Living in DC

So you’ve submitted the app, you GOT IN, and now for the big move to DC! The District was named the #4 best place to live in terms of metropolitan areas in the US, so you’ve pretty much hit the jackpot. But where to move? How much for rent? And what’s with the the weird area names? No worries, we’ve got your back! Here are some tips for looking for your next dojo in the DMV (Distict/Maryland/Virgina).

  1. Budget: Let’s face it, DC is great, but also pricey. Most students choose to live with roommates and rents on average range from about $900-$1,100/month (sometimes including utilities, sometimes not). If you find something between $800-$900, be cautious, but jump on it if it works for you! Looking to live alone? You’ll want to budget about $1,200+/month. And if you’re on the hunt for roommates, well, that’s what our Facebook page is for 🙂
  2. Don’t fear Craigslist, embrace it!: This is a great place to start your search for housing. You can narrow it down by price range, area, how many bathrooms you might need (maybe you need two, no judgement here!). The only thing to be weary of is an offer that looks too good to be true. Because $700/month in Chinatown IS too good to be true (and probably a scam…stay away!)
  3. CoHi? NoMa? What are these neighborhoods?: The District is split into 4 quadrants: NW, NE, SW, SE, each with their own distinct neighborhoods (Columbia Heights, Northern Market, Petworth, Bloomingdale, Adams Morgan to name a few). You really can’t go wrong with any of these places. However, students also live in places like Silver Spring MD and Arlington VA which are also metro accessible…speaking of which…
  4. What does metro accessible mean? Does it matter?: If you haven’t already, you’ll want to download a DC metro app (I like iTransDC) so you know where everything is at and how it’s connected. Luckily, if you don’t live near a metro station, MetroBus is the best way to get around for $1.85 and free transfers for up to 2 hours.
  5. But I have a car, forget public transport!: Hold up homie! Parking in DC is not cheap, and not all apartments or housing arrangements will coming with a parking space. If they do, you’ll have to pay for the permit that lets you park. On top of that, GW does not offer free parking to students, and if you’d like to park in the Elliott parking structure, you’ll be looking at $16 a day before 5pm or $12 after 5pm (keep in mind, all ESIA classes are after 5pm!). However….
  6. What’s with all the 2 person SmartCars?: Temporary ride services like Car2Go and Maven let you use a car only when you need it! Car2Go has a fleet of smartcars and Mercedes-Benz’s (for you high rollers) that you rent by the minute, hour, or day. And you don’t have to pay for parking!
  7. I don’t wanna drive in DC, is there anything else besides walking? You could Segway! Or more realistically, consider investing in a Capital Bikeshare membership if you don’t already have a bike with gears (beach cruisers won’t work in this town, I learned the hard way!). You can make free, 30-min one way trips anywhere in the city (and if your trip is longer than 30 min, just dock at a station, get a new bike, and start a new trip!)

While this is by no means the definitive resource for moving to DC, taking these tips into account will hopefully make your transition to the Beltway a little better. Happy Moving!


Meet Lyndia!

Lyndia is the Executive Assistant in the Office of Graduate Student Career Development (GSCD) at the Elliott School! Originally from Lapeer, MI, Lyndia is a 2nd year MAIA student whose capstone project is on the trafficking of refugees and migrants in Italy. She likes to bike and play card games like euchre. Her favorite places in DC are Meridian Hill Park, especially on Sundays when there’s drum circles, and the Botanic garden. She also likes to dress up as story characters when going to the movies with her friends (like when they saw Jurassic world, see far left!)

Say hi to Lyndia! She’s in GSCD at Elliott! 🙂


Have you met Yadira?

