Washington Semester students at National Public Radio (NPR)

Jiyoun Yoo American Politics

November 6 | It's already November! I've been thinking that Thanksgiving would really mean the end of the semester, and now I am seeing Thanksgiving so close in my calendar. Taking classes, visiting places, and going to my internship certainly kept me busy until now, and I feel both sad and excited at this point of the semester.

The last couple of weeks were full of unique experiences. For our American Politics class, we have been heading out of campus several times. Most recently we visited NPR where we met the employees working there, had a tour all over the building, and saw the first 20 minutes of the representative broadcast of NPR, 'All Things Considered'. All of my classmates were saying, "This is so cool!" going through the building. We also had a conversation with Senator Ben Cardin and Representative Jamie Raskin.

Thae Yong Ho Testimony

I am still enjoying working at my internship a lot! To our team, North Korea was almost like 'the country of the month' in October. As my background is South Korean, I luckily had the chance to help more and observe closer all the things going on. For example, we had a representative of North Korean human rights organization called 'Now, Action & Unity for Human Rights(NAUH)' come to our organization. While our team was filming an interview with him, I did translation, background research, and wrote an article about it. I also went to a hearing with House Committee on Foreign Affairs with my internship team. The title was 'An insider's look at the North Korean regime,' with witness Thae Yong-ho, a North Korean defector of the highest rank. It was so interesting to hear not only about the lives of the people he witnessed, but also about the policy suggestions he made as a former diplomat of North Korea. I am getting a chance to examine North Korea in diverse aspects.

Last weekend, I went to Virginia Beach to do GOTV (Get Out The Vote) canvassing. Doing something related to the Virginia election was an extra assignment from the American Politics class. I participated in the overnight trip to Virginia, knocked on the doors, and had conversations with lots of voters living there. As we don't directly 'knock on doors' to canvass in South Korea, it was a great chance for me to observe how election campaigns work in the U.S.

I do feel like I am being an active listener and observer while doing internship and taking classes. Though it is only a month left towards the end of semester, I do want to make my most of it before I go back!:)

Blog History

Jiyoun standing in front of the South Korean Embassy

Jiyoun Yoo American Politics

October 23 | Hi everyone! :)

It is getting closer to the half semester point, and we just had a fall break!

Actually the fall break last week was not just a time to relax a bit, but a time to finalize our mid-term assignments - lobbying. I was fortunately able to succeeded in making an appointment with the Minister-Counselor of Health & Welfare at South Korean Embassy. Before the appointment I printed out all of my materials and practice my pitch again and again. Then I had a half-hour long meeting, which felt quite like a success to me! It was so cool that I had such straightforward experience. If I wasn't in this class I would have lacked the courage to do something like that.

Jiyoun and others at the Malaysian Embassy Another exciting thing I did was attend the Malaysian Embassy Experience! This was a third place prize for the Amazing Race Scavenger Hunt I did during Orientation. Our team got a chance to watch the Malaysian traditional dance performance, meet the Malaysian ambassador, and taste the traditional food. We also learned several dance steps and danced all around the halls of embassy. All of us laughed so hard seeing each other dancing.

For the elective class, we met Daniel Lippman who is contributor and editor to the Politico Playbook. Our class gathered at the WeWork office near the White House and sat down for about an hour with him. As he was young - youngest of all our guest speakers, I guess - it was really interesting to hear how he built his career so fast and what his future goals are. I was also able to examine how journalism in DC works, and the life of people who work behind it.

Event on Liberia: Liberian President Sirleaf Speaks on US's Global Role

Jiyoun Yoo American Politics

October 9 | Now it's October and the weather is getting cold. The last five weeks with WSP have gone so fast, and now I feel quite comfortable with the things I am doing here. This week was the third week in my internship at NED. My work is usually not fixed in a cycle; I just tend to grab the tasks around me when I go in. Therefore, most of the work I have been doing were going to events, making charts, collecting bios, and doing light research. Last week I had a great opportunity to go to the event, "Liberian President Sirleaf Speaks on US's Global Role." President Sirleaf is the first female head of state in Africa, and the she was elected in the first democratic election in Liberia. I worked at the registration table for an hour before attending the rest of the event. Hearing all the inspiring lectures about democracy in an auditorium full of 400 people was definitely an experience I could only have in D.C.

