Samantha Pulley ('15) is a junior majoring in Communication at the University of Hartford. She is currently participating in the Washington Semester Program at American University and carrying out an internship in Washington D.C.! Read on to learn more.
How did you choose your program?
What has been the best part of your study away experience so far?
I can’t really say any experience is better than another. Every experience that I've had here in D.C. has been so different from the next, but yet so equally amazing! I guess to sum up every “best part” of my experience I would say that the “best part” is discovering and doing something new every day. It is nearly impossible to be bored in this city. There is always something to do. You can hop on a boat and go clam fishing, go hiking through part of the Appalachian Trail or visit the Smithsonian.
Tell us about an interesting place you have visited in your new city.
Another really interesting place I visited in Washington D.C. was the Capitol building. As we got an exclusive tour of the Capitol building, we got to sit in on the vote to partially shut down the government. It was amazing to be able to sit in on history in the making.
Tell us a little about your new school.
I go to American University located in the North West section of Washington D.C. The campus is a lot like Uhart in that the main academic buildings were built in a circle with a center lawn where you can always find students sitting and eating lunch, doing work, or just hanging out with their friends. Because of my program, my class is very diverse. The majority of my classmates are from outside of the United States. My class consists of: Americans, Germans, Norwegians, Japanese, and one student from Lebanon. This allows for some of the most intriguing class discussions I have ever had in my college career.
Tell us a little about your housing.
Tell us about your internship.
Tell us about your seminar course.
We also have had class meetings in some pretty cool places. Other than having a class in the Player’s Club at the Verizon Center (which typically only seats billionaires), we have also met at the Washington Post, the National Press Club, US News, a law firm, the Capitol, and Ben’s Chili Bowl (one of Washington’s most famous restaurants).
What's the best thing about studying in D.C.?
My favorite thing about studying in D.C. is how liberating the city is. It is so easy to go anywhere within the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) area. You can take the metro out to the Potomac River and go paddle boarding, or you can take it down to U Street for a half smoke and some chili. Everyone in D.C. is also very friendly. I have never felt uncomfortable or scared to walk up to someone and ask for directions. People are always very willing to help others. Also, while many people may come to Washington not expecting it to be much different from wherever they are from, D.C. is like its own little country. It is so different from where I’m from in Connecticut.
How are you benefiting from the program?
Being in the city has made me so much more aware of others, my surroundings and myself. It has helped me grow and understand things so much more. Being a part of the Washington Semester Program, I feel as though I am much more prepared to go out in the real world after graduation. Having to go through the process of finding an internship, living in an apartment, and travelling everywhere on my own has made me a much more independent person.
What would you want to say to Uhart students who are thinking about studying off-campus?
Studying off-campus benefits you in ways you probably didn’t know it could. Coming here has opened my eyes to all types of people, new experiences, and has even helped me realize what I want to do with my life. I have no regrets coming here, and there’s no doubt in my mind that others who study off-campus will feel the same way. If you do choose to study off-campus here in Washington D.C., be prepared to leave with your mind, heart, and stomach full!
How was the Study Abroad Office helpful?
Like many people, I had no idea that I could do a semester off-campus while still staying in the country. The Study Abroad Office not only gave me all the information I needed to decide whether or not this was the program for me, but it has also helped me throughout the process by telling me exactly who I needed to talk to and what I needed to do before I left, and has kept me up-to-date on Uhart deadlines and things I need to do to make my transition back home as easy as possible.
Any other thoughts?
While I am sad to see my journey in D.C. coming to an end, I am excited for the new beginnings it will bring me. I have gained so much confidence and experience that I know will come in handy for whatever company I end up working for. I am excited to be able to demonstrate what I have learned!
Interested in studying off-campus like Samantha? There are dozens of countries around the world to choose from! For more information, contact Susan Carey in the Study Abroad Office: firstname.lastname@example.org