I've been around DC for about four years and have lived in MD, VA, and DC. Of the three, DC may be ideal for you as a student if: 1) you have no income to get taxed; 2) you have no need for parking a vehicle; and 3) you don't mind the absence of strong representation in Congress. For GW, ideally I'd live in the West End between Dupont and Foggy Bottom. You might also find some bargains along the orange line (Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon, Virginia Square, and Ballston) in Northern Virginia if you look at group housing not on top of the metro.As for safety, I went to school in some rough neighborhoods in Philadelphia, so this entire city seems like Disneyland for the most part. Southeast is still the roughest, but virtually all of Northwest has been gentrified into yuppie housing with federal cops out 24-7 looking for terrorists.Nice? Not very. This town is cut-throat. You'll make friends with mutual interests, but strangers avoid eye contact and silence is the norm on metros. Tourists are treated like vermin typically.Meeting new people? Again, probably not the best city for it at a bar or club. That socializing usually takes place more at house parties and private events.Advice? Choose your career wisely and plan for the long-term. DC has now surpassed San Fran for cost of living and is second only to NYC in the US. While salaries are high and the largest employer is stable (government), starting a family in this area is virtually impossible without some additional source of funding or fighting a lengthy and traffic-ridden commute into work each day. If you just plan on going to school here, that's fine, but make sure you make your in-roads in your other market of choice while in DC.
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