Final Reflections

As the program comes to an end, I’ve been thinking so much about the different activities and things that I was able to experience. I really did have a wonderful time. Back home, I work 60+ hours a week during the school year, so this DC trip was an amazing break from that. Even though our days were PACKED full of activities and I often found myself tired and SO hot, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. Let me reiterate though, it was incredibly hot, I’ve been to different places, countries, etc. that are hot; but for some reason, Washington DC was another level of hot! 

I am very thankful to have been able to explore DC, and really make it my home for the past three weeks. I found my favorite restaurants, and wow, did I eat a lot and spend a lot of money too! I was able to explore all different types of food! Here are some of my recommendations and reviews for food! I loved Le Diplomate for the atmosphere and the dessert. I also ate a Mastro’s which was the most expensive food I’ve ever consumed–but it was also incredible. I think my absolute favorite experience has to be, Gypsy Kitchen!! It was so incredible. Making D.C. my home also meant that I was able to learn the metro system like it was the back of my hand! And wow, it is actually super easy!! And staying in DC meant I had a lot to figure out in terms of budgeting! Our professor was able to put on a small seminar in which he spoke to students about smart financing, investing, and budgeting!

My favorite educational experience was the Anacostia community museum! I really enjoyed the staff as our guide was a native to the Anacostia neighborhood, the museum was also very interactive which I enjoyed! The museum switches exhibits a couple times a year, and while we were visiting there was an exhibit on food inequalities and disparities. I thought this was awesome because food is something that we all experience and that we all have a relationship with. There were some really eye opening visuals about how much food we waste and also about food deserts that are located in Washington DC. It was interesting to also learn about the gentrification of the Navy Yard, because our hotel was located in that same area! 

The most eye-opening moment on the program was the experience I had at the Holocaust museum. This was the most powerful experience I’ve ever had in a museum. Every part of the experience was impactful and intentional; from the beginning with the blood in the elevator, to the words etched into the glass as you left the exhibit! I left feeling very overwhelmed, upset, and really heartbroken over the horrors of the holocaust. I think that when I was in school, and while I learned the basics of the holocaust I did not truly understand what caused the holocaust and what really happened. It shocked me to realize how much hatred and messed up things occurred in the world, not that long ago. It made me really realize the power people have, and it made me think about what I can do personally to make sure this hatred is never able to take place again. 

Washington D.C. Global Gateway was a true blessing in my life. I am so proud of myself that I was able to participate. I am also so grateful for the people who helped by donating, encouraging, and supporting me in my journey. Washington D.C. will forever have a place in my heart.

Stephanie Benton