that are run by the Smithsonian, so there are plenty of internship opportunities for everyone, whether you’re interested in African American history, art, or astrophysics. If you look up “Smithsonian internships,” you will be taken to a page that shows all the internships available across the entire Smithsonian system.
Library of Congress
If you would like to do research or are a library fan, the Library of Congress internships might be right for you. You can intern in various programs, from business to archaeology. There are also research and fellowship positions open, and you may even get to use the Main Reading Room, which houses 70,000 books.
The Supreme Court
For those of you interested in going into law, you can intern at the Supreme Court. There are various programs that you can apply to, from working with the Justices directly to learning about the role of the Clerk. Students can also find internships at the Department of Justice.
Many of the programs listed above are only available to college students, but if you’re a high school junior and want to get involved in your government, you can apply to be a Senate page. You’ll work directly with senators and other leaders to deliver messages and generally assist senators. Senate pages are allowed to sit in on Senate sessions, so they can witness democracy in action.
Around the city
Finally, there are many opportunities for internships outside of the ones listed above! I only skimmed the surface of the opportunities available, but a quick Google search can give you an even better idea of exactly what positions are open so you can find what is right for you. Because DC is such a huge city and attracts so many companies and people, there are more than enough internships for you to apply to. If you want to be adventurous and do something outside the box, you can even become a Segway tour guide! (I learned this is a popular summer job for college students while I was there.)
Washington, DC, is just a great place to visit in general. You’ll never be bored, whether you are walking along the National Mall, visiting memorials, or going to museums (for free!). So if you do decide to get an internship in DC, you’ll have the time of your life! I wish you the best of luck in your internship search.
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