Centre is your passport: studying abroad easier than ever
August 29, 2013 By Mariel Smith
China, Japan, Mexico, Spain, England, Scotland, Northern
Ireland and France.
Natalie Pope ’13 nosing around in Cambodia during a
Students with H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill
Professor of French and German Ken Keffer in Strasbourg, France.
As first-year students arrive on campus, they are inundated with the necessaries of college life: an ID card, a campus map, a room key, a student planner—and, most important of all, a U.S. Passport.
Passports are provided free of charge to any first-year students that do not have one, demonstrating Centre's dedication to study abroad. In fact, a core tenet of the Centre Commitment is that every student is guaranteed an opportunity to study abroad (in addition to graduation in four years and a research or internship opportunity).
The strength of this commitment is reflected in the fact that an average of 85 percent of Centre students study abroad at least once, and 25 percent go on to study abroad more than once. Full-semester programs exist in eight countries: China, Japan, Mexico, Spain, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and France.
Shorter study abroad trips for January or summer terms are available almost anywhere on the globe; recent trips include Vietnam, Bali, New Zealand, Cameroon, India, Israel and Greece.
The beauty of Centre's study abroad program is, aside from the cost of airfare and a few small fees, semester programs abroad are the same price as a semester at Centre, no matter where on the globe they are located.
Milton Reigelman, director of international programs, explains although incoming students may have spent time traveling for vacations or mission trips, they benefit uniquely from a semester-long academic experience.
"These kinds of vacations or mission trips are not the same as living and studying abroad long enough to begin to understand and appreciate the unique value systems and ways of thinking and acting that all cultures have," he says. "Studying in a different culture deepens the understanding and appreciation students have for their own culture. Therefore, it not only makes them global citizens, it makes them better Americans."
Natalie Pope ’13 took Centre's passion for study abroad to an extreme, studying abroad a total of five times.
Pope echoes Reigelman's assertion that studying abroad is an essential element of students' education.
"Study abroad is a transformative experience that increases your understanding of yourself," she says. "This can be uncomfortable, because it brings you face-to-face with your privilege as an American and as a college student, forcing you to pause and reflect on not only what this privilege means for the ways in which you conduct yourself abroad, but also for how you will conduct your life upon your return."
For Pope, like many Centre students, studying abroad was more than just going overseas—it was a life-changing experience.
"My study abroad experiences have colored my life over the past four years," she explains. "I've learned the importance of respect, empathy and gratitude as a mode of living one's life."
This coming year, the tradition of transformative study abroad experiences continues, with over 440 Centre students—about 70 more than in any previous year—studying abroad.
To learn more about studying abroad at Centre, click here.
Centre College, founded in 1819, offers its students a world of opportunities, highlighted by the nation's premier study abroad program and a faculty ranked #5 in the nation for "Best Undergraduate Teaching" at a liberal arts college by U.S. News & World Report. Centre graduates enjoy extraordinary success, with entrance to top graduate and professional schools, prestigious fellowships for further study abroad (Rhodes, Rotary, Fulbright), and rewarding jobs (on average, 97 percent are employed or in advanced study within 10 months of graduation).