Josue and classmate at the Federal Reserve

Josue Simon Garcia
Global Economics & Business

December 2, 2019 | As the semester comes to an end, it is both sad and exciting to leave Washington, DC, and continue on with my studies. Since the beginning of the semester, our Global Economics and Business professor told us about taking a trip to the Federal Reserve. I was not too sure what it was, but just hearing about all the security measures that we had to take to visit the building excited me. What could possibly be so important and exclusive that we must provide ID information beforehand? I did not know, but I was excited and eager to find out.

When the day finally arrived, I found myself waiting outside of the Federal Reserve building, as only five individuals were being permitted to enter at a time. Once my class and I finally got in, we entered into a beautiful conference room. It felt official: I was in Washington, DC, sitting at a table where governmental decisions took place and where just last week it had been decided that interest rates would be cut. The only thing that could possibly top this trip would be one into the White House. While on our site visit, I was able to see older bills that the United States once held and even one valued at $10,000!

Josue in Los AngelesBesides visiting the Federal Reserve, I recently got the opportunity to fly out to California to interview for a summer internship opportunity. With the WSP ending soon, this only marks the beginning of many ever-lasting friendships and a better sense of the career path that I want to take after I graduate. WSP brought students from all over, and now if I ever find myself in pretty much any part of the US, I will have someone to message and welcome me to their home state. WSP has also allowed me to narrow down the kind of work I would like to do after graduation. Being able to intern at MiBolsillo gave me great skills in terms of solo sales experience, but it made me realize that I would love to work in operations, strategy, product management or even consulting at a bigger and more established company after graduation. Keeping this in mind, it has made it easier for me to cross out the types of roles I do not want to apply for in my summer internship search and where I can actually envision myself working.

US Capitol buildingBeing given the chance to live in another major city on the East Coast has truly made me realize how connected the whole East Coast is. Many students and I were able to go from one state to another quite easily by taking a bus ride on the weekends. But besides this, we were also able to visit the neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia using DC’s metro system. I believe this has been the most I have ever traveled in a semester, and it made me see how easy it is to travel. The anxiety I once held on boarding a plane by myself no longer exists, and I am truly grateful that WSP has made me believe in my navigating skills. Regardless of where I end up in the summer and the years to come, these navigating skills will always come in handy as I will not fear boarding a bus or train to get to my destination.

Thank you, WSP, for these lifelong friends, career insights, work skills and the greater self-confidence you have allowed me to create and leave the program with—I will forever be grateful.

Blog History

Josue at the Nationals parade

Josue Simon Garcia
Global Economics & Business

November 11, 2019 | Just this weekend, November 2nd, the National’s parade took place after the Nats won the World Series Championships. I went to the parade because, even though I do not root for any baseball teams, the Nats were actually the first baseball team I ever saw, and it happened to be during this fall semester. I found myself in the middle of thousands of people with my bookbag in the way as I tried making my way into the front view. Even though it was crowded, it made me happy seeing so many people all coming together to celebrate. The event made the city feel like NYC, where I’m originally from, and it felt exciting.

The food at Clyde's RestaurantMaybe you’re wondering why I didn’t leave my bookbag in my apartment knowing I was going to a super packed event, but during these past two weeks I got a weekend job at Clyde’s of Georgetown. Money was starting to get tight, and being the hustler that NYC trained me to be, I applied for a weekend host position at Clyde’s. On the day of the Nats parade, it was my last day of training, so I took my work clothes in my bookbag to change once I got to work. The best thing about going through the Clyde’s training process was been being able to get an appetizer, entrée and dessert for all four training days! It’s been helpful for me pick up a side gig and get some extra cash. I can still enjoy my time here and get to work with regular DC folks from the area. If you’re considering getting a part time job, I advise you to get a job that you can only work on weekends! This will allow you to fully concentrate on your schoolwork on weekdays and on weekends let you work—ensuring that there’s no interference between the two.

World Bank visitor passBut to go even further back, I recently got to visit the World Bank with my Economic Policy class. I honestly had no idea what the purpose of the World Bank was but knew it existed. I didn’t feel so bad not knowing what it was because part of the WSP is becoming informed on what these institutions do and trust me, you’ll do a lot of learning while here! Professor Sosland gave the class the chance to visit the visitor center for about an hour, where we got to wander around. Then we got a short tour on the background of the World Bank and also spoke to someone who works for the World Bank. During this time, we got to learn about the five institutions that make up the World Bank (IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA and ICSID) and how the bank was born after the Bretton Woods Monetary Conference in June 1946, which was aimed to help rebuild the European countries devastated by World War II. But over the years, the bank’s mission has changed, and today its mission is to reduce the share of the global population that lives in extreme poverty to 3 percent by 2030.

