Goucher College Launches Unprecedented Undergraduate Study-Abroad Requirement

Bold New Curricular Requirement Realizes Key Component of Strategic Plan;
Travel Costs to be Offset through $1,200 Voucher for Every Student

BALTIMORE -- Beginning in Fall 2006, Goucher College will require all incoming undergraduate students to participate in at least one three-week intensive course abroad—or longer international experience—in order to graduate. To offset the cost of traveling overseas, the college will also give each student a special voucher of $1,200. Goucher is the first college in the United States to institute such a program.

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Designed to fulfill one of the key pledges of the college's 2002 Strategic Plan, the move also represents a conscious effort on Goucher's part to raise standards for international education nationwide.

"You don't have to look any further than the front page of the nearest newspaper to see that global events have a direct and immediate influence on all of our lives," said Goucher College President Sanford J. Ungar. "We in the business of higher education are simply not living up to our responsibility if we don't find ways to educate our students not only to understand what's happening on the international scene, but also to bring their learning to bear in addressing the global challenges of our time. At Goucher, we are taking the lead in redefining what it means to provide a comprehensive education for the world of the 21st century."

Students may satisfy the new requirement by participating in any of Goucher's 18 intensive courses abroad (ICAs) or any of its semester or yearlong programs. The ICAs take place over three weeks, generally during semester breaks, and offer students brief but immersive international experiences in specific subjects like "Tropical Marine Biology in Honduras," "Inequality and Social Policy in South Africa," and "China: Past, Present, and Future." The longer programs enable students to take broader courses of study alongside other international students, and to immerse themselves more fully in the cultures of the countries where they study. Goucher's semester and academic year offerings include programs in Brazil, Denmark, Ecuador, England, France, India, Thailand, and other locations.

The college also offers a special International Scholars Program (ISP) in which students sign on for a multi-year series of internationally focused seminars and study-abroad courses taken alongside their major and general education courses. Participants in the ISP receive special credit on their college transcripts and are recognized publicly as International Scholars at Commencement. Currently in its pilot year, the ISP has enjoyed overwhelming success already, with all available sections filling almost as soon as they were announced.

Goucher's Strategic Plan, approved unanimously by the college's Board of Trustees in May 2002, called for a broadening of international and intercultural awareness throughout the curriculum. The new study-abroad requirement is part of a broad new curriculum that also requires students to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language and fulfill requirements in areas identified by the college as key points of emphasis, including written communication, history, abstract reasoning, the scientific method, the creative process, and issues of culture, diversity, and ecological sustainability.

Goucher College is an independent, coeducational liberal arts college located on 287 wooded acres just north of Baltimore. Enrolling more than 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students, Goucher offers a wide variety of majors and offers highly motivated students the opportunity to create individualized, interdisciplinary programs of study.

In addition to studying abroad, Goucher undergraduates actively participate in internship programs and community service projects, testing and enhancing their classroom learning through real, firsthand experience in the field. Close interaction with faculty is another cornerstone of a Goucher education, as is Goucher's strong belief in the importance of staying connected to the world outside campus through community action, intercultural awareness, and international exploration.

Release Date: September 20, 2005
Media Contact: Debra Rubino, drubino@goucher.edu