Written by Caleb Ashley – Program Advisor, Operations
When I joined The Fund For American Studies (TFAS) program, I did not know what to expect. I had interned in D.C. before, but the TFAS program seemed different than my previous internship because of the combination of professional, social and academic activities. A few weeks into my summer, I realized that TFAS was special. The program truly felt like a community and provided students with opportunities that they would not have had elsewhere.
While participating in TFAS, I interned at a think-tank, Citizens Against Government Waste. I got the chance to do in-depth research on how the U.S. government spends its money, and how Congress handles appropriation bills. This amazing internship helped me become a better writer and helped me to communicate my thoughts to others more clearly. The people in my office went out of their way to get to know all the interns and even threw a party for us our last day at the site. I have been able to take the skills I learned from CAGW and apply them to my academics, and now this summer at TFAS.
As you know, TFAS is more than just internships, and during your time at TFAS you will get the chance to take classes with prestigious professors and attend various events and visit places like The Hill and the Federal Reserve. I got the opportunity to participate in a site briefing at the State Department, where I made connections with employees and learned about the organization’s multifaceted role in international relations. As someone that had read extensively about the State Department, it was fascinating to go inside the building and hear about what they do on a day to day basis.
TFAS also arranged various optional social and cultural experiences for students to attend. My favorite was the trip to Mt. Vernon. My roommate and I both decided to go, and we were both blown away by the place George Washington called home.
I also enjoyed going out with my friends and exploring the city on the weekends, there is so much to do. There are moments when you need to take a break and relax, but I am pleased that I usually prioritized going out and exploring while I was in the program.
Overall, I appreciated the balance that TFAS provided. It gave me a chance to take challenging classes, work at an awesome internship, and do cool social events with awesome people. I do not think that many programs can provide that combination of activities, and I am excited to have the chance to help other students experience TFAS this summer.