Katie Gao (Department of Health – AIDS.gov)

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” —Dorothy 


Since coming to DC and living here for the past week and a half, I’ve come to realize three things (amongst a few others):

  1. Efficient and effective public transportation is AWESOME.
    • Pro tip: When on the escalator, stand right, walk left.
    • I’ve never lived or worked in a city that had a subway system before, so whenever I’m in cities with metro stations I get excited since they’re usually quite efficient. You’re able to get from one part of the city to another relatively quickly without a lot of hassle, so that’s definitely a plus for city-living. Everything becomes very easily accessible, which is usually quite a challenge when trying to navigate through the concrete jungle.
  2. The city comes alive on the weekend when everyone is off work.
    • There’s so much to do in DC, especially on the weekend! Just last weekend I was able to listen to Jazz in the Garden, eat a sushi burrito for the first time, tour the National Mall, visit the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and White House, attend a Washington Nationals baseball game, view art at the National Gallery, go to the DC Pride Parade, and eat at Chinatown. It was an amazing first weekend in DC, and I definitely felt the pulse and vibrancy of the city.
  3. Everyone is very dedicated to their job and craft.
    • Everyone you meet is very dedicated and passionate. There’s a lot of youthful energy in the city; quite a few young adults have relocated to DC from other cities, so it’s awesome to see such a mix of people.
    • Additionally, in my own personal experience everyone that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting for work is extremely nice, attentive, and caring. I feel extremely fortunate that I get to work with amazing colleagues and coworkers who are genuinely passionate and inspired about what they do and want to help better society. It’s a great workplace environment with great people, and I feel very lucky to be able to be a part of it.




This is only my first week in, but I’m already excited for the rest of summer and what’s to come. I feel happy to be surrounded by great people like my coworkers, friends, and roommates, and I hope to continue to learn and grow throughout the rest of my summer here. Let’s go! 🙂

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” —William Faulkner


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