Uncharted Territory

Elizabeth blogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Elizabeth Householder

As I write this, it is now my second official snow day. As a California native who never really ventured too far from home, I must admit this is still all amazingly surprising and surreal, to say the least. The first time I saw snow was last week. I was so shocked I halted in my tracks in awe to watch the first little snowflakes fall from the sky. Little did I know those cute little snow flakes would turn into a blizzard that would trap us all inside for four days, but hey, I guess you should be careful what you wish for!

Walking in the streets after the blizzard finally ended… SO MUCH SNOW!

Walking in the streets after the blizzard finally ended… SO MUCH SNOW!

5 Continue reading


Washington DC: Reconnecting with a Familiar Space

Gurchit blogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Gurchit Chatha

In 2014, after having just transferred to Cal, I decided I’d take it upon myself to independently apply for an internship in Washington, D.C. and begin dabbling in the political world. Though I had a stellar experience interning for Congressman Mike Honda, because I was on my own, I was forced to rely on personal finances and limited funding from the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) to manage the hefty costs associated with living in D.C. In retrospect, boy was that a huge mistake! DC’s housing costs climb every year, eating out averages around $15-20 per meal, and keeping up with the city’s chic fashion trends is no poor man’s task.

A couple of friends and I got our Library of Congress Researcher cards!

A couple of friends and I got our Library of Congress Researcher cards!

Fast-forward two years, and here I am again embarking on another journey in DC, this time interning at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Effective Public Management as part of the Spring 2016 UCDC class. Thankfully, however, with lessons learned from the past come greater prospects for the future: I remain grateful to UC Berkeley and generous donors like the ones that make the Matsui Center Fellowships possible for helping me finance my stay in D.C. It’s no understatement that financial stability has great effects on one’s mental health, and thus, being able to perceive these next few months through the lens of a worry-free college student is a privilege in it of itself. Continue reading

Goodbye for Now, DC

Lucy headshot for blogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Lucy Song

I spent my last night in DC eating Ethiopian food with my intern friends, and the weather was mild enough for my friend and I to take a stroll around Embassy Row, the Potomac River, and Georgetown. Between saying goodbyes to friends, working on term papers, and wrapping up my internship, it wasn’t until my last day in DC when I realized how much I would miss being able to walk around the National Mall everyday, live a few blocks away from the White House, stop by the numerous Smithsonian museums at a moment’s notice, and immerse myself in the DC atmosphere. Continue reading

Part 4: This Is Only The Beginning

Ozi for blogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Ozi Emeziem

There is something oddly terrifying about becoming a ‘grown up.’

As a kid, I aspired to it.
It is access to an unknown world and it is enticing.
With each year, I suddenly get closer.
My responsibility expands, my knowledge grows, my dependence shortens.
Yet, excitement soon evolves into fear as I realize that things don’t ‘just happen.’
By college, I diagnose myself with a phobia for change, stagnation, and failure.


D.C. is my chance.
There is a magic about the city, a flair that words cannot justly describe.
When walking the streets, purpose becomes evident – you are in a place of wonders.
A friend describes it as a movie set, it’s not real, and is meant to serve moments rather than be the place where one chooses to settle down…
It has given me the right moments to move forward in my life with a zest for opportunities and action.

I am terrified of adulthood.
But this is not an end, it is merely the beginning

Ozi Emeziem is a senior at UC Berkeley, studying comparative literature and ethnic studies. She is currently interning with the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Which Coast is Your Coast? A Comparison between NorCal and DC

Lucy headshot for blogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Lucy Song

In the past few months, a lot of my peers at the UCDC program and myself included have been debating between staying in the Bay Area after graduation, soaking under the glorious year-around sun and eating 99-cent avocados, or moving to the East Coast, experiencing actual seasons and living a more fast-paced life.

Alas, I thought I would write about something different this month. Since I have been in DC for almost three months, that makes me a semi-expert, right? Here is my comparison of DC and NorCal that might offer some suggestions if you ever consider living in DC! Continue reading

Part III: Fast-Paced City Life

Ozi for blogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Ozi Emeziem

Since I last wrote, my time in D. C. seems more eventful than what I thought it could possibly be. I have been tired often, however, it is actually really enjoyable to stay on my feet! As I said in my last post, my birthday passed and one of my best friends spent the week with me, which was such a nice reminder of home without actually having to go home. We spent a lot of time at the monuments and memorials, but our favorite was our visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. It was a special day as it was the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March, so when we made it to the memorial, we met plenty of people from around the country who came to celebrate including some of my friends from Berkeley! The MLK memorial is beautiful. My favorite part are the engraved quotes from Dr. King…definitely words that will sit with me. I also got to finally visit the National Zoo as both of us love animals. In fact, we went there three times in her short stay! Continue reading

DC Musings

Lucy headshot for blogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Lucy Song

I cannot believe that an entire month has passed since my last blog. Time sure flies by quickly around here! Many exciting things have happened since the end of September, and I am happy to say that I am really starting to like this city. Sometimes (and at the risk of being slightly creepy), as I pass by quaint little apartments lined up neatly on the streets with their fancy fall decorations, I can even imagine myself living and working here in the near future.

Compared to my life at Berkeley, where I have the regular schedule of going to lectures, sitting at FSM for hours, attending club meetings, and hanging out with friends, life in DC feels a lot more exciting as my schedule is a lot more unstructured and unpredictable. Sometimes I would hear about an interesting conference 30 minutes before it starts and attend it spontaneously, and sometimes my friends and I would suddenly decide to go on serendipitous outings. Continue reading