Many universities claim they have strong study abroad programs, but few match Dickinson's. For more than fifty years, the College has operated its own global study and research centers. These centers immerse students in the study of foreign language. They foster a deeper understanding of the political, social, cultural, and economic histories of the countries and regions where they are located. And they form a worldwide network of living laboratories from which students can trace the causes and consequences of global forces, examine differing policy responses to global change, and assess and learn from successes and failures.
This network has been carefully built and is continually enhanced. Most of our centers have been located purposefully in provincial capitals. Dickinson’s deep relationships in these smaller cities provide our students with access to local leaders in government and business, key internship opportunities, close ties to community partners, and, most important, direct relationships with faculty and scholars at our partner universities. Moreover, Dickinson faculty are intimately involved in all aspects of study abroad, from academic advising to directing and/or teaching at our global centers.
This approach allows the College to guarantee the quality of the abroad experience and ensure that it integrates with the academic program at home. It is an approach that has made Dickinson one of the most respected colleges in the world in the development of study abroad programs, as our numerous awards for excellence in this area attest.
Dickinson offers its students both long- and short-term programs abroad; the vast majority choose to participate in longer programs offered at the College’s global centers.
Long-term Programs Abroad:
Long-term programs run for a semester or academic year, and they fall into three categories--Dickinson Programs, Partner Programs, and Non-Dickinson Programs.
Roughly seventy percent of Dickinson students who study abroad participate in Dickinson Programs. More than forty percent of the Dickinson faculty have led or taught on a Dickinson Program. Typically, Dickinson faculty teach one or two courses on Dickinson Programs, with remainder of the courses taught by faculty at our partner institutions. Where Dickinson Programs are led by in-country directors appointed by the College rather than by our faculty (e.g., in Cameroon), the in-country directors make regular visits to campus so that students get to know the directors, their work, and the opportunities that exist at the centers they lead.
There is a Dickinson faculty advisor on campus for every Dickinson Program. The faculty advisor works closely with students, offering them individual guidance on course selection at the Dickinson Program. Faculty from our partner institutions also regularly teach and lecture on visiting stays at Dickinson, increasing students’ familiarity with what is available at the Dickinson Programs. It is not just the presence of Dickinson faculty at a global center that makes a program a Dickinson Program; it’s the closeness of the overall academic relationship, in all its many dimensions, between Dickinson and its partners.
While the College has invested significant resources in developing its own programs, it is not possible for an institution of Dickinson's size to operate and maintain programs that meet the needs of every student. So, the College has developed a select number of strategic partnerships with some of the oldest and most respected study abroad provider organizations (e.g., DIS and CIEE) and designated these opportunities as "Partner Programs."
All Partner Programs are carefully vetted. New Partner Programs are proposed when a curricular need in our current offerings is identified. Typically, a team of faculty scrutinizes the programmatic structure and academic quality of a prospective Partner Program by conducting one or more site visits. Site visit reports are submitted to the Global Engagement Advisory Committee (GEAC), a sub-committee of all-college Academic Programs and Standards Committee. With GEAC approval, new Partner Program proposals are then reviewed by APSC and, pending support, are required to receive approval by vote of the full faculty. Institutional aid and cost of participation for Partner programs works the same as for Dickinson Programs.
Non-Dickinson Programs are available to the relatively few Dickinson students who find that their academic goals cannot be achieved on a Dickinson or Partner Program. Approximately ten percent of Dickinson's education abroad participants pursue and are approved to participate in Non-Dickinson Program options. Students must schedule an advising appointment at the Center for Global Study and Engagement before applying to any Non-Dickinson semester program (Non-Dickinson summer programs do not need CGSE approval). After an advising appointment , students must apply to the GEAC for approval and make a compelling academic case for the program being proposed. Although institutional aid may not be used toward the cost of a Non-Dickinson Program, students may take their federal and state assistance with them. Credit earned on approved Non-Dickinson Programs is treated as transfer credit on the Dickinson transcript.
Short-term Programs Abroad:
Although Dickinson continues to emphasize long-term (semester and year) education abroad, the College also offers short-term programs each year. These fall into two categories: Summer Programs and Globally-Integrated Courses/Mosaics.
Summer Programs are free-standing, self-contained, one-credit courses taught abroad at one of our global sites by a Dickinson faculty member. Summer Programs typically run for four to six weeks.
Globally Integrated Courses/Mosaics
In some ways, Globally-integrated Courses and Mosaics are not Short-term Programs at all; they are listed here because they entail briefer stints abroad (usually less than four weeks’ time), combined with a semester-long, credit-bearing course offered on campus. Students must complete both the international and on-campus portions of the course to receive credit. These programs prepare students to make the most of their shorter stays abroad by connecting them meaningfully with a course devoted to a thorough investigation of a global topic.