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Events, alumni networking, courses, and internships for Penn students on campus and in D.C.

Washington and the World Scholars Program

Students often struggle with the choice between a semester abroad and a semester in Washington. We absolutely understand how difficult such a choice can be, which is why we created a third option - why not do both?

With the Washington and the World Scholars program, you don't have to choose between spending time in DC and going abroad. You can do both - and still only miss one semester of time at Penn! This spring/summer program combines a semester in Washington with a summer abroad, allowing students to focus deeply on a geographic area and gain a multidimensional, comparative perspective on international policy and politics.

Accepted students will participate in the spring term of the Penn in Washington semester, interning in Washington at an international aid organization, a foreign policy think tank, the State Department, or some other internationally oriented organization or Congressional committee. Students will take four political science courses, including one course on international development or diplomacy. They will then spend the summer in the country that was the focus of their spring internship at a field office of an international aid organization, an embassy, think tank or similar. As you plan your internship search, think about how the internships would complement each other. For example, a student who is interested in Asia might intern in Washington at the State Department in the South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) Bureau. Over the summer, that student might apply to be an intern at the United States Embassy in New Delhi, India. A student interested more broadly in international development might intern in Washington at USAID and then intern that summer at Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) (Brazil) (#14 in Foreign Policy Research Center’s list of Top International Development Think Tanks).

  • Cost: For the spring semester, students who qualify for financial aid who intern for a non-profit or the government will receive a $1,500 stipend to cover additional expenses associated with living and working in Washington. For the summer, a stipend will be provided to cover travel and housing expenses. Students must apply for summer work study if they qualify. This stipend amount varies depending on the cost of traveling to and living in a particular country but is not more than $2,500. In both terms, awards will be reduced by a like amount if students receive pay from the internship sponsor.
  • Application and Timing: The application deadline for this program is March 15 of sophomore year; students will begin the program in January of their junior year.
  • Internship Placement Assistance: The deadline for the spring semester for the State Department is July 1 of the previous year and students are notified by September. Students not accepted to the State Department for spring semester can then apply to other appropriate organizations in Washington. Penn in Washington has established relationships with top think tanks to facilitate this process, and students may also use our database to identify an appropriate internship. Students are ultimately responsible for applying to, interviewing for, and being accepted by the internship host. For the summer placement, the deadline for the State Department for the summer is November 1 and students are notified in January. If students are not accepted to the State Department at an abroad placement, Penn Global will assist students with their summer placements.
  • Selection Process: Students will be chosen based on a number of factors including their foreign language ability, relevant coursework, GPA, and other relevant experience. Admissions decisions will be made jointly with Penn Global. Five students will be accepted and will be fully funded. Additional students have the option of participating in the program but summer funding is not guaranteed.