US capitol

The Washington Center Internship Program

The world-renowned Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars in Washington, D.C. offers Alberta students an important edge for future professional employment and admission to graduate and professional schools, while earning credit towards their degree.

Since 1997, more than 400 Canadian students, including over 70 students from the University of Calgary, have gone to Washington, D.C. to transfer the academic knowledge learned in the classroom into practical skills needed to enter the workforce.

Our students have interned with public relations firms, government relations firms, non-profit organizations and organizations such as the Embassy of Canada, the Embassy of Mexico, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Voice of America, the Institute for Gulf Affairs, ABC News, the Environmental Protection Agency, Voice of America and the International Center for Terrorism Studies, among others.

Key information




Fall, Winter, Summer

Program type


Application information

*Please note: Application timelines posted on this page reflect the internal deadlines for University of Calgary students to submit all paperwork to the Global Learning office for review and approval. Students MUST receive approval before applying directly to the internship program on the Washington Centre website. 

Application status



Program-specific additional requirements

Issues essay and US style resume are required - see the Eligibility section below.

Students should also be prepared to submit a reference letter upon request (either academic or professional) though not required for their initial application. 

Summer 2024 applications

  • Priority Deadline: January 10, 2024
  • Regular Deadline: February 15, 2024

Fall 2024 applications

  • Priority Deadline: March 1, 2024
  • Regular Deadline: April 1, 2024

Winter 2025 applications

  • Priority Deadline: September 15, 2024
  • Regular Deadline: October 9, 2024

Info Session

Info Session from Sept 2021

Student experience

The Washington Center Experience

Program details

Programs are available in the following areas:

  • Advocacy, Service and Arts 
  • Business and Global Trade 
  • International Affairs 
  • Law and Criminal Justice 
  • Media and Communications 
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Science, Technology and Society 

Academic Credit:

Students on this program generally receive U of C credit for 3 half courses: 1 full year course credit (ARTS 502) for the internship placement and 1 half year course credit (either INTR 597 or POLI 597) for the academic seminar. Students in the Faculty of Arts Co-operative Education Program may consider having this program count as one of their required work terms, while also earning one half course credit for the academic seminar.

Program Components:

The Washington Center program is composed of the following components:

1) Internship Program:

As the primary component of your experience, you will be placed in an internship with an organization that fits your interests and the skills you possess and hope to learn. Students intern for four and a half days a week. Placement sites could include private companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and non-governmental organizations. You will receive a full course U of C credit for this internship. Students in the Co-Op/Internship program at the U of C may be able to use this program as one of their placements.

2) Academic Course:

Each student is required to complete one academic course during the semester. The academic course meets one night per week for 3 hours and is taught by a Washington Center faculty member (which includes adjunct professors from local universities in the Washington, D.C.area, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, American University and Johns Hopkins University, among others). There are over 25 courses to choose from each semester. You will receive a half course U of C credit for this course.

3) The LEAD Colloquium:

Over the course of your 15-weeks in Washington, D.C., you will be required to attend a series of events during which you will hear from and interact with experts and leaders from the private, public and non-profit sectors. You might hear from a former press secretary, an ambassador or member of Congress or you might listen to a panel discussion on climate change or women in politics, etc.. These events are designed to fit your interests and to help you develop your communication, analytical and networking skills.

4) Civic Engagement Project:

During the semester, you are required to complete a civic engagement project, which can take many forms, including individual volunteer efforts addressing a specific issue, working with others in a community to solve a problem or interacting with institutions that advance social or political causes. The project is meant to inspire you to take advantage of the resources in Washington, D.C. to play a role in affecting change in an area of personal or professional concern.

5) Student Portfolio:

You are required to produce a compilation of documents that chronicles and summarizes the learning experience during your time with The Washington Center. The portfolio assignments are designed to encourage thought and reflection on your accomplishments over the course of the program.

The Washington Center offers programs during the Fall, Winter (which is called "Spring" at TWC) and Summer. In 2022, TWC is offering both the DC based program and the virtual program

      Summer 2023 Term (May 31 – August 5, 2023)

      • Internship period: June 6-August 4, 2023

      Fall 2023 Term (August 23 - December 2, 2023)

      • Internship period: August 29 - December 1, 2023

      Winter ("Spring") 2024 Term (January 18 - April 29, 2024) *estimated dates

      • Internship period: January 24-April 28, 2024

      The Washington Center Internships are unpaid placements. No U of C tuition is charged for the program, but students are responsible for Student Services, Students' Union and Athletics fees, which are paid to the U of C according to regular fee deadlines. 

      Please see the TWC Website for up-to-date information on the TWC Program and Housing Fees

      The program costs vary, based on the length and type of the program. The Program and Housing Fees are listed separately, as US citizens are not required to live in the TWC accommodation. The listed program costs do not include airfare, meals, local transportation or spending money.

      With the exception of the Application Fee, which is paid to UCI, the program costs are all paid directly to The Washington Center.

      A J-1 Visa will be required and organized through the Washington Center for in-person internships, which involves payment of a SEVIS Fee as well (required by the US Department of State). Please check immigration website for up to date fees.

      1. General funding opportunities

        Students on the program are considered full-time University of Calgary students and as such, remain eligible for all regular UCalgary Awards and Scholarships. In addition, eligible students are able to apply their Student Loan funding to this program.

        TWC participants are also eligible to apply for an International Study Travel Grant.

      The Washington Center guarantees housing for all interns who submit their housing applications by the specified deadline. Due to visa restrictions students should plan to live in TWC housing. 

      Students in TWC housing will live in a shared apartment in either the TWC Residential and Academic Facility at NoMa, the TWC Residential Facility at the Flats 130, or the TWC Residential Facility at Elevation, which is located near Capitol Hill and Union Station.

      Units are two bedroom, two bathroom apartments that house four people. All apartments are furnished with utilities, basic cable, and wireless internet. 

      See the Washington Center website for additional details.

      Students on the virtual program will participate from their home, rather than DC.

      1. Eligibility

        Students must be regular, full-time, degree-seeking students at the University of Calgary.

        Undergraduate students must have completed at least two full years before participating in the program.

        International students are eligible to participate in this program, but must apply by the competitive deadline (listed below).

        Graduate students cannot apply for the in-person academic internship program, however, they could apply for the Global Competencies Program directly to TWC.

        The minimum required GPA is 2.8 for most programs, although a GPA above 3.0 is preferred. The summer term is more competitive starting at a minimum GPA of 3.0. We do not accept applications with GPA's below 2.8.

        All students must have the approval of the U of C / TWC Campus Liaison: Colleen Packer (

      2. Application components

        Application Components:

        Steps 1, 2 & 3 must be completed by the deadlines listed above in order for your application to be complete. 

        All documents must be submitted to Vivian Elzinga at University of Calgary International to Please do not send any documents to TWC directly.

        Step #1 Submit your UCI online application & supplementary documents to the Global Learning Advisor:

        A) Complete and submit the UCI online application through RAISA (our application portal), selecting the appropriate TWC semester you are applying for. 

        B) Statement of Professional Interest: a 100-word statement that describes the types of activities that you'd like to be involved with during the internship and how they relate to your career goals. Do not mention the names of any specific organizations. Note that there are examples of these inside the TWC online application. Further details are also on their website.

        C) Issues Essay: 500 words, discussing one issue related to the area in which you wish to work. You should make note of your personal views on the topic. This is not meant to be a research paper, but it should show that you have some background knowledge and interest in the topic. Attach this to the TWC online application and email a copy to to be reviewed. Note that there are examples of essays inside the TWC online application. Further details are also on their website.

        D) Resume: TWC prefers a US-style 1-page résumé. This will be sent to prospective employers and should be tailored accordingly. We recommend that you have your résumé reviewed by Career Services or your Co-Op Advisor to ensure that it targeted to the type of position you are looking for. Further details are also on their website.

        E) Scan of the signature and photo/ID page of your passport: Please ensure that this document is legible and that your face is clearly visible.

        F) Official Transcript: (for every college or university you have attended)  etranscripts are acceptable and preferred to be sent by email.


        Step #2 Have your TWC online application approved by UCI

        Deadline for submitting this is on their website and will be after the UCI internal deadlines since your application must be approved by our office first (see step 1).

        Once your Global Learning Advisor has approved your documents, you will be asked to submit all the content that was reviewed as well as some additional questions about yourself to The Washington Centre through their application portal. 

        Getting approval: 

        • Complete and SAVE the online application at The Washington Centre portal. Print-to-PDF a copy and save it to your computer. Send this to
          • Please do not submit this application until our office has approved your application and given you the TWC Application Code to allow you to do so. A copy of the application must be submitted to to be reviewed.
          • Please note: Under Community Liaison, put: Colleen Packer, University of Calgary;
        • You may also submit a reference letter but at this stage it is optional. You can provide either an academic reference or a professional reference - whichever would be stronger/more relevant. References should be addressed "To Whom It May Concern" as they will be sent to prospective employers in addition to being used as part of the selection process. *While this is optional for your acceptance to the program you may be asked to provide one at a later time when applying to specific internships.

        Step #3: Submit your TWC application:


        Once approved, you will be sent a code used to submit your application on the TWC platform. 

      TWC offers internship opportunities for a variety of majors, including many for students that are not in a political science major. On the TWC website you can also find a list of sample internship sites

      To get a better idea of the Washington Center Internship experience you can watch this video and read these blogs of TWC participants. 

      Have questions?

      Global Learning 101

      Please watch this short YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment. In these videos, you will learn much of the basics about Global Learning, which may answer your initial questions.

      Watch Global Learning 101

      Academic Advising

      Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how this program might align with your degree (e.g. best time to go, what courses you need).

      After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/transfer credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

      Find your academic advisor

      Global Learning Advising

      If you have questions, please reach out to our office! We offer drop-in advising for general inquiries, and if you have questions about this specific program or any others, you can book an appointment with the responsible advisor.

      Please use the link below to find the most up-to-date information about our current advising options.

      View the Global Learning Advising page

      The advisor for the program is: Veronica V. Cardoso

      How to Apply

      Check requirements and deadlines

      Each semester has a different deadline, so check the individual program pages and make sure that you are aware of any different application deadlines or eligibility requirements.

      Submit the RAISA application

      Complete and submit the UCI online application selecting the appropriate TWC semester you are applying for. 


      Once this is done you may continue to step 2, saving the TWC application.


      Save the TWC application

      Complete and SAVE, but DO NOT submit the TWC online application, including the required extra documents:

      Statement of Professional Interest, Issues Essay, US style resume and two references. 

      TWC Online Application

      Submit hard copy application

      Submit in hard copy to Vivian Elzinga at MT 501:

      Printed copy of your TWC Online Application

      Printed copy of your Issues Essay

      Official Transcript 


      Photocopy of the photo/ID page of your passport

      Approval to submit application

      Vivian will ensure all the application documents are correct and then accept your application in RAISA. In the acceptance email you receive from the system, there will be a code to waive the application fee on the TWC application. Use the code and submit your TWC application before the deadline.

      International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

      For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular global learning program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Global Learning Advisors will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

      If you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Global Learning Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.

      Please note: All participants must adhere to COVID-19 and other vaccination-related requirements for the destinations visited on this program. Failure to do so may have consequences such as being denied access to accommodation/housing, program activities, or to the host country itself.