Section 1

Why should I do this program?  Will it benefit a non Poli Sci major?

Illinois in Washington is enriching for students of all majors.  By participating in IIW, you will gain solid work experience, insight into your professional goals, and an understanding of the policy world in Washington, all while earning U of I credit.  If you are drawn to any element of Washington, you will enjoy this program.  Whether you are interested in communications, international affairs, the environment, politics, or a host of other topics, there is an organization in Washington that works on the issues you care about or uses the skills you are developing for your future career. IIW allows you to get a jump start on life after graduation.

What will I get out of IIW?

By participating in IIW, you will develop professional work experience, expand your understanding of DC, and identify future educational and career goals.  You will be mentored by a U of I alum and network with recent IIW grads.  You will participate in career development activities and have your resume professionally reviewed.  

Where will I intern?

Illinois in Washington doesn’t place students in internships.  We send you announcements of internship openings, advise you of organizations that work in your areas of interest, and review your cover letters and resume.  But it is up to you to apply to internships.  There is an organization for every interest in Washington, from education to human rights to business.  IIW students have interned in a wide variety of offices in Washington.

What if I don’t find an internship?

Every student who has participated in IIW has found an internship.  You need to plan to apply to internships early, when you are applying to IIW.  You also need to apply widely, since internships in Washington are competitive.  Summer is the most competitive time for internships, fall the least. In a handful of cases, students have found internships after arriving in DC.  IIW will alert you to internship openings and work with you closely to ensure your success in securing an internship.

Are internships paid?

Some internships in Washington are paid or offer a modest stipend, but most are not paid.  IIW cannot guarantee you a paid internship.  Your best chance of securing a paid position is to apply to internships very early (early fall for spring, January/February for summer, June for fall).

May I talk to someone who has done Illinois in Washington?

Please get in touch with us ( if you are interested in talking with IIW alumni about their experiences in the program.

Can I arrive before the start of the program or stay later?

Yes!  You may need to pay additional housing costs to WISH if your housing needs extend beyond our program.  

Where will I be living?

Illinois in Washington students live near Dupont Circle in shared apartment suites. Our accommodations through Washington Intern Student Housing are close to the White House, Embassy Row, K Street, restaurants, and shopping. Capitol Hill is a short subway ride away.

What will my schedule be like in Washington?

You will intern full-time during working hours at your internship site (for example, 9 to 6 or 8:30 to 5), Monday through Thursday.  You will have classes on Monday nights from 7 to 9 pm and on Fridays.

What should I wear to my internship?

Ask your internship supervisor.  Most offices in DC require either business dress or business casual.  For business, guys need suits and ties, or slacks, blazers, ties.  For gals, suits, dresses, skirts and blouses/sweater sets.  DC is a conservative town for dress, so err on the side of overdressed.

How much does all of this cost?

The cost of living is higher in DC than on campus.  Below is a rough estimate of semester costs for you to use as a guide.

Fixed costs:

Tuition: what you pay on campus, less a small portion of the fees (Visit for information on your tuition rate.)
Airfare: $500
Housing: $1100/month

Variable costs:

Meals: $700 to $2400
Books and supplies: $50
Local transportation: $250
Personal expenses: $400 to $1500

What classes will I take?

Visit the class section to view what classes are necessary