AU Washington Semster- Good and Bad Past Review

By (Political Science, Stonehill College) for

American University: Washington D.C - Washington Semester Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile because of all the experience I gained through my internship and seminar class. It set me up for at least thinking about what I want to do with my future.

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

My foreign policy semester was really great. I learned a lot. The professor was extremely knowledgeable and the workload was a perfect level for interning at the same time. We went to so many really great events/conferences and had lots of interesting speakers. Also,if you get a good internship it can be extremely rewarding, especially for learning how to work in an office setting. My elective class on national security was not as great in terms of the professor being pretty unorganized. However, he woks in the field and is very knowledgeable and brought in great guest speakers sometimes.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was helpful for a few people who had concerns. But my own personal concerns went unanswered and it seemed like they didn't care. Overall they do an alright job, but I don't really see what they do at all.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a double with a girl I knew, otherwise it would have been a terrible experience. My room is definitely a single that they turned into a double because we only have one closet and the room is extremely small, but we are paying for a double. Also, the heat and air conditioning either make our room sweltering or freezing. Honestly if I were to do it again, I would have lived in the WISH housing or gotten an apartment on my own.

* Food:

The food is absolutely HORRIBLE at Tenely Cafe. If you can, get the LOWEST meal plan that you can. I got a regular plan in the middle and at first I thought it wasn't too bad so I stuck with it, but it just went downhill after that. Some days we go back into the food area many times to try and find something edible. The workers are a bit creepy and not nice, except for a few nice people. A server once meowed at my roommate and served her not wearing gloves. There have been many people who seem to have gotten food poisoning and they all eat at the cafe regularly... you put it together. There are some decent food places around Tenley and all over DC that you can get MUCH better food at.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program itself doesn't put on any events, but in DC there is always something fun to do! They do send out email from "Things to do DC" that has student discounts for embassy events and other kinds of fun events and activities.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The NW in DC is very safe, however there have been some incidents involving students and near campus. We don't really hear about them all, but you have to find out through gossip when the school should really send out emails. Really the only danger comes from going out late at night- you just need to be smart and not travel alone. I feel very safe in the dorms though and they always send out safety reminders about locking your doors and stuff.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Internship
* What could be improved?
  • Food and housing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you interested in government and politics, international relations, or anything along those lines, DC is the place for you! Doing an internship is an amazing experience and is extremely beneficial for your future. The program will help you a lot in getting an internship too, but you have to take the initiative yourself! They don't do all the work for you. Also, if you want to come here, think about the living situation and whether you really want to be in the dorms.