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University College | For International Students

Starting college is a daunting transition for everyone - and international students are also moving to a new country and culture. The University College is one of the many ways that AU helps first-year students - whether "home" is Hong Kong, Geneva or Chicago - find their niche in our community.

Residential Neighborhood: Welcome to Your New Home

When you join the University College community, you'll live in one of the on-campus residence halls with other American University students. However, each University College seminar is linked to a particular residence hall and may even be taught in that hall. Your roommate will be a seminar classmate, and your other classmates will live on the same floor. This residential neighborhood creates an environement in which you can more easily build relationships with other talented students, share academic interests and experiences, and adjust to college life in D.C. together. Your program associate will live nearby and be available as a mentor and resource.

The Washington Lab: Discover Your New Hometown

Throughout the semester, you'll apply the concepts and expertise gained from your seminar to the real world. For example, in past semesters University College students have:

  • attended embassy press briefings
  • conducted research at the Library of Congress and the National Library of Medicine
  • participated in behind-the-scenes tours of the National Gallery of Art, the National Archives, the International Spy Museum, the National Shakespeare Theatre, and other nationally recognized cultural institutions
  • met with high-level staff representatives from the Supreme Court and U.S. Senate, the World Bank, the U.S. Department of State, and other government institutions
  • attended performances at the Kennedy Center Opera House, the famed Woolly Mammoth Thatre, the Folger Shakespeare Theatre, and others

Smaller Class Size: More Individualized Attention

Taking a class in the UC seminar format rather than in a traditional format does not mean that it is more difficult or that you will have to complete more homework! Rather, because the class is smaller there is more opportunity for informal discussion, collaborative projects and experiences outside of the classroom. The one-on-one attention from the professor and the Program Associate is especially great for students who may not be used to English being the language of instruction. UC is a great way to ease the transition into college for everyone, but especially for international students.

Peer Mentoring: Your Guide to College Life

In addition to your professor, the Program Associate or PA is a key part of the UC experience. The PA is an upperclass student who lives in the residence hall with you and serves as a teaching assistant for your seminar. Many PAs are former UC students themselves and have taken the particular course before. They are chosen through a selective application process, and go through special training to learn how to be a great mentor (like a big brother or sister) to first-year college students. S/he is always available to answer any questions you have, not just about academics but about the whole college experience.