The School of International Service (SIS) organizes a variety of experiential learning programs and internships abroad throughout the year. Available to International Relations Online students, these opportunities include AU faculty-led programs, courses offered at partner institutions abroad, and international internships. Program locations change to reflect student needs and interests.
Why Study Abroad?
The goal of International Relations Online is to help students gain a global perspective so they can succeed in the field of international affairs. Study abroad opportunities help students apply the skills they gain from their courses and build intercultural competency by:
analyzing and interpreting conflicts that involve people of different cultures while experiencing them firsthand
gaining real-world experience with the concepts they learn in the classroom
collaborating with peers in groups acting as consultants for international organizations
networking with influential organizations, world leaders, and American University’s top faculty
“The South Africa summer study abroad was life-changing! We learned from leading scholars at UCT discussing a variety of issues concerning South Africa, including foreign policy, inequality, education, HIV/AIDS, economic and political history, domestic politics, environment sustainability, and much more.”
Sichao Ni, International Relations Online Study Abroad Student, Cape Town, South Africa
Available Study Abroad Programs
Summer Abroad Courses
During the summer, SIS offers a series of short-term, experiential courses that include lectures, discussions, workshops, and site visits. Designed to give students practical experience, these courses have been hosted in such cities as:
Home to nearly 20 UN institutions and countless international organizations, Bonn was an ideal location for students to learn from local experts and to complement the academic course components with site visits within Bonn.
Students explored the importance of global management of transnational issues (such as migration, security, and environment) and were introduced to a wide variety of new governance mechanisms. Other students explored multilateral trade by interacting with top officials at the World Trade Organization.
Students gained a broader understanding of the Black Sea-Caspian Region by studying historic and recent developments. They explored scenarios for long-term development by examining empirical cases and the current security environment.
Students developed an understanding of how South Africa is dealing with the social, political, and economic challenges of democracy and development.
During a summer practicum experience, students consult with an international client while producing original research that is relevant to the community, country, or broader region. Past summer practicum programs have included:
This practicum explored peacebuilding-related motivations and expectations of Israelis and Palestinians who cooperate on a water-energy-food nexus project in the region. Students met practitioners working for NGOs, the beneficiary parties of transboundary water projects, and Israeli and Palestinian officials whose governance practices have bearing on water, cooperation, and peace in the region. The students’ final report suggested ways to further develop the intervention methods and water management projects.
Working with clients and in-country partners, students researched the goals, capacity, and challenges shared by higher education institutions in Cuba and the United States. Students explored the drivers, actors, and tools necessary to create and expand sustainable and transformational collaboration between the institutions of both countries.
Students gained insight into agrarian development theories and practice while simultaneously engaging in rural development projects in Brazil.
Because SIS has relationships with organizations all over the world, it offers direct connections to internship opportunities abroad. Students can participate in an international internship independently or in a more structured format.
In the structured internship placements, students are directly supported by SIS faculty or connected through an AU Abroad Center. Faculty and staff have selected opportunities and organizations that are directly relevant to students’ academic and professional interests.
Students wishing to work more independently can choose from a wider range of internships from approved organizations. Although SIS faculty members do not directly assist with these placements, they can advise students and share experiences of prior students working with these organizations.
Graduate Global Program
The Graduate Global Program is a support system for students who want to conduct independent research, secure their own internships, and participate in other professional development activities such as conferences or workshops abroad. Academic advisors and the SIS Office of International Programs (OIP) can help students to:
connect with relevant faculty or institutions abroad
register their activities (regardless of whether they are credit- or non-credit-bearing)
Hold status as a graduate student at American University. Non-AU graduate students may only apply to select programs (see program specific pages for eligibility).
Achieve and maintain good academic and university standing.
Submit an approved plan of study. As part of the application process, students should meet with their academic advisors to get approval for the courses they plan to take.
Each program will have additional eligibility requirements listed on its respective website. To learn more about study abroad opportunities, visit the Office of International Programs or contact them via email.