Among the many founding principles of our country, equal representation under the law has long been a significant priority to the foundation of our democracy. However, to this day there are American citizens under the sovereign jurisdiction of the United States who still do not have this right. Among these individuals are citizens of the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. For years statehood has been proposed as a possible solution in these locations, albeit contentious.
On this program, we will compare the fight for statehood in DC to the fight for statehood in Puerto Rico. In the five weeks leading up to our departure, we will meet in Fairfax (or online) for a few hours each Saturday to discuss the historical influences on statehood arguments for both locations. The week prior to travel, students will meet in DC to visit a few applicable museums and speak with local statehood advocates. In Puerto Rico, students will explore the history and culture of Puerto Rico through activities in Old San Juan, laying the foundations for various arguments for statehood and independence. You will also have the opportunity to learn directly from local statehood and independence advocates. Upon return to Mason, you will complete a reflection paper outlining their arguments for or against statehood of DC and Puerto Rico.
- Travel without a passport and discover the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.
- Explore our nation’s capital through the lens of statehood advocates.
- Examine how culture and history impacts motivations and attitudes towards statehood in DC and Puerto Rico.
This program is open to all undergraduate students, including students who do not attend George Mason University.
Undergraduate students must have a minimum GPA of 2.25.
Students will choose one 3-credit course during the application process.
- Integrative Studies - INTS 399: Study Abroad
- Government - GOVT 398: Study Abroad
- History - HIST 387: Topics in Global History
- Global Affairs - GLOA 480: Study Abroad
Tentative Program Dates
Pre-travel Meetings: Saturdays preceding travel from May 22 - June 12, 2021
Travel Dates: June 13 - 20, 2021
||Pre-travel meeting in Fairfax - Intro to course and brief history of DC and statehood
||Pre-travel meeting in Fairfax - Arguments for and against DC statehood
||Pre-travel meeting in DC - Visits/tours/speakers in DC
*Tentative meetings with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia*
||Pre-travel meeting in Fairfax - Overview of Puerto Rican History and Final travel reminders
||Group flight arrives in San Juan
Shuttle from airport to hotel
Introduction to program/orientation, opening class, and Welcome Dinner
||Morning: Guided Walking Tour of San Juan
Afternoon: Mofongo cooking class & Salsa class
Late Afternoon: Debrief Session
||Morning: Guided Walking Tour of San Juan
Afternoon: Guest Lecture
Late Afternoon: Debrief Session
||Morning: Meeting with Independence Party representatives
Afternoon: Debrief Session
||Morning: Meeting at La Fortaleza with Governor Pedro Pierluisi
||Morning & Afternoon: Day Trip to El Yunque National Rainforest
Evening: Final class meeting/discussion
Afternoon: Reflection on Experience/Final Debrief
Evening: Group Farewell Dinner
||Check out of hotel, transfer to airport, and return to DC
* Dates and itinerary subject to change. Many of the game schedules have not been finalized and this itinerary is provided as a sample to give you an idea of the types of activities you'll be participating in. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.
Summer 2021: $3,158
The Program Cost for study abroad courses is assessed separately from Mason tuition and fees. This means separate charges are put on your student account for this course, a study abroad tuition charge and a study abroad program fee charge which together equal the published Program Cost for this course.
- Tuition for 3 credits
- Group airfare from DC to Puerto Rico
- Hotel accommodations
- Some meals
- Guided tours and field excursions as described in itinerary
- Ground transportation between program sites
Not included: Checked or carry-on luggage, some meals, personal spending, COVID-19 testing prior to departure, COVID-19 testing in Puerto Rico, vaccinations, required textbooks and/or course materials. *Note: This program includes required group airfare.
Students on MasonGEO programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (Deposit + First Payment + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments. All payments and charges are reflected in the student's Mason Student Account.
Application Deposit: A non-refundable program deposit $200 must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.
First Payment: A non-refundable payment of $1000 must be received by April 15, 2021. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee. Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
In the event that a student’s financial aid or VA Benefits is estimated to cover the entire costs of the study abroad program, the entire charge will be posted to their student account, since that is where the aid will be applied. In this case students do not pay their first payment through MasonAbroad. However students must submit their “Intent to Use Financial Aid” form by the first deposit deadline.
Final Payment: The final balance payment is due by April 30, 2021. This is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $1200 you've already paid (Deposit + First Payment). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must reach out to the Financial Aid Office directly. The Office of Financial Aid is unable to assess if a student will have aid available for summer until April 5. Please complete the summer aid request form on the Financial Aid Office’s website on/after April 5. If you are using VA Benefits please contact your program officer to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."
* Students must be enrolled at least half-time for federal loans and the majority of grant funds. Please refer to the Financial Aid Website for a definition of half-time for undergraduate and graduate students: https://www2.gmu.edu/admissions-aid/financial-aid/eligibility.
Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.
For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:
GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students on this program are welcome to apply:
March 10 **Deadline extended to April 5**
Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.
Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.
Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.
Intent to Use Financial Aid Form: For Mason students only. If you use financial aid, this form must be completed by your financial aid counselor and submitted by the 1st payment deadline. The Office of Financial Aid is unable to assess if a student will have aid available for summer until mid to late February.
Additional Requirements for Non-Mason Applicants:
Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.
Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.
* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.