Action Lab FAQ

1. How is the Action Lab different from other programs?

We are the only summer intensive focusing on youth leadership and social change.Whether you’re passionate about a specific issue, interesting in running for office one day, or thinking about starting a social enterprise, the Action Lab will give you practical skills to be the change you seek in the world. In addition:

  • We focus on building global leaders who have both the knowledge and the skills to make our world a better place. Many programs just offer coursework. We go beyond the classroom to offer leadership and advocacy training, and inspire students to put their new skills into action through our ongoing work on global issues.
  • Scholars develop real projects and campaigns to implement in their communities or on their campuses. Participants leave with a robust plan, and the skills and support they need to make their project happen. After all, there’s no better way to learn than by doing!
  • Global Scholar is part of a broader youth movement of concerned, young global citizens. The experience extends way beyond the session; participants enter a family of over 30,000 student leaders and activists affecting change on their campuses and in their communities. Since 2002, over 100,000 students have participated in our programs.
  • We’re affordable. We’re run by a national student organization, and we charge just enough to cover our costs. You’ll find that our programs are significantly less expensive than almost any competitor program. This isn’t a business for us; we’re not out to charge students and their families exorbitant fees to participate. Rather, we see this program as our contribution to empowering a generation to build a better world. We offer scholarships, and can help you fundraise from family and friends to attend.

2. I don’t have experience with entrepreneurship / social change / advocacy. Does that matter?

The Action Lab is intended to be an intense introductory program. The only thing that’s required is an interest in building a better world, and expanding your own leadership potential. The sessions move at a quick pace, and even those who have some exposure to these skills will be challenged to deepen their understanding even further.

3. Who teaches the skill-building seminars and workshops?

Workshops are led by our fantastic staff, who are experienced trainers and entrepreneurs, and have lied, studied and/or volunteered abroad.

4. Who are the staff?

Action Lab staff have experience both working on global issues, and leading youth groups and residential programs. Our longtime program director Karen Showalter is returning once again this year. Karen has years of experience as a movement builder and trainer, including five with Global Scholar. Find out more about our staff here.

5. Is the program safe?

Safety is our top priority. American University is a quiet and safe campus. Our staff live in the dorms with Scholars. The dorms are equipped with a 24 hour security desk, and entry is only permitted with a key card. Although our days are full, participants will have a bit of down time to play frisbee, go the gym, or relax with friends. At all times they are required to inform our staff of their whereabouts, and travel in groups. Participants are not permitted to leave the AU campus, or travel anywhere in the city, without staff. We are very happy to answer additional questions about safety and security during the program. Find out more about housing, travel and safety here.

7. How do I find campus on the first day?

We will pick up and drop off Scholars at their point of arrival in Washington, D.C.
Washington has good public transportation, and we use it as much as possible. It’s a short shuttle ride from campus to the Tenleytown Metro Stop. We will share details on arrival / departure, rooming assignments and more with those admitted to the program. Please contact us with questions: globalscholar@aidemocracy.org.

8. What are the dorms like?

This summer we are once again returning to beautiful American University in Washington, D.C. American offers the perfect setting: the campus is green and peaceful, yet it’s very accessible to downtown D.C.

We split our time between campus and downtown Washington. Many of the policy seminars take place in offices in downtown D.C., while many of the skillbuilding workshops take place on campus at American.

Participants stay in one of the dorms at American, along with our staff. They are placed in well-equipped double or triple rooms, and share a bathroom with others on their hall. Laundry facilities, snack machines, a tv lounge and many other amenities are available in the dorm. The front desk is staffed 24 hours/day, and everyone entering or exiting the building must show an American University ID. This is a real college experience!

We share meals in one of the dining halls on campus, which offers hot items, a nice salad bar, daily specials, and plenty of vegetarian items. The cafeteria can accommodate other dietary needs like gluten-free and allergies. A coffee shop and a couple of fast food restaurants are also located nearby.

Participants will have access to the athletic facilities at American, with their parent’s permission.

Find out more about housing, travel and safety here.

9. Do participants get grades, a certificate, credit, and/or recommendations?

Participants will receive certificates upon successful completion of the program, and staff will happily write recommendations for college or other applications. We do not provide grades or credit, although we are happy to work with you to apply for credit at your school if applicable. And of course, the Action Lab gives participants a concrete project to share and launch at the end of the experience, which is a great resume-builder!

10. What other costs will I be responsible for paying?

The program fee includes room, board, materials and the program itself. Scholars are responsible for paying for transportation to/from Washington DC, supplemental meals or snacks, and spending money. Participants are also expected to pay for lunch on the day we sight see downtown. Although it’s hard to estimate, a reasonable amount of spending money might be $50-75/week.

11. How many students are in the program?

We place a premium on providing a small-group experience. A typical class size is 8-15 students.

12. How many scholarships will you offer, and are they full or partial?

Last year, 40% of the class received partial scholarships. We offer as many scholarships as possible, depending on funding. 

13. Is the Action Lab part of a larger organization?

Yes! The Action Lab is run by AMP Global Youth / Americans for Informed Democracy, a non-partisan national student organization founded after 9/11 to help students understand global challenges and build their skills for taking action.

14. Does AMP Global Youth promote a particular political agenda?

Our goal is to inspire student conversation around the US role in the world and key global challenges facing us today. These conversations are based on the premise that the US does have an important role to play beyond our own borders. We strive to help students understand all sides of issues, and empower them to formulate their own opinions on the best courses of action for our country to take.

15. What are you looking for in essays / participants?

We look for participants who are curious about the world around them. Participants should be inspired to learn more about pathways for social change, and their role and power to build a better world.

16. Is there an application deadline?

No, but as we’ve stated above space is very limited. We encourage applicants to apply as early as possible.

17. When will I know if I’ve been admitted?

Expect a response within two weeks of your application date. Please let us know if you need a quicker response … we’ll see what we can do! Contact us any time at www.globalscholar.org.

18. Refund and Cancellation Policy

We work hard to keep costs low and to provide a valuable program that is competitive with similar offerings, so we ask for your understanding to respect our Cancellation and Refund Policy.

If you cancel within 45 days of the start date of your course, you won’t receive a refund. If you cancel within 60 days but more than 45 days to the start date of your Global Scholar, you will receive a refund of 50% of the amount you’ve paid, excluding your non-refundable Application Fee.

Space at our courses is limited, and we have to reserve student housing and vendors well in advance. As a result, our ability to provide refunds is limited strictly to these timetables. We understand that few can afford to pay for a program that they can’t attend, so we strongly encourage you to consider our refund policy when making future plans and to plan carefully.

Did we miss something?

Have any questions that weren’t answered? Please contact us at globalscholar@aidemocracy.org or call 202.709.6172.

We look forward to seeing you this summer!