Liberty Bell poster behind AlexisAlexis SinghInternational Law & Organizations

November 19 | Hey everyone! Welcome to my final blog post of the Fall Washington Semester. Last week I went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for my birthday and I had the most amazing time. I was able to experience an actual autumn, which in Florida is not a season we are exposed to because it is warm year round. It was gorgeous to see the leaves changing from red, yellow and orange, and as autumn is my favorite season this was a great attraction.

Another exciting experience from Philadelphia was seeing the Liberty Bell. I have grown up learning about it and have always wanted to see what it looks like. Where the bell is located it tells you the whole story of how the bell became slightly cracked and then when they went to fix it, they completely broke it. I was fascinated and I adore the bell and believe everyone should see this national landmark.

Rocky Steps in PhiladelphiaAlong with the great artifacts and historical landmarks, there is an amazing area of food and shops called the Reading Terminal Market. They have interesting foods stands from pickles and pork to donuts and chocolates. I was enticed by all the antique shops there and how the prices are pretty reasonable. I probably spent about two hours there just wandering around and checking out everything. It was bustling, and you could feel the holiday spirit the longer you were in there.

I did the same thing when I returned to Washington, D.C., at Kramerbooks & Afterwards where I wandered around this cute little bookstore. It is like a Barnes & Nobles but much more relaxed and also has a bar in it. It is one of the popular bookstores in D.C., and it has a really nice vibe. It is a store that I would probably visit often if I actually lived in D.C. because it has different genres of books, which I love. I actually ended up buying a book there called “Evil Under the Sun” by Agatha Christie, who is one of my favorite authors. I am into mystery and suspense novels, which they have a whole section of, and I wished we had a similar store like this back home.

Alexis throwing fall leavesAnother cool place that I visited off of Q Street was Joint Custody, which is mostly a record store but also a thrift shop. It has records of every kind, from rock and roll to reggae to country to heavy metal. The atmosphere is great, and I loved all the clothes in the stores. It is a bit hard to find because it is on the lower level of a building, but you never want to leave once you arrive. Additional to that store, there is one in Bethesda called Remix Recycling Co., which I recommend that everyone should visit. They have these very intricate, yet simple jewelry that they make in the store, which I bought for Christmas gifts for everyone, and their clothes are very fashionable yet also reasonable prices for second hand clothes. I was probably in that store for longer than I expected, but I will definitely be back before the end of the semester.

I am so sad that this is my last blog, but I hope you have enjoyed my journey throughout Washington D.C. from the museums, the food, the shops, and the random adventures. If you are thinking about doing the Washington Semester, I really recommend it because it is worth every essay and late night in D.C. I have enjoyed the outdoor classrooms, getting to know the teachers on a personal level, and all the experience that I have gained while living here.

Blog History

Alexis holding protest signs during the Freedom Walk fundraiser on the National MallAlexis SinghInternational Law & ORganizations

November 5 | Hello Everyone! I am so excited to tell you about the past weeks, especially since I am halfway through with the Washington Semester.

As I said in my last blog, the A21 Walk for Awareness of Human Trafficking was coming up and it was definitely an experience that I will not forget and will continue to do each year. Everyone was dressed in black and the vibe before the walk was friendly and really open. Other Washington Semester students and I were able to meet other people at the event that are fighting for the same cause and it was really inspiring hearing the organizers of the walk and their stories.

‪‬We walked for 2 hours around the monuments and took a group photo in the end. One powerful fact that I learned while there was, “Every 30 seconds someone becomes a slave”… that is just very eye opening. Along with that, out of 40 cities participating in the walk worldwide, Washington D.C. raised the most of over 64,000 and that is for the 2nd year in a row! I am very humbled to have participated in the walk and will continue to bring awareness in any way that I can.

For most of the semester I have been trying different kinds of food while living in D.C. and I have enjoyed most of them from Peruvian food to authentic Japanese cuisine. There is a place near American University called Tenleytown with many different kinds of food from Popeyes to Seoul Spice. One of my personal favorites is Crisp and Juicy which has a Persian and Caribbean vibe that just makes you want more. They have different options from vegan to vegetarian and I will differently be back before I leave D.C. Most of the restaurants in Tenleytown are average price for a college student living in D.C. One must remember that D.C. is an expensive place to live in, so going to college here you must be frugal with your money.

