Short-Term Programs for Faculty


GW students at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.


Short-Term Abroad Programs present a fantastic way to enhance the academic experience for both students and faculty.  While traveling abroad together, groups can find new layers of knowledge and culture that they can then bring back and share with the GW community.  

Some topics may seem like a natural fit for a study abroad course, such as studying Shakespeare in London or examining the history of WWII in Germany; however, the Office for Study Abroad encourages faculty across all disciplines to consider how to bring an international component to their courses.  

Past GW Short-Term Abroad Programs have included Art Therapy in India, Music in Brazil, Education Policy in Turkey, Urban Sustainability in Panama, Health Management in Israel, and many more programs around the world. 

For faculty members interested in creating courses with an overseas component for undergraduate or graduate students, the Office for Study Abroad provides administrative support, guidance, and funding. 

Questions should be directed to [email protected].

Short-Term Program Structure
Short-Term Abroad Programs can be structured in a variety of ways.

  • Short-Term Abroad Programs can be offered any semester, fall, spring, or summer. Most programs are offered during the summer, over spring break, or during the winter break.

  • Short-Term Abroad Programs typically travel abroad for 1-4 weeks, but can last longer.

  • The entire course may take place abroad or it may contain an embedded overseas component as a complement to an on-campus course.  A course that is hosted entirely abroad may offer online modules prior to travel to prepare students for the trip. 

  • The course may cover topics offered in current curricula or explore new academic material.

  • Professors can choose to limit applicants to only GW students or have the course open to students from different universities.

  • Enrollment for a Short-Term Abroad Program typically ranges from 8-25 students.


"The short-term study abroad course gave me the chance to interact with students in a variety of different ways, sometimes as a professor, sometimes as a mentor and sometimes even as a parent. Many opportunities arose (often when least expected) to engage the subject matter in a less formal and more natural way. The sites that we visited raised questions in the students’ minds that would not have come up in a more traditional classroom setting. Students, without even knowing it, took much more responsibility for their education. It was a wonderful experience for me."

Paul Duff, Ph.D.

Professor of Religion
Early Christianity in its Pagan Context
Athens, Greece & Istanbul, Turkey

Designing a Program

Faculty will imagine and design the Short-Term Abroad Program.  It usually takes between 8-12 months to develop and implement an international course, so make sure to start early. Here are some things to consider when developing a course.

  • Choose a topic: This is perhaps the most important step.  What will peak student interest?  How many students might be interested? Consider asking current students for their suggestions, and consider if the course will appeal to students outside your own home department.

  • Choose a location: Selecting a familiar location will make it easier to plan in-country logistics and advise students on safe and culturally-appropriate behavior.  If you do not have expertise in the country, is there someone who can assist?  Does the location enhance the course material?  Is it a place students would be interested in visiting?

  • Choose the timing and duration: Is the course more appropriate embedded in a fall or spring semester or offered over the summer? Consider weather, academic calendar, holidays, and travel time to your destination. It is possible to design a course around a festival, conference, or other major event, if desired.  How much time in-country is enough? 

  • Consider the cost:  What will it cost to run the program? Will the cost be particularly high and perhaps prohibitive for students?  Consult knowledgeable sources and seek price quotes on expected costs, such as airfare, lodging, meals, local transportation classroom costs, honoraria, and cultural activities.

  • Consider the logistics: How many students do you expect? Where will the group stay, and how will you travel around the city?  Can you organize all course arrangements or do you need to hire a company to assist?  Do you need to hire a teaching assistant to support the course?


"Words cannot adequately convey the feeling that one gets when standing atop Pointe du Hoc on Omaha Beach scaled by US Army Rangers on the morning of June 6, 1944 – D-Day. Thirteen students experienced that overwhelming feeling last semester as they explored the German bunkers captured by those intrepid soldiers.... Over and over, as we visited the locations that made up the Normandy Campaign, we were all overcome by the extraordinary valor exhibited by the men....  Even when a professor thinks he knows his stuff and is a pretty good lecturer, he is humbled by the inadequacy of any way to learn about the price of freedom other than visiting the remarkable scene of the battle for Normandy."

Tom Long, Ph.D.

Professor of History
The Price of Freedom: Normandy, 1944
Normandy, France

Propose a Program



GW students in Barcelona, Spain


Faculty members may gain access to the Short-Term Abroad Proposal application. The proposal application requests detailed information about the course and requires the submission of a detailed syllabus, itinerary, and budget.

As part of the process, professors must seek approval for their proposal from their department chair and school/college dean.

Proposals, once approved by the appropriate departmental and dean's offices, are evaluated by the Office for Study Abroad for their innovative approaches and curricular fit for the intended audience. After a proposal is approved, the Office for Study abroad works with the faculty to maintain a program budget, recruit students, collect student applications, create CRNs, register students, provide insurance coverage, process financial payments, and collect student evaluations. Faculty members focus on the academic content and development of the course, as well as all of the arrangements of the overseas component of the program.

Faculty Director's Role

Along with teaching the course, faculty members leading Short-Term Abroad Programs serve many other roles. Thus, professors teaching these courses are given the title "Faculty Director."  The Faculty Director’s responsibilities include:

  • Develop the course syllabus, itinerary and budget

  • Market the course and discuss course details with interested students

  • Review student applications and select admitted students in GW Passport

  • Create and confirm logistical arrangements for the course, including lodging, transport, classroom space, lectures, meals, and so on.  

  • Help prepare students for the course and travel

  • Lead students abroad, providing assistance in times of student need or crisis 

  • Submit financial reconciliations

  • Reflect on the impact of the course, and offer feedback, stories of success, or suggestions for improvement to the Office for Study Abroad

Office for Study Abroad's Role

The Office for Study Abroad provides administrative support, guidance, and funding for Short-Term Abroad Programs.  The Office for Study Abroad’s responsibilities include:

  • Advise faculty members with questions about the proposal process

  • Review and select faculty proposals

  • Build course websites and create program flyers

  • Manage student applications through GW Passport

  • Communicate with students about application and commitment process

  • Schedule courses

  • Register students

  • Issue advance payments for the course

  • Provide health and safety information to students prior to departure

  • Enroll students in international health insurance

  • Provide pre-departure training for faculty, including detailed financial and risk management information

  • Collect student evaluations