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Washington, D.C.

Semester Programs: Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C. you'll have the chance to put some legs on the ideas you've learned in the classroom at Calvin. Political science major or not, you can work with Career Services to find a place to gain viable experience in your field of study. And all this with the nation's capitol as the backdrop. You might work at CNN, the Canadian Embassy, the Department of Transportation, Amnesty International or even the White House—the possibilities are seemingly endless.

When you're not working or studying, spend time in the numerous museums of the Smithsonian Institute (all free of charge!) or find the exact spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. Just make sure to bring your walking shoes—you'll be glad you did.

Eligibility

You must have achieved a 2.5 grade point average to participate in the Washington, D.C. semester program. Please note that you do not need to a political science major to participate in the program.

Cost

This program cost will be will be finalized in November. The price will include:

  • Tuition
  • Room and board
  • Program-related cultural events

Additional expenses not included in the program cost: travel to and from Washington, D.C., books, independent travel and spending money.

Accommodations

You will stay with other Calvin students in a mansion between the Convention Center and Union Station and close to public transportation.

Courses

The prerequisite for the Washington, D.C. program is a one credit course taken in the fall semester, STDC 241: An Introduction to Washington, D.C. Enroll in this course once you have been accepted into the semester program in the previous spring.

In Washington, D.C., choose between two program tracks:

General Internship Program

STDC 344: Internship in Washington, DC
An internship experience, normally consisting of a four-day work week in a professional setting in the student's major field of concentration. The internship experience can be tailored to offer a wide variety of learning opportunities.
** Credit toward a major is granted at the discretion of the department concerned.
8 semester hours
STDC 343: Integrating Faith and Public Life: Acclimation and Advocacy
This course will focus on the role of religion in the public life of Washington, DC. Specifically, the course will examine how religious individuals and institutions of many faith traditions seek to affect the climate and content of policy making. The course will stress site visits to organizations that influence, study, and/or implement public policies in a variety of areas such as health, social services, security, economic development, and trade. Students will be challenged to compare and contrast the organization where they complete an internship with the institutions visited in this course, particularly in terms of organizational objectives and the role of religion in the organization’s mission. 3 semester hours
STDC 342: Special Topics in Public Life: A History of US Relations with Latin America
Poor Mexico, so far from God—so close to the United States." This Mexican lament has been echoed by many Latin Americans. Observers from the other side of the Rio Grande tend to view the proximity of the United States more as a blessing than a curse for Latin America. The truth is far more interesting than either point of view by itself suggests. Latin Americans are alternately tantalized by the political and economic success of the United States and appalled by its insatiable acquisitiveness and its boorish jingoism. To the U.S., Latin America represents variously a wide-open field for profitable investment, an object of missionary concern, and a potential base for hostile forces on its vulnerable southern border. How these two peoples have co-existed in amity, enmity, and mutual incomprehension for the last two centuries and what the near future may hold for that relationship is the topic of this course 3 semester hours

Social Work Practicum

SOWK 380: Social Work Practicum in Washington, DC
The social work Department allows a limited number of students to complete their social work practicums through the Washington, DC program. Interested students should contact Prof. P. DeJong, Practicum Coordinator, regarding department selection for this program. 10 semester hours
STDC 343: Integrating Faith and Public Life
This course will focus on the role of religion in the public life of Washington, DC. Specifically, the course will examine how religious individuals and institutions of many faith traditions seek to affect the climate and content of policy making. The course will stress site visits to organizations that influence, study, and/or implement public policies in a variety of areas such as health, social services, security, economic development, and trade. Students will be challenged to compare and contrast the organization where they complete an internship with the institutions visited in this course, particularly in terms of organizational objectives and the role of religion in the organization’s mission. 3 semester hours

Apply

Submit a preliminary application to the the Off-Campus Programs office by April 1 of the year before you'd like to participate in the program. Once your eligibility for the program is determined (within 1–2 weeks), you will be given access to an online application for the program. Apply by April 15 to be accepted for the following spring.

Please note: Students are encouraged to apply early (in the spring prior to their participation in the program), with early decisions about acceptance beginning at the end of May. Applications will be accepted through mid-September, as space in the program is available.

If you're a social work major, you should follow the same procedures and deadlines, but speak to your practicum advisor about participating in the program.

Contact

Program Directors Spring 2014
Chris Smit (616)526-8892
Lisa VanArragon (616)526-6637

Program Director Spring 2015
Dan Miller (616)526-6196

Social work practicum applicants contact:
Practicum coordinator
Professor Lissa Schwander
Phone: 616-526-6243
Email: lschwand@calvin.edu

Past and Future Program Directors

Spring 2011 - Beryl Hugen
Spring 2012 - Douglas Howard
Spring 2013 - Mickael Pelz

Metro D.C.

Location: Surrounded by Maryland to the northeast, northwest and southeast and Virginia to the southwest. Only an hour on public transit to Baltimore, Maryland.

History: Founded on July 16, 1790 by provision of the Residence Act for a permanent capital of the United States. George Washington chose the site for the city that measured 100 square miles (today it measures only 68 square miles).

Population: 588,292, but the weekday population rises to over 1 million people

Transportation:Metrorail and Metrobus provide excellent transportation within Washington, D.C. and the surrounding metro area. Check out their routes and use their Trip Planner to find out how you'll get from your housing location to your internship.

What to see: There are too many important sites in Washington, D.C. to list, but make sure to take advantage of the free admission at most D.C. museums.

Tip from past students: Given how much you'll have to walk, don't be afraid to wear sneakers or walking shoes with your internship attire on your way to work—everyone in D.C. does it.