The Colgate Scene
May 2005

Expanding horizons

A toddler finds a moment of comfort in the arms of Laurie Chin '06, who volunteered at the girl's orphanage in Tunapuna, Trinidad, while on the West Indies Study Group. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

Planting rice side by side with villagers in a paddy in India. Learning the intricacies of Flamenco dance in Spain. Presenting research about a work of art on location at the British Museum. Becoming inspired to attend medical school while at the National Institutes of Health.

Colgate's efforts to provide students with moments like this -- experiences that expand their global, cultural, and personal horizons -- were recently recognized when the university received the second annual Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization from NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Nearly 70 percent of the Class of 2004 participated in off-campus study, and with approximately 525 Colgate students studying off campus each year, Colgate consistently places in the top five of baccalaureate institutions in the Institute for International Education's Open Doors survey. As a recipient of the Simon Award, Colgate will be featured in the NAFSA report: "Internationalizing the Campus 2005: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities," to be published this fall.

"When more than half of the students in a class bring an international perspective to bear on the subject at hand, one can truly say that a liberal arts education is enhanced by students' international, intercultural perspective," said Ken Lewandoski, director of international programs.

In addition to 25 faculty-led, semester-long programs, Colgate offers 22 short-term "extended study" trips that take a particular course beyond the campus and the regular term. Extended study is particularly attractive for students whose schedules do not permit them to participate in semester-long off-campus study programs.

Aside from the advantages of a faculty member accompanying each study group, Lewandoski pointed out, having approximately 10 percent of Colgate professors annually rotating in and out of the off-campus program goes far to internationalize the campus.

The Scene recently asked three off-campus study participants to share their experiences through the following personal essays.

Finding community in San Francisco

"Inbound train, now approaching," intones a woman's voice over a loudspeaker. I am under the streets of San Francisco, stepping onto a train that will take me downtown. As the train shifts abruptly forward, I stand in one corner, looking around. Just about everyone reads a newspaper or employs some form of personal technology to enforce the norms of urban anonymity in our briefly shared public space: a cell phone, a BlackBerry, or -- the most ubiquitous of all -- an iPod. Aside from this similarity, the riders appear remarkably diverse, especially by the standards of Hamilton, N.Y. A businesswoman on her way to the Financial District sits in front of a punk rocker with a Mohawk. Two women with plastic shopping bags at their feet converse in what I think is Cantonese . . . Read more >>

Two sides to an island

The light shines on a skinny little girl not older than 2. Her short hair is in braids, but her medium brown skin looks to be of an Indian and African mix. She is too young to understand a game of musical chairs that is being played by the older children, so she wanders around the room, eventually walking over to me. I'm sinking into a soft couch. You can tell the springs have been put through too much use. . . . Read more >>

In the ruins of Copán

The retro-looking buses slowed to a stop on the dirt road outside of our motel, La Casa de Café. With my day pack on my shoulder and suntan lotion slathered on my nose, I climbed into one of the vans. As our Honduran driver, equipped with a Colgate baseball hat, maneuvered us through the center of Copán, Honduras, we passed people selling tortillas and trinkets on the sidewalks outside of restaurants and novelty shops. After a five-minute bumpy ride, the vans deposited us at the welcome center at the ruins of Copán. . . . Read more >>

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