Semester In D.C.

My Time In The Nation’s Capital


Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Sophia Rosenkranz.

The Capitol is one of many sites Rosenkranz visited. Photo courtesy of Sophia Rosenkranz.

Moving to Washington D.C. for the semester, learning with and from 24 peers from all over the world, and engaging in discussions about global and domestic affairs has been my life for the past two months. 

My time in Washington D.C. has consisted of learning about foreign policy, learning about the country, learning about my peers, and learning about myself. 

I attend a Semester School for high school juniors that has a focus on foreign policy, politics, and current events: The School for Ethics and Global Leadership.

Each week we have a case study that explores one topic in depth. We focus on that topic through research and through conversations with guest speakers. Guest speakers provide perspectives to help us understand the many aspects of the topic. These can range from issues discussed in the Supreme Court, the Capitol, or around the world. 

One case study that we participated in was Speechwriting. To begin, we looked into different political speeches given in the past and present. We then analyzed them and discussed different techniques that are used in each of the speeches to better understand how to craft a speech. We had the opportunity to welcome a former executive branch speechwriter, and write our own speeches.  

Week days are filled with classes and conversations, often connecting to our case study. During the school day we also take science and math classes, as well as history and English. The curriculum for each of my classes is separate from that week’s case study. However, there is always an angle to tie in the case study to our class and begin discussions there. 

 Weekends consist of exploring Washington, D.C. in meaningful ways, such as visiting museums like the National Gallery of Art and walking through the National Mall. Washington is filled with interesting monuments and memorials all over the city. It is an incredible opportunity to be in our nation’s capital witnessing history happen.

The physical environment I have been living in also helps us understand the geographical landscape of D.C.. Washinton is divided into four quadrants, and navigating the city has been a vital component of my program as having D.C. as our classroom is a part of my learning this semester. 

As the school has a focus on foreign affairs and politics, policy changes as well as decisions impacting the world are incorporated in our learning. For example, we have had time to discuss Ukraine and Russia. We follow the news closely and carve out time almost everyday to discuss new updates on the crisis in order to better understand the conflict. 

I am immersed in a city of politics and history, and I look forward to continuing to learn about every significant corner and street and everything in between. Every block I walk has a new story to tell.