Moving to Washington DC
Expats moving to Washington DC are more often than not surprised by just how physically small the city that is arguably the most powerful and influential in the USA can be. The massive concentration of agencies, departments, businesses, consulates and young eager professionals makes Washington DC so dense with potential that expats seem to be magnetically drawn to its constructs.
Yet despite its iconic image as the centre of American power, Washington DC is also difficult to define - with ambiguous borders and a contrasting image. The district, which is officially politically neither a state nor a city, has few more than half a million people, yet the huge DC metro area borrows from neighbouring state land to create a metropolis ten times that size. 'DC' usually refers not only to the District of Colombia but to parts of Maryland and Virginia that feed into the city.
Within the city centre, the clean columns of the capital buildings are in stark contrast to nearby ghettos that make up one of the country's worst levels of poverty. While expats are likely to live in better neighbourhoods, realities of living in a city with such large discrepancies of income, as well as high crime rates, are unavoidably noticeable.
Washington DC, compared to other American cities, is particularly welcoming for expats. Most young professionals in DC have recently moved to the city to pursue careers before relocating again. There is a frantic energy of friendship-making fuelled by a large amount of clubs, casual sport teams and nightlife. Newcomers are always welcome.