Like those at most universities, faculty and administrators at the College of Charleston are keen for their students to develop an informed worldview. And these professionals know that one of the most effective means of achieving this is through study abroad experiences. Of course, nearly every university and college offers study abroad programs, yet few of them offer the unique, cross-disciplinary programs that exist at the College.

Bay of Islands, New Zealand, just one of the many places that College of Charleston students experience in study abroad courses each summer. (Photo by Haley Kee.)

Consider this: Each year, over 50 study abroad programs taught by faculty from the College are available to students. Many of these offer unusual combinations. For example, during the summer of 2016, a cadre of fortunate students will travel to Morocco to learn about that country’s culture by studying its contemporary literature (taught by a professor from the Department of French and Francophone and Italian Studies). Concurrently, those same students will also study the country’s political issues and those of contemporary Africa in a course taught by a professor from the Department of Political Science.

What’s the College’s strategy behind coupling otherwise disparate academic disciplines? According to Andrew Sobiesuo, associate provost and director of the Center for International Education, this formula is particularly useful for helping students understand the real-world context underlying the topics they’re studying. He adds, “As an institution, we are committed to expanding the opportunities for our students.”

Here’s a quick overview of some of the engaging study abroad programs that students at the College are participating in this summer:

Business and Sustainability in Costa Rica

Students in this program will focus on the cultural, legal and business environments of Costa Rica when they travel to Central America this summer as part of Marvin Gonzales and Gioconda Quesada‘s combined courses. Both professors teach in the Department of Supply Chain and Information Management. For the class “Doing Business in Costa Rica,” they’ve arranged a curriculum that will introduce students to assorted companies, including visits to the Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce, Florida Ice & Farm, Baxter, the Port of Charleston, the Port of Moin, VICESA and several others. Students in this course also have the opportunity to complement their learning with a class entitled “Sustainability Issues in Costa Rica.”

Internship in Germany

Want to better your proficiency in German and get hands-on experience in a setting that can help position you as a top candidate for employment or graduate school? The Department of German and Russian Studies directs a unique internship program that counts as academic credit in a study abroad context. Run by professor Stephen Della Lana, this program assists students in obtaining internships in Germany in a variety of professional fields, including business, general administration, production, computer science and engineering. Before each two-month internship begins, participating students will spend a month of intensive language study at the Carl Duisberg Centrum Sprachenzentrum in Berlin while living with a German family to increase their language proficiency.

Undergrads from the College hike in the Himalayas.

Water Resources in India

Offered every other summer, Water Resources in the Developing World is geology course that is taught by Tim Callahan and Vijay Vulava. Students in this course study issues surrounding India’s water resources, including pollution along the basin of the Ganges River from the headwaters of the river in the Himalayas to its mouth near the Bay of Bengal.

Public Health in Italy

While based in historic and picturesque Florence, Italy, students in these two courses (“Global Health” and “Health Promotion”) will spend a full month exploring global health issues and engaging in community-based projects. Taught by professors from the Department of Health and Human Performance, this program is the first of its kind at the College. Students will examine economically disadvantaged areas and residents suffering from major pandemics such as HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, as well as from other emerging and re-emerging diseases. In addition, they’ll be placed within a variety of public health/health-promotion settings to examine the theoretical, educational, organizational, economical and environmental supports for behaviors that are conducive to better health in these settings.

Education and Enterprise in Tanzania

Professors from the School of Business and the School of Education, Health and Human Performance will engage students in one of two novel courses in Tanzania: “Education, Health and International Development,” or  “International Social Enterprise and Development.” Students will have the opportunity to participate in medical outreach in urban and rural communities and volunteer as teaching assistants in elementary and middle school classrooms. They’ll also visit local hospitals to experience how healthcare is accessed, and they’ll work with parents and teachers in an urban school to develop sustainable gardens. In addition, they will identify, articulate and reflect on their own experiences, values and beliefs in the context of their own cultural backgrounds and compare and contrast their educational experiences with those of the children they work with. They will also develop a better understanding of political, historical, cultural and social issues that mitigate access to resources such as education, health care and social services.

If you’re game to learn more about the College’s study abroad options, such as a trip to the Galapagos Islands (featured below), check out the Center for International Education.

And, if you like a challenge, take our quiz and see where you should study abroad: