Washington Center

Spring 2023 FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions 

Last updated January 11, 2023

UCDC is very excited to welcome students to the nation's capital! Working, learning, and living in Washington D.C. is a transformative experience and we’re delighted to have another cohort join us in a few months. This page contains a wealth of information that all students should know before arriving in DC. Our priority is keeping our students, staff, and instructors healthy and safe. 

Housing and Student Services | Safety | Courses | Internships | Engagement

Questions about Housing and Student Services

What will living arrangements be in DC? Students can expect to live in four-person apartments. Each apartment has two bedrooms, each of which houses two people. Most students can expect to have one roommate and two apartment mates.

Who will I be living with? If you and one other person mutually requested each other, you will be assigned to reside with that person. You may also select two additional people (who must also request each other and request you and your selected roommate) to create a full apartment. We do not honor requests for 3 people in an apartment. Only requests for pairs will be honored.

If you do not have someone you want to live with (or if that person does not also request you), you will be assigned to a roommate and your apartment mates based on the preferences listed in your Housing Preference Form.

Am I required to live at the Washington Center to participate in the program? Yes. UCDC participants are required to live in our building, which is in a lively, centrally located neighborhood six blocks from the White House.

What if I need ADA housing accommodations while I live at the Washington Center? Contact Debbie Deas (Director of Student Services) at debbie.deas@ucdc.edu immediately so that we can do our best to meet your needs. If you are registered with the student disabilities office on your home campus, you should contact us as well. The accommodations you have there do not automatically transfer to DC; you must to inform them and us about your needs at UCDC. Please let us know what you need to make your time here successful.

Where can I find information about arriving in DC and moving into the Washington Center? Move-in dates are listed on the Academic Calendar. For detailed information about transportation, shopping, and getting settled in DC and at the Center, see our webpage for arriving students.

Can I have family or friends visit me while I’m in DC? Due to the pandemic, UCDC will maintain a stringent guest policy. Students are not permitted to have guests. This includes move-in weekend. Your loved ones are welcome to accompany you to DC, and they are welcome on the first floor of the building. They will not be permitted to go beyond the first floor or enter your living space.

What happens if I contract COVID-19 while I'm in D.C.? We have a protocol for testing, reporting, quarantine, and isolation. You can find details in our COVID-19 RequirementsNote: the protocol is subject to change as health and safety requirements and guidelines change. 

Will there be social programs so I can meet other UCDC students? Yes, and UCDC reserves the right to transition from in-person to virtual events as needed.  We will do our best to create an enriching social experience while adhering to safety regulations.

Will I be able to access Basic Needs resources at UCDC? Yes. Remote resources from your home campus are always accessible to you. Your home campus is the best place to start for your Basic Needs support. If you are not already connected to those resources, you should connect to them before you come to Washington D.C. As a supplement, UCDC operates a food pantry and provides other forms of assistance, to which you will have access. More information on Basic Needs can be found here.

What should I do about health insurance? UCDC strongly advises you to contact your insurance company's provider network to identify a local health care provider you can use while in D.C. There are local clinics near the Center, but you are responsible for determining where your insurance can be used. If you are not covered by family health insurance, we strongly encourage you to sign up for SHIP, if you're eligible. There are local D.C. providers who accept SHIP insurance, but it may be much more difficult to use MediCal in D.C.

We strongly encourage you to get 90-day prescriptions for any medications you may be currently taking and/or work with your doctor to transfer your prescription to a local pharmacy. We can help you identify pharmacies close to the building.

Are mental health services available at UCDC? Yes, mental health services are provided cost-free to UCDC students currently participating in the program. More information can be found here.

Additional questions? Email StudentServices@ucdc.edu for housing and other student services questions and BasicNeeds@ucdc.edu for basic needs questions.

 

Questions about COVID-19 Safety

Will I be tested for COVID when I get to DC? You will be required to test when you arrive at the Washington Center, even if you are vaccinated and boosted. We will provide rapid antigen tests for all students.

What precautions are being taken to minimize the risk of COVID-19 in the building? We have implemented many procedures to quickly identify cases and contain spread. Our current protocols for testing, surveillance, and masking can be found here. Contactless faucets and soap dispensers have been installed in all public bathrooms. Mandatory surveillance testing is required of students, faculty, and staff. We are in regular contact with the UC Office of the President’s risk management team and will comply with all DC Department of Health requirements.

Will vaccines be required for everyone in the building? The University of California has released its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine policy. In accordance with this policy, all students who plan to attend UCDC are required to be fully vaccinated (including boosters), with allowable exceptions. Proof of vaccination (or application for an exemption) must be provided to the relevant office on your home campus no later than two weeks before UCDC move-in.

What happens if someone in the UCDC building tests positive for COVID-19? All potentially exposed parties will be notified and contact tracing will occur. Students who test positive may be moved to a quarantine/isolation space in the building. A protocol will be distributed for meals and managing your internship and class commitments. Details about the protocol for students who test positive for COVID-19 can be found here.

