Throughout the semester, you will have the opportunity to hear from NYU Washington, DC, alumni to gain their firsthand insight and tips.
Today, meet Arielle, who studied in DC in Fall 2015 and Spring 2016.
Major: Urban Studies
What is your favorite memory about your time abroad? My favorite memory isn’t necessarily a single moment, but rather a collection of memories. Because the National Mall was so close to NYU’s building, I took a lot of walks to the monuments – with new friends during Welcome Week, alone just to clear my head, and again with close friends as the semester went along. Every time I ended up at the Lincoln or Washington Memorial, I was always hit with the amazement of being in DC.
What was the most interesting course you took and why? While studying in DC, I took a course called “Poetics and Politics: Museums in Washington DC”. It was taught by a curator at the Phillips Collection, a Modern Art Museum in DC. Every week, we went to a different (mostly Smithsonian) museum and talked about art, the display of exhibits, and the politics behind the different museums in the city. Most of the classes were lead by curators and docents from the respective museums, so we really got an insider’s perspective. I was a great way to explore a subject I was interested in but might not have taken a course in otherwise, and I got to explore the city as part of my coursework.
What two things do you wish you had packed? Basic food supplies! If you’re traveling within the US and have the ability to bring spices and basic pantry supplies with you, do it! There’s no dining plan in DC so unless you plan on eating out all the time, cooking is important and restocking the basics can be expensive. Mementos to remind you of NYU or home. Even though DC isn’t as far as studying in a different country, it can still get lonely to study away from main campus and your home. Pictures, books, and trinkets help!
Name two things you should not have packed. I definitely overstocked on shampoo/conditioner and other shower/bathroom products. General rule of thumb: everything you can find in NYC, you can find in DC. And, you can use Campus Cash at the CVS down the street from the NYU DC building, so running out of necessities is never a problem.
What do you miss most? I miss my dedicated study spots and food places in DC. Baked and Wired, Dolcezza, Tryst, Compass, A Baked Joint. And anywhere for brunch!
What advice would you give about housing? Housing in DC is generally really nice because the building is brand new! However, because the building has an entire wall of windows, if you live in the front of the building the temperature inside is the same temperature as it is outside. Bring extra blankets for the cold.
One good way to get to know locals is: Do what the Washingtonians do! Go to brunch, attend cultural events or lectures, and volunteer in your spare time! DC is very much so a young professional city and there are always things going on. Don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of what interests you.
If there’s one thing students should know about DC, it is: Washington DC is only about 10% politics and governmental buildings. Walking the National Mall and seeing the Capitol Building is awesome and definitely something you should do while studying away, but also take the time to explore DC’s different neighborhoods to really get a feel for what the city is for the people who live there.
If you could go back in time and do one thing differently, what would it be? I would have started exploring the city earlier. It’s really easy to get comfortable with the specific part of the city you live in and the touristy areas, but what made studying away really amazing was learning about all the different parts of the city. Don’t wait until it’s too late to get out of your comfort zone!