Hibachi in downtown Washington, DC‬Some other places that have satisfying food, but are throughout D.C. are Mad Hatter, GCDC and Quickway Japanese Hibachi. I personally love macaroni and cheese and hibachi, so I made sure to try and find places that served those kinds of food for a reasonable price, so they can satisfy my cravings. My Washington Semester classmates actually tried to help me find good macaroni and cheese places to eat and we traveled in the rain for 3 hours looking for a restaurant that fit my standards. We ended up at GCDC, which had mouthwatering Loaded Tots, but I was not a fan of their macaroni and cheese.

Overall, Washington D.C. is an amazing place to travel to not only for the monuments and history, but for the different kinds of food and culture that is here in the capitol. I still have half a semester to go and cannot wait to see what other foods that I will discover while traveling the city. I hope this was helpful for those considering the Washington Semester, and that you will be able to find restaurants that interest you as much as the food interests me. See you all soon!

Alexis had the chance to go back home to Florida to visit family over the Fall break.Alexis SinghInternational Law & ORganizations

October 22 | Hello, welcome back everyone! It has been a crazy few weeks and I have had so much fun! I was able to take over Instagram, which was really exciting and I loved sharing some activities that I have done while exploring Washington D.C.

One of the events that I did was going to the National Zoological Park. My friends from Florida came up to visit me and we were able to see all kinds of animals. I saw a zebra, which is my favorite animal and some sleepy panda bears. They were really funny because they had just eaten and passed out in random positions around their habitats, not moving at all. We also saw so many types of monkeys and they were very busy, moving around everywhere. The last part that was fascinating were the elephants and lions, they were all playing games with each other and we were able to see them being fed. I really enjoyed the zoo and it was different from ones I am use to because we just walked right in without any security check. I did not see any security in general.

Alexis at the Italian Embassy Gala‬Another exciting part of my weekend was going to the Italian Embassy for their Masquerade Gala. They had an amazing singer and ballroom dancing which I made sure to take part in. It was engaging, amusing and exciting to go to this event with the people I had first met at the beginning of the program and am still friends with now. The music was very diverse, it started off with Latin, then 70’s, then this era’s music and ended with some Caribbean music. We all danced until it was time to leave. This event will definitely go down in the books as one of the most fascinating events of the semester.

Alexis at the National Zoo Elephant exhibit‬We had Fall Break this past week and I was able to go home to Florida and had an amazing time. I love the sunshine, the heat and all my friends from back home. I was able to go to Disney Springs and see my family which was needed. My family actually ended up surprising me because I did not know they were coming down to visit the same week. My visit felt like a whole reunion with family I have not seen in a while. I was happy to be able to have home cooked food that I have not had in a while and to be able to drive again on open road, rather than in a tight city streets.

This weekend is the A21 Walk for awareness of Human Trafficking, so look out for the next blog on how that went. I will be exploring some new parts of D.C. and hopefully finding some local activities to do, as well as discovering new foods. See you soon, have a good week!

Alexis at her internship site.Alexis SinghInternational Law & ORganizations

October 8 | Hey everyone! It has been very eventful the past few weeks and I cannot wait to share. As you know I am interning for The Center for Security Policy, which focuses on the United States national security. In my department I work with a focus on terrorism and ways to prevent it from infiltrating our country and government. I cannot talk a lot about that part of my internship, but I do work with another department on the “Save the Persecuted Christians” movement. They are trying to bring awareness to those around the world and within the United States about the discrimination of Christians everywhere. Both these departments are perfect for me because I am a Religious Studies and Political Science major and they both focus in areas that I want to work in.

I have been able to attend two events that my internship has held, one involving the “Keeper of the Flame” award, which recognizes people in the community who have shown effort to protect the United States and our security. The other event was about growing the “Save the Persecuted Christians” movement and recognizing those in government that have been helping to get the information out. I was able to do a lot of networking there and it has been amazing. I have never had an internship so involved in the political community and I am learning so much!

Alexis dressed up for an internship site event.‬Some events these past weeks that I have attended either for my classes or internship are the “Hidden in Plain Sight: Understanding Federal Efforts to Stop Human Trafficking” by the Subcommittee of Homeland Security, “2018 DC Prisoner and Reentry Symposium: Envisioning a New Jail” by the Corrections Information Council and “The Future of Baltic Energy Security” by the Jamestown Foundation.