How can I stay up to date on national and DC COVID information? We use the following websites for regular information about COVID health and safety recommendations and requirements. Please check them frequently for updates.

UC SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination and COVID Prevention Documents

 

Questions about Courses

Will classes be taught in person or remotely? UCDC is back to in-person classrooms. We continuously evaluate health and safety guidelines and update students if changes are necessary. We expect that masks will be required in classrooms regardless of vaccination status.

What can I anticipate from the courses being offered? All classes are small, seminar-style and are scheduled in three-hour blocks. Most seminars are offered during the day and electives in the evening. All internship organizations know that students require a day off to attend classes and office hours. Our courses are offered across the week to provide choices for our students depending on their internship schedules.

  • Seminars: All students are required to take one seminar, and one seminar only. These are writing intensive, requiring research and other writing projects. Other assignments vary and may include quizzes, presentations, infographics, video projects, and group discussions.
  •  Electives:
  • Semester students are required to enroll in one semester elective.
  • Quarter electives are truly elective and not required of quarter students. They are sponsored by UCLA or another UC campus; there may be a delay in the transmission of grades and a formal transcript to your home campus, which may be an important consideration, particularly for graduating seniors.
  • Elective course offerings vary from term to term. These courses may include midterm and final exams.

What courses will be offered? You can find information about seminars and electives on the Academics section of our website. You will find course titles and descriptions, faculty bios, and past syllabi to give you an idea about what to expect.

Who are the instructors and what will they bring to the classroom experience? Our instructors are experts in policy, government and media who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to UCDC courses. Most have been teaching in the program for years and are invaluable resources for connecting theory to practice in our classes.

How do I enroll in classes? An instructional email will be sent in advance. Enrollment is first come, first served. Classes fill quickly and space in any particular class is not guaranteed. All students are required to take a UCDC seminar; electives are optional for quarter students and required for semester students. If you have questions, please contact  the Academics Team academics@ucdc.edu).

What date will instruction begin? All instruction dates can be found here.

Can students be enrolled part-time in UCDC for internship credits only? No. All students must enroll in a UCDC seminar.

What if I have academic ADA accommodations? Contact your campus disability services office and ask them to send your accommodation letter to Professor Diascro, UCDC Associate Director and Academic DSP Liaison, at jennifer.diascro@ucdc.edu. When the term begins, Professor Diascro will share your letter with your instructor(s) and support them and you in providing the necessary accommodations.

For further questions regarding UCDC academics, please contact the Academics Team at academics@ucdc.edu.

 

Questions about Internships

Will internships be offered in-person or remote? More than three-quarters of the current term's internships are in-person or a combination of in-person and hybrid. We expect this trend to continue as more internships return to in-person based on local COVID-19 conditions and regulations.

Our team is in contact daily with hundreds of organizations in DC to update employers’ plans. It is important to remain flexible. An internship that begins hybrid may shift to in-person as the term progresses.

Currently:

  • In-Person. Roughly 70 percent of internships are offered in-person, with interns expected to report to a local office to work beside supervisors and other staff.
  • Hybrid. Roughly 20 percent of internships are offered as hybrid, combining both in-person and remote work for interns.
  • Remote. Roughly 5 percent of internships are offered remotely. Interns will work on projects from the UC Washington Center, either from their apartments or in work areas designated for interns at the Center.

If the organization I am applying to states that internships will be remote or hybrid, what kind of work will I do as an intern? Hybrid and remote assignments mirror those assigned in person. Projects vary based on the organization and could include research, analysis, news monitoring, social media management, or logistical support. Employers are encouraged to assign projects that relate to the goals of the organization and short-term projects helping with the day-to-day work of the office.

Where can I find a list of organizations offering internships (in-person, remote or hybrid)? We distribute a newsletter to students each Thursday with internship leads and pertinent details. 

What are the dates for the internships? Internships begin the same day as course instruction and dates can be found here.

How many hours per week are students expected to work? Generally, students intern 24-32 hours of work per week. Please check with your Program Administrator (contact info below) to confirm requirements for your campus. Schedules are determined by agreement between the internship supervisor and the student. Additional hours are permitted if both parties agree.

Are internships compensated? Some positions include compensation, though the majority are unpaid. You should review the description prior to applying and inquire about compensation during the interview with the organization. We encourage internship sites to offer compensation when possible. There are no restrictions on UCDC students receiving compensation while also receiving academic credit.

Who should I contact if I have internship questions? What should I do if I arrive in Washington, DC, without a confirmed placement? Members of the Academic Internship Team (AIT) are assigned by campus affiliation.  For further information, contact your Program Administrator:

 

Questions about Student Engagement, Networking, and Events

What other programming is planned? UCDC is more than internships and classes. We work with alumni to pair interested students with mentors in fields of interest and develop professional development workshops to help students convert their internships into jobs.  We offer a speaker series, to give students a chance to ask questions of policymakers, journalists, and lawmakers.

These events will be in-person. We will evaluate health and safety guidelines and update students as soon as we can.