AU WSEM SPEXs Gives Me A Sense of Direction January 13, 2020

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 08/21/2019 to 12/16/2019 with

American University: Washington D.C - Washington Semester Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned the area of focus I wish to go into for my career. At the same time, I also really enjoyed how to become much more independent and mature. Due to a lot of time being spent alone, I was really able to focus on my classes and also make the most out of my time. It allowed me to also explore all that DC has to offer. I loved the program and would recommend it to anyone who wants a better sense of direction with their career.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I had a great time learning at AU. The professors involved in the AU Washington Semester Program are phenomenal! I never had more involved, passionate and caring professors. Professor Sosland was such an amazing professor and I learned so much because of him. While in the program I spent a lot of time at my internship site as only two days out of week I had classes. It was a great time to really get a feeling of the work force that will await me after I graduate from undergrad. Due to the structuring of the program, I got a better sense of direction with where I wish to take my career.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration at AU's SPEX office was amazing! They're all super welcoming and really enjoy doing what they do. I always felt welcomed by the team and very much appreciated to be there.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The Frequency apartments were a nice place to stay at as it was super close to the metro and a lot of other places. However, all the pipes were very much visible and there was constant water leaking in the basement lounge.

* Food:

Compared to my own university the food was decently good. Even though there is only one dining hall the other options around campus were also pretty good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

While you do become close with students in the Washington Semester Program it is not the case with the students from American University. Because only one elective is allowed to be taken on the main campus, there is very minimal interaction with AU permanent students and it is not as integrated with that community. The students also don't know of the program as there are various programs at AU and they don't seem very interested either in socializing.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had healthcare associated with my home university, a school in the US, and my health care transferred over. I did have trouble in the beginning of the program and it did take a while for AU to finally waive their own insurance.

* Safety:

Tenleytown and AU campus felt rather safe, allowing for me to freely roam. Though once you enter actual DC and other surrounding areas one should be more cautious as there is lots of homelessness and mentally ill people.

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

After undergoing this program I was able to restart my college journey all over again at another prestigious university. By being given this opportunity at a much older and confusing time with my career, it allowed me to really find myself and mature in the short time. By going into this program knowing I wanted to find what I truly want to do with my career, I came out with an answer after going through the Global Economics & Entrepreneurship concentration.


* 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)

Rating (3). Because I lived off campus I was always cooking for myself and would spend around $50 for groceries for a two week supply. Meals when going out would be around $20-$30 and after shopping for groceries I would resist from going out as my groceries were equal to the amount of one meal outside. I would try to spend no more than $30 in a week for additional things besides my two week grocery supply.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $70
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you are cooking try not to go out to eat as much if you are on a budget. A meal out . is the same price as a weeks worth of groceries! Always have a list ready to avoid buying unnecessary things. If you're interning buy groceries to take to your work site because eating out everyday will drain your pocket.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The professors,
  • The passion that all students in the program had with their careers.
  • Getting to experience another prestigious university.
* What could be improved?
  • Amount of program events to get to meet other students in other concentrations.
  • Emphasis on finding an internship before arriving to the program.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Financial aid does not fully transfer over and AU is not cheap, nor is DC. Go in with some savings as you will be busy with your internship and classes.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!