Hello everyone! My name is Yadira and I’m the new Graduate Admissions Counselor here in the Elliott School Grad Admissions Office! My duties in admissions include Visa processing for international students, local recruitment, managing our social media accounts, and always having snacks and candy ready for when the munchies strike 🙂

I was born & raised in San Diego and graduated in 2015 with a BA in Political Science from Sonoma State University. I worked for a year at the Elliott School’s Office of Graduate Student Career Development as the Assistant and have worked in Admissions since August of 2016 (so if you have a question about Elliott, there’s a good chance I know the answer).

I’m currently also a part-time student in the MA International Affairs program with concentrations in U.S. Foreign Policy & International Security Studies with a few of my classes focused on the Middle East (I’m going to Israel this summer for a class! Woot!)

I enjoy eating (pizza), drinking (anything but kombucha), and being merry (with friends, Netflix, a large pizza).  Come say hi sometime! 🙂



Current Student Highlight: Chris Hicks

chris hicks

Meet Chris – He is a first year student in the MAIA Program where he is focusing on International Development and Latin American Studies. Here he tells us what brought him to Foggy Bottom and how his first year has gone so far.

I had always wanted to do a Master’s program in International Affairs since I was an undergraduate in Michigan at Grand Valley State University, but I took a rather long and winding road to get here as I kept refining what exactly it was that I wanted to pursue – from international business and economic development to diplomatic service, and finally, educational development, which is what landed me here at George Washington University.

I had interned with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s local Export Assistance Center as an undergrad and went on to working in sales after graduation. However, a little less than two years after graduation I made the decision to move to Peru to teach English. This, in turn, morphed into coordinating academic and intercultural exchanges – first in Peru, then in Costa Rica and Guatemala – and this is where my interests started to coalesce around promoting these exchanges and the value they bring.

From there, I knew the starting point for anything “international affairs” would be in Washington, D.C. – especially so when it came to intercultural and educational exchanges where there are countless NGO’s and government offices here involved in just that (In fact, I’m still able to teach English as a volunteer for a local NGO that helps immigrants prepare to take their naturalization exams). After that, I narrowed it down to George Washington University based on its faculty, the flexibility its International Affairs program offered someone like me, and finally its proximity to those NGOs and government agencies involved in international education. What didn’t factor into my decision at all – but I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with – was how many different things there are to do and places to go in and around D.C. – outside of the typical tourist loop. There are so many distinct neighborhoods within the District and, of course for me, an amazing range of restaurants all over the city. There are also countless community interest groups active around the city that you can join either professionally or just for fun. As for me, I am involved in some Latin American interest groups and language exchanges to keep up on my Spanish since moving back to the U.S.

For all the reasons I just mentioned, I couldn’t be happier I chose to study at Elliot – and in Washington, D.C. in general. The faculty is made up of both academics and practitioners and they are the ones on the news, giving talks both at GW and at various other organizations around D.C. and generally informing debates and shaping policy. The program itself lets me focus generally on both Latin America and Development while drilling down further in these areas into Central America & Mexico and Educational Exchanges in particular. Finally, for anyone not familiar with D.C., there are literally too many events from countless organizations for one person to go to no matter what their interests are – and they are almost all completely free. All of these factors make Foggy Bottom the easiest place in the world to get involved, get informed, and keep busy.

Elliott School Evening Information Session


Join us at 6:30 PM for an information session with our graduate admissions counselor! The session will last an hour, and will cover programs, admissions and application tips, study abroad, career, faculty, research, and funding! At the end, students can get all of their questions answered.

This is a great opportunity for DC’s working professionals to learn about our evening course offerings and how an Elliott graduate program can make a difference in your career.

Register here, or feel free to show up and we can register you at the door! Information sessions take place at our office, 1957 E Street NW, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20052!



Now is the best time to apply for additional tuition scholarships!


Now is the best time to explore, and apply for, additional fellowship opportunities to help offset the cost of a graduate program. While students are automatically considered for ESIA fellowships so long as they apply by our January 7th deadline, there are additionals funds students can make separate applications for.

At GWU, there is an entire office dedicated to compiling funding sources for GW students, that Elliott School students and applicants qualify for! Be sure to explore the Office of Graduate Student Assistantships and Fellowships in-depth.

