Haven Williams (LS/CAS 2019) returned to New York this semester after completing Liberal Studies' Fall Away program at NYU Washington, DC, during the nation's recent presidential election. Bound for the International Relations major in NYU CAS next year, Haven discusses how his study away experience prepared him for the future, which may include a job in politics someday.
Why did you decide to pursue Fall Away? I’d visited Washington, DC, when touring colleges, and I was really impressed. DC is built like a giant work of art and offers a rich history. I studied away to learn more about politics and to be closer to the federal government during the election. It was surreal to be so close to the action.
What was most memorable about living in DC during a presidential election? When in DC, you can’t be closer to the federal government. So during a presidential election cycle, you’re constantly engaged. From the debates, to the classroom discussions, to visits by congressmen and the Vice President to NYU DC, I was able to experience so much firsthand. In doing so, I marveled at the seriousness of the city and the sense of duty among the people during this contentious time.
Favorite moment of Fall Away? It was powerful to be in DC on the night of the election. Standing in front of the White House, in a crowd of passionate people engaged in the political process, I knew I was at the gates of history on that night.
What's the biggest difference between New York and DC? New York is the concrete jungle, and when you find order in that chaos, it’s exhilarating. DC is different, it’s much more orderly, accessible, and very friendly, but it also feels less adventurous. Living in both has been an incredible experience.
How do you think your semester in DC has prepared you for your career? While I was in DC, I interned for a congressman and was exposed to a variety of careers--consultants, press secretaries, legislative researchers, activists, lawmakers. Observing these occupations gave me insight into the the real skills I would need to pursue a variety of occupations. In general, studying and being immersed in the important topics of the day, and seeing how every decision has complex implications, I gained experience, knowledge, and confidence that will help me contribute to the conversations that shape our future.
Why did you select a major in International Relations? It is a collective of everything I love to study: mathematics, logic, history, current events, environmentalism, democracy and much more. The world is often a confusing and big place, but the skill set IR provides encourages me to critically examine society and the consequences of government’s actions.