For the American Politics class, we are currently working on a mid-term assignment. Mid-term might sound a bit demanding and boring, but in our midterm we get to lobby for a politician. All of my classmates are making calls to their Congressperson and are exploring a lot about the issues they are interested in. For me, I chose to advocate the Adoptee Citizenship Act to the South Korean Embassy. I am still working on preparation, but I am really look forward to have discussing this Act with officials working there. This was also I never expected to do. I cannot help but think what a "DC-like" assignment this is.

Graduate School FairOn Monday, I went to a graduate school fair as part of the Political Communication elective class. Professor Sharon told us that it would be great opportunity to explore grad schools and think about our future career goals. I was actually a student who hadn't thought much about going to a grad school. But as I walked through the fair and had conversation with the staff members of each school, I thought that I can think about it again. Experiences here are certainly broadening my views.

Jiyoun at Taste of GeorgetownOther than that I am going some fun events in D.C. too. Last week I went to 'Taste of Georgetown', where I could taste all the best menus of restaurants in the Georgetown neighborhood. I am always amazed how many these kind of events are hold in this city. So far so good!

Jiyoun Yoo with friends from the Washington Semester Program

Jiyoun Yoo American Politics

October 2 | It has been three weeks since I arrived here and so far I am loving this city! Though everything is new it is exciting and interesting to see how I am adjusting to the experience.

I am participating in the American Politics concentration this semester. As one of only two international students in this class, it is sometimes hard for me to discuss details about American politics and read all the books in English, but I believe it is worth it to be with all of my smart friends in class! The topics we deal with are things like the Congress, bureaucracy, and the U.S. presidency. During the second week of class, we got to visit with guest speakers who work in the field of political campaigns. I feel blending the stories from speakers and the theories from classes is giving me greater understanding about the environment of American politics. As an added bonus, we got to attend a baseball game with the tickets from our cool professor.

A welcome certificate for Jiyoun Yoo from the National Endowment for Democracy I got an internship at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)! I am working in the office of Government Relations & Public Affairs, where I will attend congressional events and do research for the office. With the warm greeting from NED, I went to an event on Capitol Hill ("The Hill") called 'The Future of Russian Democracy' and a 'Press Freedom' event at the Newseum -- all in my first week. My supervisor told me that he hopes that I can use this internship to explore my fields of interest. I am getting a strong feeling that I would love working here.

Jiyoun Yoo with Chuck Todd from NBC Elective classes are also so interesting. Mine is called Political Communication, and we had a chance to go 'Meet the Press' in the NBC Studio near the campus. As a student interested in journalism and politics, it was such an exciting opportunity to have. The show we saw was about Trump Administration and their supporters, with a U.S. Senator and a panel discussing this topic. We were able to examine all the details of how Sunday shows are made, starting from the studio environment and makeup to every hand signs the Program Director makes towards Chuck Todd. I will remember how my classmates and I were amazed by all the effort put in to making the show. I would never have known if it weren't for my class!

Washington Semester student ambassador Jiyoun Yoo with friends from the program

Jiyoun Yoo American Politics

September 18 | Well, I finally came to D.C.! I have been eagerly looking forward to staying here for a semester as a student in the Washington Semester Program at American University. As a newly-hired WSP Ambassador taking the American Politics concentration, this post will be talking about the very first impression of the city.

With 14 hours of flight from Korea, I arrived at the Dulles International Airport. Right after putting my luggage, I left to the Union Station for shopping. What surprised me were all the buildings with names that I have heard more than once in a lifetime. D.C. has the headquarters of so many companies and organizations, and they were all making this city enthusiastic. This was when I started to realize what D.C. is like: calm, but energetic.

Welcome Week students gathered outside of tent at sunsetThe first week of Fall semester at American University was called 'Welcome Week'. I was impressed by how full the campus Quad was for that entire week! There were always events, festivals, and barbecues going on.

There are many chances to enjoy things for free in the city. I've been to the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Museums, and Symphony Orchestra near the Capitol Hill during the last two weeks. Can't wait to visit all the cites that D.C. has!