Calling all want-to-be politicos, lawmakers and city dwellers: If you're contemplating grad school, consider D.C. You may encounter some brutally humid summers and massive traffic as a grad student in D.C., but you will also reap the benefits of the historical sites and museums and the well-planned public transportation system.
Here’s what Rahul Gaitonde, 2010 graduate of the George Mason University School of Public Policy, has to say about graduate school in the nation's capital.
Why did you decide to attend graduate school in Washington, D.C.?
Practical Gaitonde replied, "my degree is all about politics and government programs and I wanted to be in a place where I could find a job easily but also where the action was happening."
What are the benefits to attending graduate school in D.C.?
"Since my program was in the afternoon and evenings, the classes were populated with people working in the government and various non-profits around town," Gaitonde explained. "In addition, it was easy to make contacts and learn about how things really work."
What are the drawbacks about living in D.C.?
"It’s an expensive city to live in and the competition for jobs is fierce. Everyone comes to Washington, D.C. not only from around the country but from around the world. In addition, everyone in D.C does multiple things: as a student I also worked on a number of research projects and held part time jobs," Gaitonde said.
What are a few things that non-D.C. prospective graduate students may find interesting to learn?
"The metro system is great in the city and traveling around town is quick via the bus and train which makes not having a car really easy," said Gaitonde. In addition, "during the summer the town gets invaded by interns from out of the area and there are a ton of blogs (http://dcinterns.blogspot.com/) about how the interns don’t understand D.C. etiquette; living in the city during the year you learn quickly how to dress and act properly so you don’t end up on the site." Consider yourself warned! Gaitonde also gave a shout-out to D.C.'s "great music scene" and "exploding" food truck scene. He believes, "you can eat better from one of the trucks than at many of the restaurants around town."