News from International Student House, Washington, DC
              Summer 2015

Dear Friends of ISH-DC:

The academic year 2015 has begun and ISH-DC welcomes 95 new and returning resident scholars from 30 countries.  Most are seeking graduate degrees at Washington's most prestigious universities or working in professional internships, with the remainder engaged in conducting post- graduate research projects. And, like many of you reading this, they will become alumni of ISH-DC upon completing their stays in Washington.  While here at ISH-DC, they will be invited to participate in a number of events and programs that include briefings by foreign Ambassadors and US foreign policy leaders, community outreach activities and cultural opportunities throughout the Washington area, social activities with fellow residents and Board Members, and many more.  The friendships residents make and all that they learn here will stay with them forever and likely have an impact on their professional success in the coming years. 
As one of our residents recently shared with me, 
"After staying in ISH..., it feels like we have graduated from a very prestigious university and now it is our responsibility to take what we have learned here and use it for the betterment of the outside world."
We are very appreciative of all our alumni, friends, and supporters.  Your continued interest and support ensures that the House continues to thrive as a vibrant, inclusive community for thousands of students, interns, and scholars. 
Best regards,
Thomas A. O'Coin
Executive Director 

ISH Garden Party: The Place to be in D.C. 

 Guests enjoying the Garden Party

On Thursday May 14 we welcomed more than 200 guests including foreign Ambassadors, Members of Congress, alumni, and supporters to the House for our Annual Garden Party.  The event celebrated not only our refurbished garden but also the life-long connections our alumni, residents, and friends have created with each other and the House.

Residents had the opportunity to meet and talk about current issues and career paths with Members of Congress - an invaluable experience given that many residents are planning careers in public service.  
  Senator Rand Paul speaking with ISH-DC resident scholars

 We were pleased to welcome Ambassadors and embassy staffs to the Garden Party from more than 20 countries.  Embassies learned about the House and how we provide a home away from home for their students. Many of the diplomats in attendance indicated that they plan to encourage students from their countries to consider living at ISH-DC.  We hope to see even more alumni and guests at next year's Garden Party.   

Stay at ISH-DC: Meet Your Future Spouse?  

By Vanessa Billy- ISH-DC Alumni 2002 
When you stay at ISH-DC, you will make life-long friends, have life changing experiences, and if you are lucky, you will meet your future spouse. 

I met Dominic in Washington DC in the summer of 2002. We were both students at Georgetown University and both staying at ISH-DC. I remember thinking first that this tall Australian guy with his guitar was really nice and friendly, but boy why was he always going on and on about Australia and how better things were in Australia?

Then I realized that we all had bouts of homesickness at different times, but the great thing was we were surrounded by other students who cared, were going through the same things and that we could all help each other get through the tough times. It's unbelievable how quickly the people I met there became such an important part of my life.  

Staying at the ISH-DC was a real privilege. How many nights did we all spend in the garden chatting about our different countries of origin, our big plans for the future, our discoveries in Washington? When will I ever get another chance to learn the Icelandic anthem, practice my Polish greetings, talk Turkish politics, carve a mountain of pumpkins and discover Dutch gastronomy all within one week?  The time spent at the ISH-DC, with all these great people from around the world, really opened our eyes to all sorts of possibilities that previously we were unaware of.

When my stay in Washington came to an end, I realized I didn't really want to say goodbye to this tall Australian guy I had just spent the best six months of my life with.  In a pre-smartphone era with no Skype and no wifi, relying on pre-charged phone cards for our big plans was a bit daring, maybe a bit naive.  Twelve years down the line we have a lot to thank ISH-DC for.

Did you meet your spouse at ISH-DC? Tell us your story. Contact Jill Holcomb at
Save the Date: Global Leadership Awards Dinner

       Lt. General         Dr. Anne-Marie        Ambassador
  Brent Scowcroft          Slaughter            Geir H. Haarde

On Thursday, October 22, ISH-DC will recognize leaders who have made strides in international and cross cultural understanding.   We will honor former National Security Advisor, Lt. General Brent Scowcroft with our Global Leadership Award for his lifelong service and commitment to promoting intercultural dialogue. Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter will receive the Global Educator Award for her commitment to education and international understanding.  ISH-DC will also honor Ambassador Geir H. Haarde of Iceland with our Distinguished Alumni Award. Ambassador Haarde was a resident of the House while he attended Johns Hopkins University SAIS.

