Through the TFAS Capital Semester program, young leaders from across the globe spend 15 weeks gaining firsthand experience in the nation’s leading think tanks, policy groups, federal agencies and congressional offices. Many of these internships provide students with exclusive access to sites where crucial legislation is drafted and discussed each day. However, no office in D.C. is more elusive than that of the President of the United States. During the first week of March, Capital Semester students explored the official workplace of the president during a tour of the West Wing of the White House.
TFAS sponsored events like the West Wing tour have greatly complemented our studies and internships to provide the holistic Capitol Hill experience that is instrumental to future success.” – John Mark Haase ’20
Flinders University student Sebastian Davis ’20 said that the most memorable part of the tour was visiting the press briefing room, where the White House press secretary informs the media of important updates from the president.
“Seeing the press briefing room was a great experience,” Davis said. “Standing in the room where vital information is delivered to the nation was an incredible moment.”
Davis’ classmate, John Mark Haase ’20 from North Greenville University, agreed that visiting the West Wing served as a reminder of the influential decisions the president and his supporting staff make there each day.
“I have never felt so close to so many significant places or positions of power at one time, especially while in the Oval Office,” Haase said. “Having the opportunity to stand right outside where some of the most influential individuals make such significant and lasting decisions that affect the world was, to put it mildly, surreal.”
Haase also said that organized tours during the semester have enriched his TFAS experience. He believes that learning about D.C.’s historic landmarks is as integral to future success as academic courses and internships are.
“TFAS sponsored events like the West Wing tour have greatly complemented our studies and internships to provide the holistic Capitol Hill experience that is instrumental to future success,” Haase said. “I am very thankful to TFAS for presenting this opportunity, among others, and taking the time to ensure that myself and my fellow interns take advantage of it.”
Thank you to TFAS alumnus and White House Coordinator of Digital Response Joel Troutman ’13 for giving back to TFAS students and organizing this semester’s West Wing tour.