Students gain knowledge, skills, academic credit, professional connections, and practical work experience through WAI. While working full-time for a government agency or private firm in an academically supervised internship, students earn 6 credits in the summer term or 9 credits during the fall and spring semesters. Students learn in their extended classroom, the US capital city, while engaging with a network of other students from across the country. A substantive internship lies at the heart of WAI and provides real-world work experience.
American University School of Professional & Extended Studies (SPExS) professors provide academic support and teach evening courses for WAI interns. Academic courses are tailored to WAI and focus on issues important to diverse communities through a combination of lectures, discussions, relevant readings, research projects, and guest speakers.
The program includes cultural and social activities, beginning with an extensive orientation and ending with a farewell ceremony. In their free time, students are encouraged to take advantage of the nation’s capital by visiting notable landmarks such as the Smithsonian Institution’s museums, national memorials, and significant public buildings such as the Supreme Court or Congress, among others.