Josue outside the Mexican EmbassyAfter class ended, my friend and I felt the urge to explore the area. We found a nice soft serve ice cream stand around the corner called Bôn Matcha, and we each got half and half of black tea and matcha flavored ice cream. It was so good - stop by if you get the chance! After that, we made our way down the street, and I came across the Mexican Embassy. Being Mexican myself, I had to stand in front of the building and take a quick picture. The past few weeks have been filled with lots of events, and as my time runs out at American University, I am trying to make the most out of my time here in DC before I head back to my home university.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund Finance Conference in New York City

Josue Simon Garcia
Global Economics & Business

October 21, 2019 | Part of my plan for this semester away was to really focus on my career growth. Being able to join a startup company at Halcyon has allowed me to see the ins and outs that starting companies have to face. Wanting to be an entrepreneur myself and have my own company one day makes this internship ideal and also helps me get a better understanding of what it actually takes to be an entrepreneur. Most of the surrounding company founders are just regular people that saw a problem and decided to take a stance and try to solve it—this becoming the roots for their startups. It goes to show that to be an entrepreneur all it takes is to find a relevant problem and become really dedicated to it, solving the problem in a unique way that others have not yet decided to go about it.

Participants at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Finance ConferenceWhile at my internship I also got the great news that I had been selected to attend the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Finance Conference, which I had applied to over the summer. I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend as one of 100 students with all expenses covered. I found myself getting on the Amtrak and making my way to New York City where I stayed for three nights at the Hilton hotel in Midtown. It was such an amazing opportunity to continue my learning of the business world. It was amazing to also meet such smart Latinx students from all over the country who were coming from very similar situations as me and who, like me, had worked extremely hard to get into college and now are trying to get their foot into corporate America. My internship supervisor allowed me to work remotely for two days, and I got to spend time with my family in NYC. It was great seeing them because going away to a temporary home of four months can be hard to get used to in such little time.

As soon as I returned from the conference, I jumped right into site visits around Washington, DC, with my assigned groupmates from my Economic Policy course. We got the chance to go on a tour of National Public Radio learning how they operate, followed by a talk on health policy at George Washington University.

Josue with classmates on a site visit to National Public RadioBy the end of the day, I found myself sitting in a basement study room, busy preparing for a midterm I had the next day. It was hours of reading and sorting through articles, trying to prepare what I might be asked to write about in the assigned essay question that I was to be given the next day. While doing that, I also had to study for my digital marketing elective class, which was right after my first exam. Thursday came and my exams went pretty well, or so I hope! At the end of the day I was super tired, but I was glad I had two out of three midterms out of the way. Midterm season came around faster than I anticipated, and I can only imagine how fast finals will come around as well. We are literally halfway done with the program, and I feel like I just started! It goes to show that when you’re having a good time, you don’t even feel the time flying by.

Halcyon and where all the entrepreneurs do their work

Josue Simon Garcia
Global Economics & Business

October 7, 2019 | These past few weeks I have felt all over the place. Despite submitting dozens of internship applications, I found myself up against the deadline to secure a position. Writing 3-5 cover letters every day and the constant anticipation of receiving the right offer was super stressful.

But a miracle happened, yes miracles exist! The day before the deadline, my amazing professor, Professor Jeffrey Sosland, had scheduled to take my Global Entrepreneurship & Business class to a pitch kickoff at the Halcyon Incubator. An incubator is a place where startups are provided mentorship and other services and support that can help them in their business’ development, and Halcyon happens to be one of such places. As we walked towards the incubator, Professor Sosland told me it was smart to go and talk to all of the startup companies that were there because a student of his last year came to the event and that same day got an internship with one of the startups, and so I did. Then we sat down to hear the pitches, and Professor Sosland handed me a business card and told me, “Here, I got you this. I think you would be interested in speaking to him.” I had no idea whose business card this was, but I accepted it.

Soon the event started, and the entrepreneurs began telling us about their work. One of the first presenters spoke about helping small business owners who find themselves financially illiterate. In my head I thought, “Wow, this is crazy; this is exactly what I want to do.” I turned to look at the business card I had in my hand and realized Professor Sosland had gotten for me his business card!

