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International Gateway Program: FAQ


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What is the purpose/goal of the International Gateway Program?

The purpose of American University International Gateway Program (IGP) is to prepare international students for academic work at American University and to acquaint them with U.S. academic culture. The curriculum teaches critical academic reading, writing and oral communication skills needed for international students to be successful at American University. Students who successfully complete the International Gateway Program will develop advanced academic skills for the higher education environment while satisfying university requirements. 

What courses are offered through the International Gateway Program?

The International Gateway Program consists of four courses:

  • Principles and Approaches to Oral Academic Communication
  • Principles and Approaches to Written Academic Communication
  • The Culture of US Higher Education
  • Post-WWII Film Studies
  • Undergraduate General Education Course

What will the courses cover?

Principles and Approaches to Oral Academic Communication
This course offers undergraduate students the opportunity to develop the academic oral communication skills and strategies necessary for success in the university. The course focuses on comprehension of oral communication in the classroom (listening for content, note-taking, paraphrasing, and summarizing) as well as participation in oral communication in the classroom (utilizing verbal and non-verbal communication skills, managing conversations, and giving oral presentations). Students demonstrate the ability to understand an academic lecture; incorporate strategies of effective verbal and non-verbal communication; employ successfully conversation management and repair strategies; summarize and paraphrase from oral sources; and prepare and deliver oral presentations.

Principles and Approaches to Written Academic Communication   

This course offers undergraduate students the opportunity to develop critical academic reading and writing skills. The course focuses on vocabulary acquisition, knowledge of advanced grammar structures, and experience with various genres of reading and writing. Students read a variety of academic texts and complete writing assignments that include of reports and essays, a research paper, and collaborative writing projects. Students also submit a portfolio including samples of their written work completed throughout the semester that illustrates their abilities in academic reading and writing, and take a final exam. Meets with WSEM-196-002T.

Non-recurring: Post-WWII American Film Studies

This course complements the core IGP courses, Written Academic Communication and Oral Academic Communication. By viewing one or two films per decade since WWII students witness the evolution of American culture, history, and society over the past seven decades. Students watch one film per week on their own and come prepared with a completed worksheet and a journal entry about the film. Class discussions dissect the film’s meaning beyond the plot, make connections to the key events of the film’s time period and explain the zeitgeist of the film’s era. In the process, students hone their critical thinking skills, awareness of American culture and history, and improve their oral and aural skills by actively participating in class, leading discussions, and giving presentations on key events of each decade. Keeping a weekly journal and writing analytical essays help sharpen students’ writing skills. In addition, the course advances students’ knowledge of idioms and cultural references.

The Culture of Higher Education in the United States   

This course explores the cultural assumptions underlying academic practices and personal interactions in U.S. university communities. It focuses on decisions students make to define their relationships within the academic cultures in which they find themselves. Special attention is paid to how U.S. cultural norms are viewed by observers from other countries. Course topics include, but are not limited to: understanding the educational institutional context, including the role of academic integrity; examining student-faculty interactions; U.S. academic writing; and successful cultural adaptation.

Undergraduate General Education Course  

Students will enroll in a course selected from the list of general education courses recommended specifically for IGP students. Upon successful completion, students can count the course toward their undergraduate degree. Please click here for the list of General Education courses that you can select your elective from.

What is the class size?

The IGP courses will enroll approximately 15 students per class. Each student will receive extensive individualized instruction tailored to his or her needs and intended program of study. In addition to detailed feedback on both content and language for coursework, instructors will work with students to tailor particular assignments to their needs.  

How do I qualify to participate in the Abroad at AU or the Washington Semester International Certificate Program at American University?

Students who successfully complete the IGP (earning a grade of "C" or better in each of the IGP courses) will be fully admitted and enrolled into the Abroad at AU or the International Certificate Program the following semester. Students who fail to earn a grade of "C" or better in each of the IGP courses will not be able to continue into the Abroad at AU or the Washington Semester International Certificate Program and will need to return to their home institution to finish their studies. 

If I accept to enroll in the International Gateway Program, what do I have to do?

First, you will be asked to submit a non-refundable deposit to either the Abroad at AU or Washington Semester International Certificate Program in order to confirm your intent to enroll in the International Gateway Program. Second, you will receive access to a number of mandatory forms through your online application portal. This will also include instructions on how to enroll in a meal plan and request university housing. You will receive regular correspondence from American University regarding any subsequent instructions and with information about move-in and orientation.

What is the normal length of study for the International Gateway Program?

The International Gateway program is a semester-long program. It runs as follows:

  • Fall: August to December
  • Spring: January to May

When do classes begin and end, and what other important dates do I need to know?

For the 2014-2015 academic calendar, please click here

What visa will I need to enroll in the International Gateway Program if I live overseas and need a visa to enter the United States for studies?

Students who enroll in the International Gateway Program will need an F-1 student visa (for students from non-partner institutions) or a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa (for students from partner institutions) in order to enter the United States to study. For more information regarding the visa process please refer to the International Student and Scholar Services website at http://www.american.edu/ocl/isss.  

When will I be issued the DS-2019/ I-20 form in order to apply for the J-1/ F-1 Visa?

Once you accept your admission into IGP, you will be asked to submit proof of finances. This will include a bank statement or scholarship letter (issued within the last 3 months) demonstrating at least $18,500, accompanied by the Certificate of Finances for International Students (http://www.american.edu/ocl/isss/upload/CFIS-Form.pdf). With this information, American University will issue the DS-2019/ I-20 immigration form and mail it to your home address so that you can schedule an appointment for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Students who intend to participate in the Abroad at AU program will submit their proof of finances during the application phase. 

How and when will I register for courses?

Once your enrollment verification form is completed and your deposit is received, the International Gateway Program staff member who will serve as your academic advisor will contact you to complete your course registration.

Am I guaranteed AU housing as an IGP student?

International Gateway Program students live in triple occupancy rooms on AU’s Campus. American University will provide housing to all IGP students for the fall and spring semesters who complete the housing request form and submit a deposit by the indicated deadline. Roommate preferences cannot be guaranteed. All university residence halls are nonsmoking, and most floors are coed.

Do I have to live on-campus?

Students who prefer to live off-campus with friends or relatives are permitted to do so. Students wishing to live off-campus will be responsible for making their own living arrangements.

What programs and services can I expect as a student in The International Gateway Program?

Students in the International Gateway Program will have access to all the services and programs provided to American University students, including use of the University Library, Athletic facilities, student clubs and organizations, the Academic Support Center, the Counseling Center, and the Health Center. In addition, students will participate the AU orientation program during the week prior to the start of classes to ensure that they are familiar with the services and programs at American University.  

Who should I contact if I have questions regarding the Program?

Ken Janjigian
Associate Director
English Bridge Programs

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