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Living in D.C.

Where do CU students live in Washington D.C.?

CU in D.C. arranges group housing each semester so that CU students can live together, build community, and have a shared experience.  CU in D.C. students live in apartments or townhomes that are centrally located, are near to a Metro stop and public transportation, and that are located near a grocery store and other conveniences.  The program also ensures that students live in a safe D.C. neighborhood and that they live in secure and well-maintained housing.


I have family members who live in northern Virginia and I’d like to live with them for the semester.  Do I have to live in CU housing while I participate in the program?  Can I rent my own place?

We encourage students to live together in CU housing so that they can build a sense of community with other participants and so that they share in the full group experience.  But you are permitted to make alternative housing arrangements if you would really like to live with family nearby or rent your own place.  You will, however, need to demonstrate that the housing is within a reasonable distance from your internship and classes and that you have reliable transportation available.  You will also be required to provide the program will full contact information that specifies your location and housing arrangement.  To obtain program approval for living somewhere other than CU housing, please fill out the CU in D.C. Alternative Housing Form and submit it with your enrollment documents upon acceptance into the program.


Can I bring a car to Washington D.C.?

Washington D.C. has an excellent and convenient public transportation system that makes travel by car unnecessary.  So bringing a car to Washington D.C. is not prohibited, but it is strongly discouraged.  As with most major cities, driving and parking in D.C. is not for the faint-at-heart and can be a harrowing experience.  Fortunately, the city is designed to move the masses via public transportation and there are several options for getting to where you want to go.  The Washington Metro, a light rail subway system, has stops throughout the city and runs lines to outlying areas in Virginia and Maryland.  The Metro is convenient, safe, inexpensive, easy to navigate, and it operates from early in the morning until late at night.  Becoming a Metro rider and expert is part of the quintessential D.C. experience!

In addition to traveling by Metro train, there are numerous other transportation options in Washington D.C.  To travel within the city limits and surrounding areas, you can ride the extensive bus system or find a taxi on any corner.  Over the past decade, the city has become increasingly bike-friendly through the creation of new bike lanes; increased access to bike racks and storage centers; a new bike-share program; and by linking up biking infrastructure with public transit.  For biking enthusiasts, Washington D.C. offers a widespread network of bike paths for commuting within the city and to the surrounding areas.  If you would like to venture outside the city to destinations like New York City or Boston, you can take the Amtrak train from historic Union Station.  The Greyhound bus is also an option and has routes that link D.C. to several east coast cities.


Is Washington D.C. safe?

Yes.  In recent decades, crime rates have substantially decreased in Washington D.C., and the D.C. Metro area is regarded as a safe region.  Most crime in D.C. is highly concentrated in specific neighborhoods and a large percentage of crimes committed occur in only a handful of city blocks.  The district map is divided into four quadrants, and the Northwest (NW) and Southwest (SW) quadrants are generally considered safe areas, while the Northeast (NE) and Southeast (SE) quadrants are considered unsafe (although, the SE is changing and is fast becoming a hip area, with new apartment buildings and retail shops).  The heavily trafficked parts of NW and SW D.C. (where you find most museums, restaurants, hotels, shops, Federal agencies, and memorials) have low crime-rates and are lovely, secure areas.

When staying in Washington D.C., visitors should take the normal precautions they would take in any big-city environment.  Some standard safeguards are: travel in groups; do not walk home alone at night; avoid high-crime neighborhoods; be discreet with money; always be aware of your surroundings/the people around you; exude confidence/look like you know what you’re doing; lock your doors; program your cell phone with emergency phone numbers; and stay in well-lit and highly trafficked areas.  Please see our health and safety section of the website for further information.

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