International Initiatives

Two art therapy students examine the embroidery held by a local artist in Croatia
Art Therapy Program students learning embroidery from local artists in Croatia. GW faculty helped create the first art therapy master’s program in Croatia, at the University of Osijek.

The GW Art Therapy Program is unique in the field for our international focus. From Bosnia to Lebanon, Switzerland to Hong Kong, our faculty are sought after for their research, trainings and clinical work.

We have been a leader in international service learning. Through our summer study abroad, students investigate their own racial and cultural self-awareness, learn from local experts, develop strategies for working with diverse communities, hone critical thinking skills, and explore the role of art therapy in cultures different from their own.

Katherine Pedrick

“It was incredible being with the first art therapy master’s program cohort in Croatia. We worked in the community, visited a psychiatric hospital and learned about the effects of trauma from the recent war.”

Katherine Pedrick, MA '19


Summer Abroad Courses



GW’s Art Therapy Program is the first of its kind to offer an International Social and Cultural Diversity course integrated with academic training. Students in our study abroad immersion programs spend a summer providing art therapy services in a different culture, learning from local experts and exploring the country.

Since 2006, students have joined program faculty on trips to France, India, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Croatia. Students have participated in art therapy community projects at schools, women’s shelters, hospitals, cancer and rehabilitation centers and visited historical sites and wildlife reserves. 


Program participants gathered together drawing a large mandala on a brick floor.




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Trip Activities

During the service-learning trips, our emphasis is on collaboration. Collaboration with local organizations and experts in the community to provide connection and cross-cultural learning. Through community projects, workshops, and trainings, students learn how to create culturally sensitive forms of art therapy that embrace the heritage, history, beliefs and attitudes of the local population. Course content includes learning other art forms while focusing on self-awareness, biases, stereotypes and personal cultural history to recognize what influences each student in their interactions with others.

Contact us for more information on details, schedule and costs of upcoming summer programs.

Eligibility and Credits

The summer abroad program is open to every Art Therapy Program student who has maintained a 3.0 and is in good standing academically, clinically and professionally. Credits earned abroad count toward the required coursework and internship hours. There is a cost to cover the expenses of the trip, which varies by program. Program is also open to other GW graduate students and non-GW art therapy graduate students (interview required for acceptance).

Contact us for more information on details, schedule and costs of summer programs.

Past Trips