Home / Global Scholar FAQs

Global Scholar FAQs

1. How is Global Scholar different from other programs?

Global Scholar stands out from other summer programs serving high school students for several reasons:

  • 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 haven’t studied these issues before – does that matter?

Global Scholar is intended to be an intense introductory program. Although many of our participants have had some exposure to global issues, whether through school or travel, it’s definitely not required (and many others don’t). The only thing that’s required is an interest in exploring global challenges like poverty and climate change, as well as the US role in addressing them. Sessions introduce key issues and concepts, and background readings and assignments provide additional depth. The sessions move at a quick pace, and even those who have some exposure to these issues will be challenged to deepen their understanding even further. This is particularly true during the Innovation Clinic, when Scholars design their own campaign or project.

3. Who teaches the sessions?

The policy seminars will be taught by our staff and issue experts working in Washington DC. Past presenters have included Thomas Pickering, former US Ambassador to the UN, Joe Cirincione, President of the Ploughshares Fund, Peter Singer, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and many more.

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

Global Scholar staff will teach the leadership, advocacy and policy workshops; we have extensive experience helping students build these skills. Many of the issue presenters have experience doing advocacy as well, and can add additional insights.

5. Who are the staff?

Global Scholar 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.

6. 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, Scholars 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. Scholars are not permitted to leave the AU campus, or travel anywhere in the city, without Global Scholar staff. We are very happy to answer additional questions about safety and security during the program.

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, Global Scholar is 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.

Scholars 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.

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

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

Global Scholars 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 Campaign Innovation Clinic gives Scholars a concrete project to share and launch at the end of the experience, which is a great resume-builder!

10. What other costs will Scholars 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. Scholars are also expected to pay for lunch on the two days 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 about 20-25 students. We break the group into smaller cohorts for much of the session.

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

Last year, 30% of the class received partial scholarships. We offer as many scholarships as possible, depending on funding. 

13. Is Global Scholar part of a larger organization?

Yes! Global Scholar 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 Global Scholar 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. Scholars should be inspired to learn more about global challenges, and their role in addressing them.

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.

Did we miss something?

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

We look forward to seeing you this summer!