Get to Know your New Surroundings

Washington, DC is the capital of the United States of America. Often referred to only as Washington, or ‘The District’, it is a compact city on the banks of the Potomac River and bordered by the sates of Maryland and Virginia. Together, the Washington Metropolitan area is known as ‘The DMV’.

Be a Tourist in Your New City is the official source of information to visit the many tourist attractions available for the whole family to enjoy.

There, you can find recommendations to restaurants, things to do, special events, and even where to stay. They have a section dedicated to briefly explaining the different neighborhoods of the city.

Washington, DC is very unique in an unseen way anywhere in the world, since it is the home of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest education, research, and museum complex, making the city the home of 19-world class museums, galleries, gardens, and a zoo. Visit for further information. And remember, most of what the Smithsonian Institution offers is free of charge.
If you want to get your social life active, visit The Washington Post’s Going Out Guide.

There, you can find recommendations from one of the most respected team of journalists in the World. Also, you can register and receive all their tips in your inbox.

Other sources of information are:


Like all the capitals in the world, DC is a very versatile and cosmopolite city. Also, depending on your needs and those of your family members, one area will be more suitable than another. If you’d rather, the city suburbs in the states of Maryland and northern Virginia may be more adequate for you.

To get to know these areas, click below:

DC Neighborhoods
Urban Igloo

Getting Around

By Bicycle

Many cities around the world have implemented bicycle sharing services, and the Washington Metropolitan area is no stranger to the tendency having become in 2008 the first city in North America to launch its bikesharing system called SmartBike DC. In time, this service evolved, and Capital Bikeshare was launched in 2010.

Now, the service has more than 3,700 bikes available at 440 stations across five jurisdictions: Washington, DC; Arlington, VA; Alexandria, VA; Montgomery County, MD; and Fairfax County, VA available for use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Capital Bikeshare (CaBi) has 24-hour, 3-day, 30-day, and annual membership plans. Learn more at to learn everything you need.

The service has an app to help you manage your account, buy a pass, find bikes, and unlocking them. Get the CaBi app to your smartphone:

iTunes: Download Here

Google Play: Download Here

By Public Transportation

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) operates public rail and bus transportation systems within DC and throughout many of the outlying suburbs.

Childcare and Education

Day Care

Finding adequate childcare is a very stressful aspect of moving into a new city, and the IDB is very conscious about it. Therefore, IDB Kids is a service provided at the IDB premises for children between 4 months and 6 years old.

For information in this regard visit the IDB Intranet or contact Mr. Juan Borga at extension 2067 or via email at

To contact directly BID Kids, send an email to

If you do not live in DC and would prefer to have your children attend a kindergarten or day care center near your home, you will find many of them organized as cooperative centers in your neighborhood, your local church, or community centers. There are also many private kindergartens where you will need to enroll your children in advance.


An Overview of the US Education System (K-12)
Education in the United States is mainly provided by the public sector with control and funding coming from three different levels: federal, state, and local. Child education is compulsory and can be satisfied in public schools, state-certified private schools, or an approved home school program.

All children are required to enroll in school by the age 5. For Washington, DC and Maryland, your child must turn 5 by September 1st; for Virginia, by September 30th.

Public Schools

Public education is well present in the United States. From kindergarten to 12th grade (K-12), many public schools will be in your neighborhood whether it’s an elementary (ages 4-11), middle school (6th to 8th grade) or high school (9th to 12th). Any K-12 public school curricula or any resources necessary are controlled and represented by elected school boards governing school districts in the county you reside. They possess jurisdiction in schools and apply the decisions made by the states or federal legislature represented by the U.S. Department of Education.


International Private Schools

Apart from the International Baccalaureate schools, the Maryland and DC areas benefit the presence of schools with a foreign education system, such as the German, French, or British. Your children can therefore be capable of continuing or maybe even finish their respective education program before applying to university.


Setting a bank account is one of the most important aspects of living in a new country, and although it is pretty simple to open a checking or savings account in the United States, getting a credit card can be a little bit more difficult as a newcomer. People work on the building of their credit since they become of age (18 years old) and get scores for paying on time and not overdrawing their accounts.

In this regard, the IDB has created the IDB – ICC Federal Credit Union to give assistance to their Employees and make the path less complicated.
If you are interested in their services, the office is located on the Ground Floor of the 1300 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC from Monday through Friday between 9:00 and 17:00 hrs. You can also set up an appointment by phone at (202) 623-3363 where they will be able to answer all your questions.

If you are already a client of the IDB – ICC Federal Credit Union, you can download their Mobile Banking App to your Smartphone:

iTunes App Store

Google Play


Having Health Insurance coverage when arriving to the United States is something you must take seriously into account due to the costs of Health Services in general. Therefore, we suggest that you take the necessary steps by getting in touch with us and we can give you a few options for you to choose from and decide which suits your needs the best.

Once you have your health insurance set up and have received the card issued by the insurer, be sure to find a primary physician for you, your spouse, and a pediatrician for your children. Insurance companies frequently have a list of physicians and specialists you can choose from.

Other Perks

Library Services

Spouses of the IDB Employees may visit the ‘Felipe Herrera Library’ (located on the Ground floor of the 1300 New York Avenue NW building of the Bank) and use its resources. Loans and other services are only available for the Bank employees. For further details on the services use policies of the Library please call (202) 623-3211 or visit their website

Library services at the IDB Family Association

The Family Association has a small library where you can loan books and DVDs . Most of our books are for adults and our collection grows as we add the copies read in the Book Club. Also, we have a few books in Spanish for children, often used by the children attending the Spanish courses offered by the Association so that they can become bilingual.