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A Personal Experience:
Life in Washington

A major draw for many Hope students is the personal experience of living in one of the most cosmopolitan and exciting urban settings in the country. Washington, D.C., by virtue of its status as the nation's capital, is steeped both in rich American history and diverse international cultures. Many Washington Honors Semester students enjoy their experience so much that they move back after graduation, making D.C. one of the largest and most active centers of Hope alumni.

Living Independently

Washington Semester participants can choose either to find their own independent housing arrangements or live with the other Hope students in a program - arranged apartment complex. Students will gain the experience of commuting daily to work, shopping for groceries in an urban environment, and preparing their own food. In their free time, they can enjoy the capital's bustling nightlife or take advantage of the city's many free museums and attractions. Finally, there is a wide range of churches and denominations to worship at.

Transportation

While in Washington, students will learn how to navigate the city using the Metro mass transit system, which is convenient, safe, and inexpensive. One of the best and cheapest forms of transportation is walking, which is easy to do in a very compact capital city. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from Washington, though there are many inexpensive flight options into the city. Students also have the option of keeping a personal car with them during the semester.

Expenses

A student's expenses for the semester consist primarily of tuition, transportation costs, and personal expenses. Tuition to Hope College is the same rate as a regular semester on campus. Transportation costs include getting to Washington, and the use of the Metro system while in the city, which ranges from $30 to $50 per week. Some internships offer travel stipends.

Personal expenses in D.C. can vary quite broadly, although most students find them to be slightly higher than at Hope. For example, monthly rent is typically about $800 per student, which is billed to their Hope account if they are staying in the group housing arranged by the college. The cost of food varies depending on how extravagantly students choose to live, though they can save money by cooking for themselves. Similarly, some students may find it necessary to buy more professional clothing to wear for their internships, while others do not need to spend as much on their wardrobe.

Finally, participants also are required to pay a nonrefundable fee of $300 upon their acceptance into the program to guarantee their place in the program.

The financial expense is just one another aspect to consider and plan for when studying off-campus, although most alumni will say that their time in Washington was invaluable in every respect and more than worth the cost compared to a semester at Hope.

Approximate Costs for WHS 2012

Tuition (full time): $12,390 (billed to Hope account) (16 credits)
Activity Fee: $0
Crystal City Apartment/Furniture/Utilities: $3,700 (billed to Hope account)
Food ($75 per week): $1,200 (out of pocket)
Metro ($100 to $160 per month): $400 to $640 (out of pocket)
Total: $17,930

Extras:
Parking ($50 per month): $200
Cable ($30 per month): $120
Internet ($30 per month): $120
Transportation to D.C. ($220 roundtrip airfare): $220
Entertainment ($50 per week) $800
Wardrobe (suit/business attire): Varies
Total with extras $19,390

NOTE: A semester at Hope costs approximately $16,520. The food expense is variable. There is an Aldi store and a store that's comparable to D&W. Cable is an option - one group used a tv antennae and was fine with that. Internet is another option - there is Internet access in the lobby of the apartment complex. These few items should be decided by all of those in the apartment. Of course, if you don't drive, there is no parking expense. If you do drive, there is fuel expense for the car. Entertainment expense is whatever you want. There is a lot to do and see in D.C. with little or no cost.

 

In their own words...

"The semester was a substantial part of the process of my growing up and
helping me to focus. I became inspired to do more with my life."