Nyasha Gandawa (B'23) poses for a photo at the Library of Congress.
Category: Student Experience

Title: An Inside Look at Living in Downtown DC as a Georgetown Student in the CALL

Growing up in his native Zimbabwe and attending high school in Armenia, Nyasha Gandawa (B’23) has always been attracted to a global education. 

With dreams of becoming an economist at the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank, studying at Georgetown and living in Washington, DC, was a no-brainer for Gandawa.

“The location of Georgetown being in Washington, DC, brought about a really great opportunity for me,” Gandawa said. “I was interested in being a part of a historical narrative.”

After spending his first three years on the Hilltop, Gandawa took advantage of an opportunity to live even closer to the epicenter of national policymaking for his final two semesters.

Gandawa is part of the Capitol Applied Learning Labs (CALL) at Georgetown, in which undergraduates spend a semester living and taking classes in downtown DC. As part of the program, CALL students also undertake professional experiences — from internships to research programs and entrepreneurial ventures — to help them pursue and discover their own professional interests.

Gandawa enjoyed his fall semester in the CALL so much he decided to spend his last semester at Georgetown there too.

We followed Gandawa through the streets of DC to get a glimpse of his year as a student in the CALL program, from conducting research in the Library of Congress as an intern to attending class downtown at the CALL and exploring the cultural hub of the city on U Street.

Gandawa cooks a pot of pasta in his apartment kitchen.
Gandawa prepares breakfast before starting his day as a student in the CALL program. Students in the CALL live in Georgetown-owned housing in downtown DC at 55 H St. NW, just a few blocks from Union Station and within walking distance to grocery stores, Chinatown, the National Portrait Gallery and more.

“The fact that a couple of us are away from campus creates a nice community because we have to help each other discover things about being off campus, which involve, unfortunately, having to prepare your own meals.”

Nyasha Gandawa

“Being off campus and being a part of this city — having to walk to work, for example — I think that adds to the richness of the experience.”

Nyasha Gandawa
Gandawa walks through a brightly lit hall in the Library of Congress
Gandawa interned with the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, where he studied the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on economic development and progress made toward sustainable development goals. He said his internship experience enabled him to see the creativity that goes into academia compared to his prior internship experiences in business.

“I was supposed to be the tech guy, the person that deals with the numbers and finds the right metrics. But I think this internship gave me the background to the numbers and what they’re supposed to mean, so that humanized my curriculum and experience.”

Nyasha Gandawa

“Many of the classes base their syllabi on the physical characteristics of Washington, DC. So many of my classes last semester required that I actually go out into DC and visit different places.”

Nyasha Gandawa

“Being downtown gives us an opportunity to do a lot of various things over the duration of the program, which ranges from anything to everything that you can do in Washington, DC.”

Nyasha Gandawa
Gandawa walks outside of a gated soccer field.
On the weekends, Gandawa often finds himself at Shaw Skate Park playing soccer with his friends.

 “On a Saturday, I usually go out and play pickup soccer. I have some friends in the city and we play soccer at any field that we can find.”

Nyasha Gandawa

“I learned that I love jazz. I had started playing the saxophone sort of just on a whim the prior summer. I thought it was a cool thing for me to do, but I didn’t understand how the saxophone and jazz contributed to the political and historical experiences of local Washingtonians.”

Nyasha Gandawa