February 8, 2018 | My name is Molly Quillin, and I am a sophomore at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA where I major in Political Science and International Relations and minor in Spanish. Here at the Washington Semester Program (WSP), I am in the Foreign Policy Concentration. I am originally from Portland, Oregon, and had the life-changing experience of living in Beijing, China for two years with my whole family. I love theatre, reading, writing, laughing with friends, my dog, travel, and I am extremely passionate about social justice, international relations, and advocacy and politics in general.
Three weeks ago, I moved into Leonard Hall at American to begin my journey in DC with WSP. These past three weeks have been an absolute whirlwind; from the classes, to the internship I started, to the friends I have met, I feel absolutely and completely overwhelmed, but in the best way. I feel like I'm on the edge of something great, something that is just beginning and that I can't wait to further explore.
So far in DC I have done a myriad of things. I started my Foreign Policy Seminar and my seminar is simply AMAZING. My professor is engaging, my classmates are wonderful, and the subject matter is so intriguing. In our class, we have a great balance of lecture and discussion with visiting speakers. I have thoroughly enjoyed his teaching style so far and find that each class feels like a discussion with the amount of eye contact and personal connection that our professor gives each student. So far in class, we have talked about the Liberal World Order and America First Foreign Policy. These subjects have been excellent introductions to US foreign engagement and relations.
I am also enrolled in an elective class called Political Communications, where we have begun learning how a Communications Director would go about advertising a candidate, book, or song. We have been using Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff as an example and talking about how Twitter was an essential component of the marketing strategy.
Additionally, this past Monday I began my internship at the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA). So far, I love my office and work at AFSA. At AFSA I am the Special Awards and Outreach intern, and I collect nominations and award current Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) for their achievements, as well as coordinate the High School Essay Writing Contest AFSA hosts each year. Already I have learned the value of organization and what makes an exemplary FSO.
And finally, I have explored DC with my new friends! So far in DC, I have…
- Wandered around the National Mall (in the oddly warm weather) at night.
- Went to the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument with a group at AU.
- Explored Georgetown's wealth of cupcakes: Sprinkles and Georgetown Cupcakes.
- Went to the Cato Institute, the Center for New American Security, and the UN Foundation with my Foreign Policy concentration class.
- Participated in the Woman's March on Washington with people who live on my floor, who are in the GAP Program in addition to the WSP.
- I mastered public transportation in DC, finally deciding to take the Metro train over the bus and planning a route and time to leave my dorm each morning (this was much harder than I was anticipating).
- Explored a few of the many coffee shops of Dupont Circle friends from my class (Emissary and Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café).
I am having a grand adventure in DC, and I have also reserved time to catch up with my friends from my home university, my family, and my Jane the Virgin. I have made some great friends: some who have also lived in foreign countries, some who know my friends from my home university (it's a small world!), and some who are simply dedicated to a life of justice. These people are enigmatic, and it is energizing to be around a group of people who want to talk politics, current events, and foreign policy all day, every day. I cannot wait to see where this semester will take me, and all the people I will meet who will inevitably become my forever friends.