*It’s worth noting that many fellowship opportunities have deadlines that occur PRIOR to learning an admission decision. You will want to be sure to apply by the deadlines listed on the GW Fellowship page. Most fellowship opportunities will notify you AFTER you’ve heard your admission decision. 

Additionally, we encourage students to explore outside opportunities for funding. A great place to start is by visiting the Association of Professional Schools in International Affairs (APSIA).

Below are a few of the opportunities that can be found on our website:

Opportunities for U.S. Citizens and/or Permanent Residents:

  1. Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Academic Year and FLAS Summer Fellowships (Deadline: February 1st @ 12:00 PM)
  2. Americorps Matching Award (Rolling Deadline)
  3. Grad2Grad, for current GWU undergraduate students (Rolling Deadline)
  4. McNair Fellowships (for students who were McNair fellows as undergraduates)
  5. Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program
  6. Scottish Rite Endowment Graduate Fellowships
  7. The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program
  8. Walter Green (Deadline: March 10, 2017)
  9. Wolcott Foundation Fellowship, students must have a 3.8 GPA or higher to be considered (Deadline: January 31st)

Opportunities for International Students:

  1. Global Leaders Fellowship (Deadline, February 5th, 2017)
  2. Humane Studies Fellowships 
  3. Carlos Slim (for students from Mexico)


There are many opportunities available, and these are not limited to what is provided on our website. We strongly encourage all applicants to explore and review as many sources as possible. Be sure to check our website for up to date opportunities as well.


Submitting Your Application: Reasons Not to Panic!

We understand that this week is stressful for many of you that are submitting applications to graduate school! Don’t worry- the Elliott School’s got your back! Based on phone calls and emails that we’ve received, we wanted to address some common concerns.

Application Processing:

Due to the high volume of applications we receive, it typically takes one to two weeks to process an application. Each item of your application is checked by a member of our team, and the process is entirely manual. If your status hasn’t changed, or your checklist appears incorrect, be sure to give it a little bit of time, as a member of team is probably getting to it soon. Oh how we wish it was instantaneous! 🙂


Once you submit your application, a checklist will appear in your application portal that updates you on the receipt of application items. A few quick tips:

  1. Unknow School is listed in your checklist (how mysterious of us!):
    • This is listed for a reason. It’s because you have transfer credits listed on your transcript, that do not include a grade. We require transcripts for each grade/credit you have received, regardless of when the course(s) was taken.
    • Yes, it’s relevant. Yes, it’s required. 🙂
    • Transfer credits may include the following: Community college coursework, study abroad coursework, language coursework, etc.
    • If you list any additional education in your resume, these will also be added to your checklist and require transcripts or letters of attendance.
    • If you participated in a program that did not give you credits or grades, please plan to provide official documentation from the organization stating your participation.
    • If you believe a mistake has been made, call us, and we’ll explore it together.

Letters of Recommendation:

Once you add your recommender information, and submit your application, your recommenders will receive a link that allows them to upload their letters. Once you submit your application, you can view your Checklist to see who has, or has not, uploaded their letters. Please be aware your checklist may not be updated right away.

If you’re experiencing problems, please try these first prior to emailing or calling:

  1. Your Recommender did not get the upload link:
    • Log back into your application portal and resend them the upload link from your checklist- “send reminder”. Please be aware, this can only be done once your application is submitted.
    • Ask them to check their spam folder, and verify the email account with them
  2. You want to edit/change your recommender information:
    • Log back into your application portal and edit/change/delete this information in your checklist. If a recommender has not been able to submit a letter on your behalf, there are options to “send reminder” or “change recommender”, next to their names in your checklist. If a recommender has already submitted a letter, this information cannot be edited.
  3. If these do not work, please have your recommender email their letters directly from their email address to, and we will upload the letter for them.