Second day of my internship at HalcyonOnce the presentation ended and we were free to speak to the entrepreneurs, I ran up to his table and introduced myself, “Hi, my name is Josue, and I love what you’re doing!” I knew Washington, DC, had something in store for me. And here I was, standing in front of an entrepreneur who had the same business idea as me and dying to speak to him.

I tend to usually carry a few copies of my resume with me wherever I go because being from NYC and not being so wealthy, I was always on the lookout for jobs, and thus it became a habit. I knew that one day that would pay off, and today was another day on which it did. I spoke to the entrepreneur, who was named Julio, and told him: “I’m looking for an internship and could start right away. Here’s my resume!” I went on to tell Julio that I had a deadline of the next day to secure an internship and if it was in any way possible to give me an internship at his startup by tomorrow, that I would appreciate it so much!

I went home that afternoon and told Professor Sosland how I had found the ideal internship. He responded back with, “I knew you would really like it.” At that point nothing could have compared to this moment of deep appreciation I had for my professor. I had never experienced another time in my life when a professor had me in their thoughts when coming across an opportunity knowing it was exactly what I was looking for.

Of course, I also emailed Julio and let him know how awesome it was having met him and reminding him about my internship deadline. Unfortunately, I heard no response.

Working at the garden at HalcyonThe next morning, I looked for Julio on LinkedIn and followed up with him again. I didn’t want to annoy him, but follow-up is important in the internship search, and I had hit the final deadline. But guess what. Yes, you guessed right: Julio responded! He apologized for not responding earlier as it was a hectic day for him, and in his email came an internship offer! I quickly responded with a yes, completed the paperwork for WSP, and promptly began my internship at the startup known as Mi Bolsillo, or “My Pocket” in English, at the Halcyon Incubator.

Even though I managed to literally get an internship just in time, I would recommend starting the search early! Many students had come to the Washington Semester Program with an internship already, and I found myself waking up every day hoping for an offer letter from one of my applications. However, this also goes to show how amazing the professors in WSP are and how they truly go out of their way to show you that they really care about you as their students and want nothing other than for each one of us to succeed.

Washington Semester Ambassador Josue Simon Garcia

Josue Simon Garcia
Global Economics & Business

September 23, 2019 | Hello everyone! My name is Josue Simon Garcia, and I am a current junior at Brandeis University located in Waltham, MA. I was originally born in Acapulco, Mexico, but I grew up in the Bronx, NY. Unlike many students who can travel abroad, my situation is different. I wanted the abroad experience like most college students, but I came to the conclusion during my freshman year that it would not be possible for me. However, I was fortunate enough to have a great study abroad office at my home institution, and through them, I was introduced to alternatives that were possible for me: studying domestically in the United States. As a Business major and Computer Science minor, I wanted to be able to fulfill my requirements while away and therefore sought business-related programs. With that in mind, I came across American University’s Washington Semester Program.

A few months later, I was admitted to the fall 2019 cohort of the Washington Semester Program, and a couple months after that, I found myself driving down from NYC to Washington, DC, and moving into the Frequency Apartments in Tenleytown.

Being from such a big city, I thought could never compare another city to one like my own. But soon I found myself roaming the streets of DC and realizing that if NYC had a little sibling, it would definitely be DC!

Washington Semester Ambassador Josue SImon Garcia with friends during the Amazing RaceFrom the first weekend I got to spend here doing the Amazing Race scavenger hunt up until now, DC has seemed to me like a much smaller version of NYC. If it had not been for this fun weekend activity, I would have not met an amazing group of friends who I constantly now find myself hanging out with.

I am also really enjoying the classes! My Economic Policy professor has gone above and beyond with truly bringing our classroom to life and extending our learning experience into the city. He took us, for instance, to the Newseum (which is sadly closing at the end of this year). There we were able to observe the different types of roles that media has played throughout history and how policies around the world have led for these situations to occur, such as in the case of the Berlin Wall.

Union MarketIn my Global Entrepreneurship and Business class we had the opportunity to hear from several guest speakers. At one point, we went as far as Virginia to hear from a member of the Professional Fighter’s League to hear his insight in entrepreneurship and how he has helped many businesses start and excel.

Beyond class, DC itself has lots going on as well. Last weekend, a new market near Union Market opened up called La Cosecha. I was lucky enough to hear about this and got to attend the opening ceremony. It was filled with Latinx people and other people of color, which made it feel like home. I found myself eating some of DC’s most recognized pupusas from La Casita Pupuseria. There was also live music from well-known bands such as Grammy-winning Latin fusion band Ozomatli.

Washington, DC, has really proven itself in a few weeks, and I am excited to see what else awaits me here.