(Re)Visit: Washington, D.C.

At Cultural Vistas, immersive international experiences are everything; even after they’re over, we continue to learn from them. While new international experiences are not possible right now, we can still learn from our past experiences abroad.

Over two weeks, Cultural Vistas is sharing photos and reflections from our alumni through our (Re)Visit series. Each day, we will focus on a different country or U.S. state that transformed them. These photos stay the same, but our perspectives continue to change.

Thank you to our alumni for allowing us to highlight their stunning photography. We hope these photos inspire you to reflect, remember, and #ReVisit your own experiences abroad.

Washington, D.C.

As our last stop on the #ReVISIT series, today we return to Washington, D.C.

The home of our second office and the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. is where many of our U.S. exchange programs begin. Some of these programs include the Korea WEST exchange, the Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program, and the International Visitor Leadership Program.

Normally, this time of year, summer exchange programs start to begin. While we are not welcoming new visitors through our doors at the moment, here are some photos of D.C. taken by our alumni.

washington d.c. lincoln memorial

Decision-making travel to Washington, D.C.

Kwang Hee Chun
Korea WEST (2017)

“During my time in Maryland as an intern, I was given a choice, whether to extend my internship or to stop and fly back to Korea to finish my degree. This tough struggle went on for couple of weeks and at some point I decided to uncloud my thoughts. I occasionally take pictures to clears my mind, thus I took my camera and went on a day trip to Washington D.C. As I go through the beauty of Washington DC, I began realizing that this opportunity is not an everyday-given opportunity. If I go back to Korea, I might not be able to visit this place ever again, not in a way that I am feeling right now. I just sat on the staircase in front of Lincoln Memorial and gazed at the reflection of the monument and made up my mind: I am going to seize this opportunity, I am going to stay. I was Transformed by Travel.”

washington d.c. washington monument

Kevin Simacon
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2015)

“Traveling to the United States gave me a first-hand experience of American culture. The learning was so immense that I will always treasure it with all my life. The connection that I made is also never-ending.”

 

washington d.c. squirrel

Living every moment with the exploring excitements

Kwang Hee Chun
Korea WEST (2017)

“A Labor day off extended my weekend and left me nothing to do at home. My other friends were traveling around The US but I was expected to stay couch potato at home. I couldn’t keep myself still so my roomie and I decided to go for a walk in DC. It was one very calming day with nice breeze and sunshine. We sat on the bench in the park and just sat there for God knows how long.
With the sound of bird chirping I just closed my eyes and meditated. At some point, I realized two very important things about traveling.

First, I realized travel doesn’t necessarily include being in a physical site. Travel isn’t only about exploring new places or experiencing new things, It’s also about realizing how thankful you are for being who you are. You don’t have to fly all the way to the other side of the World to feel this.

Secondly, as I sat on the same place for quite a long time, I saw things that I couldn’t see it before. It’s not that it didn’t exist before, it’s just that I unconsciously refused to perceive. I was literally exploring my familiar surroundings. Give yourself a break, and look around you, you will recognize something new for the first time.”

 

washington d.c. u street

Reshaping my culture

Ani Hovhannisyan
Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program (2017)

“Being an international student in the United States means having the chance of taking your time to re-think about who you are in this big world, what are your strength and weaknesses, what makes you feel happy and sad, on what parts of your personality do you need to work more, how to meet the competition and challenges keeping your mindset positive and kind to people. DC life was a complete aloneness (not loneliness) period where I had enough space for my old personality to shape and carve new personality.”

 

washington d.c. lincoln memorial ducks

Nataliia Borozdina
Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program (2018)

“These little animals reminded me that a man cannot and should not be alone. The feeling of community is a very strong feeling. Being a foreigner often means that you do not belong to a community you are in. But these ducklings looked absolutely the same as the ducklings I had in Russia. If I don’t see any difference between them, I should spend more time in finding what can unite other people.”

 

washington, d.c. downtown

DC Evening

Ani Hovhannisyan
Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program (2017)

 

washington d.c. couple

DC Love

Ani Hovhannisyan
Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program (2017)

 

washington dc escalator

DC Metro

Ani Hovhannisyan
Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program (2017)

 

washington dc white house

White House

Ani Hovhannisyan
Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program (2017)

 

Morning jog

Stanislav Kulykivskyi
International Visitor Leadership Program (2017)

 

Friendship

Si Won Kim
Korea WEST (2018)

 

Art gallery

Muhammad Zarshan Zaheer Siddiqui
International Visitor Leadership Program (2017)

 

Truman building

Muhammad Zarshan Zaheer Siddiqui
International Visitor Leadership Program (2017)

 

Lincoln Memorial at sunset

Lisa Boehm
Train USA J-1 Visa Program (2018)

“Watching the sunset in Washington D.C. with the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II Memorial. It makes you realize how important freedom is.”

 

Are you remembering, reflecting, and (re)visiting your own experiences abroad? Share your story with us.

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Anthony Naglieri

For more than 15 years, Anthony has stewarded integrated communications for a diverse set of institutions – spanning everything from a major U.S. military academy and professional/collegiate sports entities to higher education and internally-minded NGOs and causes. Connect on LinkedIn

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