Welcome to DC, Home of NAFSA 2019!

February 21, 2019

By Laurel Brooks and Michelle Morris

NAFSA 2019 Washington MonumentNAFSA 2019 host city Washington, D.C. is the place where you take a stroll on the “Mall,” head to work on the “Hill,” and take a tour at the “Library.” Washington, D.C. is so much more than monuments and politics: home to 14 national parks, a hotel housed in a historic church, and an underground streetcar station-turned-art exhibition. This small but mighty city has much to offer everyone.

“What’s up, Moe?” - Did you know?

D.C. slang may not be as well known outside of the region, but “moe” (rhymes with “oh”) is not the name of a cartoon neighborhood bartender or a member of the Three Stooges in D.C. It’s actually how you address a friend or stranger. Here are some other interesting things you might not know about the Nation’s Capital:

  1. Our nation’s capital is one of the fittest cities in America and is a HUGE sports town! The biggest “wall” in Washington is the point guard for the Wizards (John Wall), the ‘Skins is the first team to have an official marching band - Hail to the ‘Skins! - and our resident hockey team won the 2018 Stanley Cup. The D.C. fandom is strong.
  2. D.C. is the place to eat! The city tops tons of lists as one of the hottest food cities in America by People, Zagat, Food and Wine, TravelPulse. #Verified.
  3. History, art, music, technology, nature, culture all blend together, which is befitting of D.C. as an international city, which boasts more than 175 foreign embassies.
  4. Divided into four quadrants, D.C. is made up of 131 unique neighborhoods that offer their own taste of local history and culture.
  5. Oenophiles welcome! Folks in the district drink more wine per capita than any other state in the United States!
  6. The second busiest subway system in the United States is located right here - notable as the first section of the Metro system opened in 1976 and is one of the easiest systems to navigate. Just follow the colors: red, green, blue, yellow, orange, and silver to get around.
  7. The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world and is the de-facto library of the United States.
  8. D.C. streets have letters, numbers, and state names...but there’s no “J” street; not because of designer Pierre L’Enfant’s long-rumored hatred of John Jay, but because in 18th-century English, the letters “i” and “j” were interchangeable, so it was left out. *Special note, Thomas Jefferson signed his initials “T.I” not “T.J.”
  9. Many might not think of D.C. as an intrinsically musical city, but its two best-known musical styles - punk rock and go-go - have a lot of roots here, particularly in the underground and local music scene.
  10. The Washington National Cathedral hosts art installations, group yoga classes, and guided tours, where you may run into the gargoyle shaped like Darth Vader!

Conference Location: Walter E. Washington Convention Center

NAFSA 2019 will be located at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, named after the last D.C. mayor to be appointed by the U.S. President. In the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood, near the historic Carnegie Library (now serving as the home of the Historical Society of Washington, the Kiplinger library, and as a special event space), the Convention Center is shouldered by the Shaw and Logan Circle neighborhoods and is a stone’s-throw away from Chinatown and Penn Quarter, with many great restaurant options and sightseeing opportunities. Host of the annual Health & Fitness Expo, the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival, Awesome Con, and the Washington Auto Show, the convention center is easily accessible via the Mt. Vernon Square/7th Street-Convention Center Metro station (yellow/green line), which leads you right into the venue, and also via all other public transportation options.

Geography and Weather

Locally known as the DMV, the D.C. metropolitan region includes much of southwestern Maryland and northern Virginia. Major cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City are in close proximity and can take anywhere from 45 minutes (Baltimore) to 4 hours (New York City) to reach on public transit, which makes planning for an extended visit highly convenient! Although D.C. is famous for its mercurial climes, in most instances “April showers bring May flowers.” Temps range anywhere from the mid 50s to low 70s, perfect weather for all the walking you’re sure to do during your stay.


Laurel BrooksLaurel Brooks is the program coordinator for the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program at Howard University and Local Arrangements Team (LAT) communications co-chair for the NAFSA 2019 Annual Conference & Expo.

Michelle MorrisMichelle Morris is the program coordinator for the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University (@HUBuncheCenter) and Local Arrangements Team (LAT) communications co-chair for the NAFSA 2019 Annual Conference & Expo.


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