**Please note, having your recommender upload their letters via the link is the fastest way for the letter to appear in your application. If we upload the letter, it may take up to a week for it to appear in your application.

Test Scores:

If you have sent your test scores to our institution code (5246) prior to submitting your application, please be aware that this is also not an instantaneous sync (trust us, we wish it was!). Your application and test scores begin their journey to “find♥” each other. Imagine that your application and test scores are both on Tinder. They just need to swipe right. This can take a couple days. A few important things to note:

  1. After you take the test and use our code at the testing center, scores can take up to 15 days to reach our institution.
  2. Once you request a test score to be sent to us via an online portal, it can also take 10-15 days to reach us.
  3. We cannot accept unofficial score reports emailed or uploaded by an applicant.
  4. If after 15 days, you still don’t see your test scores in your checklist, be sure the name you used on your test and the name you used on your application are the same. If they are not, please email us to explain the discrepancy so we can sort it out.

Fellowship Deadline:

You have until 11:59 PM EST to submit your application to be automatically considered for fellowships. That being said, there is a tiny window of wiggle room to have remaining items reach your application after this deadline. Plan to have all of your application materials submitted within one week of this deadline (test scores, letters of rec, transcripts, etc.).

Email Response Time:

Guys. We have like, a billion (∞ not really) emails. We’re happy to have so many emails, and we’re working overtime to get them answered, attach materials to your applications, etc. We REALLY appreciate your questions and your patience. So just know, you’ll get an answer, it just may take a few days! If you have a question that needs an immediate answer, please call us at 202-994-7050 so we can address it right away.


We can’t wait to review your applications!


The ESIA Graduate Admissions Team

Current Student Highlight: Kira Li


My name is Kira Li and I’m a first year graduate student for the IA program. Prior to coming to Elliott, I studied international development studies at McGill University in Canada and my undergraduate experience had taught me a great deal about developmental issues and the significance they play in making our world a better place. Later on, I had an opportunity to work at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada as an intern for a short while. This experience further fueled my passion toward international affairs as I learned about how we as individuals can contribute to promoting global interactions and bridging the world together. Thus I decided to pursue a master’s degree in international affairs during my last year in undergrad.

The Elliott School was definitely one of my top choices for the excellent program and incredible opportunities it offers. Being located in the center of DC grants the school access to government agencies, international organizations and tons of awesome opportunities pertaining to the field. Although I’ve only finished my first semester here, I already see the improvement in myself. From the theoretic based cornerstone course to having high profile guest speakers over to share their professional experiences, I managed to get valuable insights on international affairs related issues. After graduation, I would like to work at NGOs and probably private firms as well.

Next semester, I will be doing an internship at the Canadian Embassy in DC. I’m very excited for this opportunity and also what my next semester at the Elliott can offer me. It has been a wonderful experience at GWU and I’m learning stuff everyday J

So, as the end of semester is drawing near (can you believe 2016 is almost over?), I just wish everyone enjoy the last month of the year. And most importantly, hope finals treat us all well :’)


Elliott School Fellowship Deadlines Approaching!

Hello Prospective Elliott Students!

Our Fall 2017 application deadline to be considered for tuition scholarships is approaching quickly!  Be sure to submit all required application materials no later than 11:59 PM EST on January 7th to be considered for these merit-based opportunities.

It’s a great idea to begin researching additional GWU Fellowship opportunities that you can make separate applications for. Be sure to check out our Funding Your Education Page for additional opportunities.

The Office of Graduate Student Assistantships and Scholarships posts opportunities for both international students and U.S. citizens/ permanent residents!

Be sure to pay attention to any deadlines, as many additional fellowship opportunities have deadlines in early winter. 


Hey, Europe! We’re coming your way!

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Meet us in Europe!


