by Julia Train
Each semester, Rider students have the opportunity to use Washington, D.C. as their classroom.
The Washington Semester Program, administered by American University, allows college students across the country to complete a prestigious internship while living and studying in the city.
There are 4,000 organizations for internships in the program’s database, including BBC News, Black Lives Matter and the United States Senate.
“We’ve had a lot of success with our students and one of the great things about this program is your ability to network with folks from all around the world … I can’t endorse it enough,” said Michael Brogan, a political science professor and WSP liaison.
For 15 weeks (or eight in the summer), students complete an internship and two seminars, learning a lesson that only being immersed in the nation’s capital can teach.
Along with the internship, there’s a supplementary course that prepares students for the job market by helping them revamp their resume and cover letter and practice for interviews.
Participants spend three days in the field and two in the classroom each week; the program’s aspects are designed to pair perfectly together.
The course load is up to the student, ranging from a minimum of 12 credits to over 15; the internship and two WSP seminars total 12 credits, but courses of interest can be added, including ones that are needed for Rider students to stay on track for graduating.
Credits transfer back and forth between AU and Rider, and the process of setting up the transition is the same as it is for studying abroad.
“The idea is that it’s seamless, that you can go do this program very easily,” said Terrell Austin, the WSP partner relations director at American University.
In order to keep the process smooth, institutional financial aid and scholarships transfer between the schools; students receive a tuition bill from Rider and a separate one from AU for housing.
Students in the program live in off-campus apartments through TurnKey apartments, which cost $5,850 for the entire time, which comes out to be about $1,500 a month for the four-month lease.
Although they aren’t living on campus, program members have access to resources like the fitness centers, health center, counseling center, 150+ clubs and organizations and an unlimited Metro pass.
The deadline for the spring semester is Nov. 15, but students interested in applying can speak to Brogan to see if the program is the right fit for them.