For more information and tickets, click here, or contact Jill Holcomb at

Profile of an Abernethy Scholar: Gayatri Chandrasekaran 
    Gayatri Chandrasekaran

Gayatri is a Master's Degree candidate at SAIS studying International Relations, concentrating in Global Theory and History.  It is a year of firsts for her - first year at SAIS, first time in the U.S, and first time away from her home in New Delhi, India.  As she says "I don't feel far away from home or alone because everyone here [ISH-DC] is going through that.  Everyone is trying to learn and adjust at the same time."  

She is enjoying living in Washington, DC.  "It takes some getting used to, because Delhi is so different, but I am liking it so far".  

Before coming to ISH-DC, Gayatri was a working as a journalist and editorial writer for a business newspaper.  She wrote about international relations and Indian foreign policy but felt she needed to educate herself further.  Not content with just reacting to events, she wanted to read political theory to become a better analyst and writer so she applied to SAIS and for the Abernethy Scholarship. 

Gayatri is one of ten students who won Robert Abernethy Residential Scholarships which provide financial support to SAIS students living at ISH-DC. 

She has only been at ISH-DC a few short weeks, but already she can see the changes in herself. "I'm really shy so opening up is scary.  I met so many nice people here that it is becoming easier to get over the shynessWhen I go back to New Delhi, people might think I am not the same person."

Introducing ISH-DC's Blog: An Inside Look at ISH!

"It is said that everyone has a story to tell and I am confident that there is no better place to witness this than at the House." -Blaire Edgerton, Former Resident

Look inside the ISH blog for perspectives and stories of life here in DC and at the House from residents who spend their days here. 

Stories from residents like Cornelia Donders in her post entitled,

"I never knew that I would EVER have to do this." 

This is the story of how a resident lost her wallet and learned that if you ever need help here at ISH-DC, you don't have to look hard to find it.

"Without thinking... I took a long, deep breath and climbed into one of the dumpsters outside.  And there were ISH-DC residents crazy enough to help me out."  You can learn how this adventured ended here.

Stories from residents like  Burakhan Cevik, who just returned for his second stay at the House after finding a home here last fall when he was an intern at the Dutch Embassy.  He is now a student studying international law. You can learn about his excitement for his time here in DC and at the House in his first post, Returning Home to ISH

"Here I am, at home [in the Netherlands] behind my desk, writing a new blog for ISH, my home in the United States; my dream that I have left behind and am ready to continue. This is the house where I can develop myself again, where my vision towards the world has been broadened and where I created new goals; the house where I will continue to build up my network worldwide. This is the house where I have found people who understand that traveling or living abroad is an investment in ourselves." -  Burakhan Cevik, Resident

You can continue to follow Burhakan and other residents time here with us in the House through the blog by clicking here.


Thank You for Giving Once in a Lifetime Opportunities to Our Next Generation of Leaders  

 Ambassador William J. Burns

Because of your generosity, we are able to welcome prominent speakers to the House who open residents' eyes to possibilities and issues.  

In May, ISH-DC held an off the record conversation on Iran and recent developments in the Middle East with Ambassador William J. Burns.  Ambassador Burns is recently retired from the US Foreign Service following a distinguished thirty-three-year diplomatic career. He holds the highest rank in the Foreign Service, career Ambassador, and is only the second serving career diplomat in history to become Deputy Secretary of State. He is now serving as the President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the oldest international affairs think tank in the United States.
Residents asked questions and engaged in a dialogue with Ambassador Burns about a wide variety of issues and current events.
 How Can You Give Back to ISH-DC?
ISH-DC relies on your support and commitment!
  • Follow ISH-DC on Facebook
  • Make a tax deductible contribution to ISH-DC here.
Thank you for your commitment to ensuring that ISH-DC continues to be a place where current scholars and future leaders are able to find an exceptional community that encourages inter-cultural dialogue, life-long connections, and fosters global citizenship!
In This Issue
ISH appreciates your support. Donate HERE today!

We want to keep in touch with you...
and your alumni contacts!!


Join the ISH Community!   Help us

double our alumni email list  with alumni in your network.


You can add your name to our mailing list by clicking on  the link below, or keep in touch through our Facebook page. 


 Join our email list! 

Join us on Facebook! 


Additional Information

For more information about the International Student House, DC visit our website.