November 8th: Berlin– Hertie School of Governance from 6 PM – 8 PM

Register for Berlin:


November 9th: Paris– Science Po from 6 PM – 8 PM

Register for Paris:


November 10th: Stockholm School of Economics from 6 PM – 8 PM

Register for Stockholm:


Join us for Fall Open House!


The Elliott School Open House will begin with opening remarks from the Admissions team and feature a current student panel covering a range of topics including: Graduate Career Development, Study Abroad, Professional Skills Courses, Capstone, Fellowships, and Life as an Elliott student.

There will also be a reception in the City View Room in which prospective students can mingle with Program Directors and Program Assistants from each of our graduate programs, as well as other faculty, staff, current students, and alumni.

You will have ample opportunity to learn about everything the Elliott School has to offer, as well as ask questions directly to faculty, current students, staff, and alumni. Come join us!


Date: Tuesday, November 15th

Time: 6:30 PM- 8:30 PM

Location: 1957 E St. NW, Washington, DC, 20052

Room: Lindner Family Commons, 6th Floor

Register HERE!

We’re traveling to a city near you!

Date City Fair Details
September 20 Philadelphia, PA Philadelphia Idealist
September 21 Orem, UT Utah Valley University
September 22 Provo, UT Brigham Young University
September 22 Boston, MA

Chicago, IL

Boston Idealist

APSIA Chicago 

September 23 Salt Lake City, UT University of Utah/Westminster
September 27 Washington, DC DC Idealist
September 28 Charlottesville, VA University of Virginia
September 28 Upstate, NY Cornell and Ithaca
September 29 Upstate, NY Binghamton and Syracuse
September 29 Houston, TX Houston Idealist
September 29 Williamsburg, VA William and Mary University
October 4 Minneapolis, MN Minneapolis Idealist
October 5 Chicago, IL Chicago Idealist
October 6 Princess Anne, MD University of Maryland Eastern Shore
October 10 Seattle, WA Seattle Idealist
October 17 Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles Idealist
October 18 Tallahassee, FL Florida State University
October 19 San Francisco, CA San Francisco Idealist
October 20 State College, PA Penn State University
October 25th East Lansing, MI Michigan State University 
October 27 Bethesda, MD National Collegiate Security Conference
November 2 Tucson, AZ University of Arizona
November 3 Tempe, AZ Arizona State University
November 8 Berlin, Germany APSIA Berlin at the Hertie School
November 9 Paris, France APSIA Paris at Sciences Po
November 10 Stockholm, Sweden APSIA Stockholm 
November 15 Washington, DC Elliott School Open
House at GWU
November 16 ONLINE APSIA Virtual Fair
November 19 Seattle, WA NW Model UN
November 22 Chicago, IL AMUN Conference Chicago

Meet our Executive Assistant, Yadira Molina!


I was born and raised in San Diego, CA and went to Sonoma State University (SSU) where I graduated in 2015 with a degree in Political Science. Before Elliott, I had the opportunity to live in DC during my senior year for a research internship at the University of Maryland and congressional internship with Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) through the Panetta Institute for Public Policy. I was convinced I had to come back, and moved to the District in August of 2015 to work full-time at the Elliott School’s Office of Graduate Student Career Development. I now work at the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions, as the Executive Assistant (you may have already gotten emails from me, come say hi! :). I will be working with you through the application and admissions process, and look forward to (hopefully) meeting you at some point!

The Elliott School was my top choice for grad school because of the incredible location, faculty, and connections to various employers and organizations throughout D.C. and nationwide. After receiving my degree, I hope to work in the field of U.S.-Middle East policy making as it pertains to Israeli-Palestinian relations.

This past summer, I took professional skills courses as a way to dip my feet back into school before classes began. I am also excited to be planning a trip to Europe for this winter! In my free time, I like to make mix CD’s, write letters, eat pizza, and text my younger brother Sebastian, who, at 11 years old, is taller and cooler than I am.

Yadira D. Molina

M.A. International Affairs

Concentrations: U.S. Foreign Policy and International Security Studies