by Tony Moore
El Salvador, Austria, Saudi Arabia, the Czech Republic, Togo, Pakistan. Today’s challenge: What’s the clearest and simplest link among these six countries?
It’s a tough one, and it’s not really a fair question, because even if you’re a savant of pattern recognition or an expert in complex international relations, you’d never get there. But if you’re reading this on campus or at the U.S. Army War College (USAWC), the answer is right in front of you: Students from each of these six countries—and from 12 others around the globe—are taking classes at Dickinson this semester through the Dickinson/USAWC Cooperative Scholarship Program.
And the program is having its busiest year yet.
“This year we've seen record numbers of participants,” says Marlee Meikrantz ’10, Dickinson’s coordinator for international student and scholar support in the Center for Global Study & Engagement, noting that 19 students are currently enrolled, as opposed to fewer than 10 most years. The group ranges from 18-year-olds to seasoned professionals. “It spans age, religion and national origin," says Meikrantz. "It's a really interesting mix.”
Students in the program—who join undergraduate students from 48 countries around the world already on campus—are the spouses or dependent children of USAWC International Fellows in Carlisle for a year. To begin the process, they go through orientation sessions to help them decide what classes they should take (and whether they should audit or take classes for credit), based on interest, background and English-language proficiency, and they ultimately enroll for a variety of reasons.
One such student, India’s Shivangi Dwivedi, who’s taking a course in international relations, came to Carlisle with her father, a member of the Indian army.
“I accompanied him for the sole purpose of experiencing a new country, meeting new people and seeing new cultures, and being able to take a class at Dickinson was like striking oil,” Dwivedi says, noting that she’s taking a yearlong absence from a political-science path at Delhi University's Jesus and Mary College. “The classes have helped me learn the background of various conflicts in today's world and will help me better understand international politics while giving me an American perspective.”
And viewing the world and its issues through different lenses is something that makes the program act as an exchange of sorts, according to Meikrantz.
“Having those international perspectives in the classroom—professors love to have those views because they're different and they often spark discussions,” she says. “It adds so much to the classroom experience.”
Published November 17, 2014