The Yappie’s Guide for AAPI Interns in Washington, D.C.
Do you want to survive — and thrive — in our nation’s capital this summer? Here’s how.
By Andrew Peng
Editor’s Note: You can access a 20-page printable version of this guide here. This guide also assumes that you have passed all security background checks for your internship, and have been provided with appropriate clearance if applicable.
Dear fellow intern,
First off, congratulations. You are about to live and work in our nation’s capital, something that most students — especially students of color — can only dream of.
The mixed emotions that you may be feeling about this opportunity are normal. Before I began my internship at the U.S. Department of Education last summer, I was intimidated and scared. There were so many unknowns about D.C. and I struggled to figure out the metro system, clothing, and even where to find my next meal. My introverted nature also made it difficult to network and hold conversations — something that is usually a deal breaker in this city.
But the internship turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life, and it transformed my professional development for the better. My three supervisors treated me with respect and provided flexibility to pursue unexpected opportunities. Over two months, they made every effort to connect with me — providing guidance based on my interests, personally introducing me to dozens of connections, and bringing me to their favorite “secret” sandwich shop. After my time with them ended, they brought me back to D.C. just a few months later for a paid opportunity and encouraged me to continue public service.
My supervisors made sincere efforts to help me succeed, and I want to see you succeed in your role as well. That’s why I’ve collaborated with other former and current interns to create this guide and a Facebook support group to make your time here more enjoyable. All we ask is that you reflect on why you are here — and consider ways that you can support the next generation of Asian American interns.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who took the time to contribute, edit, and fact-check behind the scenes. This was a collective effort that involved students, journalists, and D.C. professionals. I am deeply grateful for your support.
Part 1: Budgeting (💸)
Don’t want to go broke? Exercise caution and live within your means
Part 6: Workplace Behavior (💼)
Gear up for success during your summer-long job interview