by Katherine Goldstuck (’23)
Coming up on our first month here in DC, it is safe to say that this has been the busiest and most enriching month of my Wake experience (and probably my life). When I was accepted into the Wake Washington program back in October, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, I just knew that this was a semester that I couldn’t pass up. Returning from a semester in Florence, Italy and diving headfirst into crazy DC life has been chaotic and overwhelming, but more importantly, incredibly fulfilling and exciting.
When I peered out the window on my flight into DCA and saw the sun setting over the snowy national mall, with Capitol Hill receding into the background, I immediately knew I had made the right decision. Before even touching the ground, I couldn’t wait to explore a new city and feel the DC buzz. After a month here, I can attest to the fact that the buzz is real. What I love most about DC is the feeling that you get walking around the city. Whether it be our Saturday museum visits (current highlights include the presidential portraits exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery and the massive chicken sculpture in the contemporary wing of the National Gallery), touring the Library of Congress with our very own Wake Forest alumnus Ryan Ramsey, or using cultural dollars to attend a Washington Capitals game, you can’t escape the rich and vibrant history in the DC air.
Although night classes can be grueling after a long day at work covering House and Senate committee hearings on every topic under the sun, taking a break from the daily craziness of domestic politics to think big picture can be incredibly refreshing. With so many domestic issues consuming the media every day, it’s both refreshing and eye-opening to not only be studying foreign policy, but also hear from alumni who have centered their careers around foreign service. In our first two weeks in Washington, we spoke with alumnus Ambassador Gilchrest who has spent his career as a diplomat, as well as hearing from three other Wake Forest alumni who shed light on their similarly impressive careers in foreign and civil service. As a group, we were grateful for the chance to hear their fascinating stories and receive their stellar advice. For me, every Friday event is the cherry on top of a week filled with learning about all corners of life, and that is one of the reasons why I am so grateful to be participating in a program as robust and fulfilling as Wake Washington.