Although, the only one I had information on going into these discussions was the human trafficking hearing, I learned a lot about prisons and gasoline pipes that I would never have learned either in the classroom or by reading a book. I enjoyed being able to go out into the community and see and hear what is being discussed now. I am a huge supporter against Human Trafficking and being able to hear my own Representative Val Demings speak about victims and how the government seems to be dismissing them made me gain more confidence in her. She spoke on how the government is putting the abusers away, but not for long and the victims become scared and anxious all over again, once they are released or put into society with only probation.

‪‬I will be attending the A21 Walk on bringing awareness to human trafficking on October 20, 2018. I am looking forward to doing this walk and making a public statement about it. I believe people need to learn more and am happy to bring awareness right here in our capitol.

Since October is coming up, which means Halloween, I really want to be doing a lot of random scary or adventurous activities. This weekend I will be doing a paint the city activity, where certain parts of the city allow you to paint on buildings or sidewalks which I really enjoy. I have been trying to find cool murals to take pictures and hopefully after this weekend there will be a lot, so check the WSP Instagram to see my posts! This coming week is the Italian Embassy, which I am really excited about and I cannot wait to dress up for it! I also love Italian food, so that is what I will be focusing on when I visit the embassy. Until next time, have a good few weeks!

Alexis at the National Portrait Gallery Jazz in the ParkAlexis SinghInternational Law & ORganizations

September 24 | Hello! My name is Alexis Singh and I am doing the Washington Semester at American University this fall semester. I am originally a junior at Stetson University in Florida and I am a double major, studying Political Science and Religious Studies. While at American I have been studying in the International Law and Organizations concentration and I love it! I have never done a program like this before and I have already seen myself growing and learning so much within these first three weeks. I have met so many wonderful professors and students and I am enjoying my internship, which I am fond of!

One great start to the semester was when my team won the Amazing Race, during orientation. We ran all around Washington D.C. to try and beat the clock and gather all the photos and information we needed to win. We went to places like the Museum of American History, The White House and the Washington Monument. While adventuring around we got to learn about the metro, how the streets work and more about the United States. I really appreciate that day and will always remember it. Since my team won, we get the chance to go to the Italian Embassy for a gala. Look out for my Instagram Takeover; I will be taking photos of the event and informing you of what it is like.

This is my first time in D.C. being able to actually check out the city. I always drive past it and never get to really see what it has to offer. I can tell you that there is so much to do here, you will never get bored. My first week here I was able to attend a Jazz Festival, and listened to many jazzy throwbacks. It was a nice, hot day out, which really surprised me, and the event was held at a huge park. I was in awe that there was actually a big park in the middle of D.C. The park had many sculptures that artists in the area have made and get to display everywhere. I love art and music, so I felt at home while I was relaxing with other Washington Semester students.

Alexis at the Holocaust Memorial Museum The next weekend I went with another group to see the United States Botanic Garden and it has been my favorite experience that I have done thus far! I felt like I was at home in Florida with all the tropical plants and art. I loved learning about the different plants and type of environments they thrive best in. It was interesting to see a cocoa tree up close for the first time. It looks amazing in movies, but even better in person. There was one room that had art that really made you think about society and the world today, which I found breathtaking.

The adventures I have in and out of the classroom have been remarkable. My teachers have taken us to many places like the Holocaust Museum, the Woodrow Wilson Building and the National Portrait Gallery. Each one of those visits has shown me the struggles that have happened within and outside of the United States. At the Holocaust Museum my class and I got to hear a true story from a Holocaust survivor and how she remembered the events, although she was so young. At the Wilson Building we learned how Argentina is beginning to fight for human rights and bring about new policies to help the country grow. They are trying to improve the government and are formulating ways to make sure both businesses and consumers are protected in all aspects. Also at the National Portrait Gallery we were able to see the Obama and Michelle portraits, which are stunning! The museum speaks wonders and I was captivated by every aspect of it and I am definitely going back soon!

I hope that you follow me on my excursions throughout D.C., and that we get to learn more together! Next time I plan to inform you more on my internship at Center for Security Policy and the Italian Embassy. I am overjoyed that I am here in D.C. learning, growing and making memories that will last a lifetime. I know I will always remember my time at American University and it will always have a major impact on my life.