Nicholas Pidd Unique Start to Washington Internship Program 2023

A unique start – 7th of January 2023 (photo Elian Rasekhi, Louis Polkinghorne and Nicholas Pidd in front of the US Capitol Building).

Landing in Washington, for the Washington Internship Program 2023, on the 2nd of January felt almost unreal. Even though I’d already spent a week in the US, actually walking past the Capitol as I hauled my suitcase to the group accommodation finally made it sink in that I was actually here. It feels like only yesterday that I got the email saying I had been accepted to do this fantastic internship opportunity. My first week of the Washington Internship Program has been overwhelming and interesting to say the least. It has definitely presented some unique learning curves, getting accustomed to the unique bipolarisation within the American political parties being one of them.

The most extraordinary event so far has been witnessing the historical vote for the House Speaker for the new term of Congress. On the first day of my internship, a new Speaker was supposed to be elected for the House. This was expected to be the Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy, but in-party fighting among the Republicans has made it difficult for McCarthy to gain the majority of votes that he needed from his party. This has made my first week on Capitol Hill extraordinary to witness. Interning within a Republican office as employees openly discussing their views and overhearing them say “oh what not Donald’s again” and “another vote”. Even constituents have called constantly presenting their views “Please don’t let Bilirakis vote for McCarthy” or “He should stand his ground!”. Definitely not something I expected in the first week.

With our first week coming to a close (and still no House Speaker elected), I am excited to see what awaits us for the next seven weeks we are here. If the current unfolding of events is anything to go by, then the first two months of the new Congress are sure to be tumultuous. Learning and discovering the unique dynamics of US politics and being so close to history unfolding is definitely something to behold and will forever remain a treasured memory.

Below:  Nicholas Pidd in Representative Gus M Bilirakis’s office





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