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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Arusha, Tanzania; Beijing, China; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Delhi, India; Tunis, Tunisia
  • Program Terms: Fall
  • Budget Sheets: Fall
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Field of Study: Art, History, Religion Language of Instruction: English
Course Number: 255 Program Host: St. Olaf College
Class Eligibility: Junior, Senior, Sophomore Department: OFFC
Advisor or Instructor: Jason Ripley
Program Description:

Fall, 2020

The Global Semester is a fall semester academic program that provides opportunities to students to develop insight into cultures around the world and their social, political, and economic realities. Through the combination of careful course structuring, experiential learning activities, and engagement with communities, this semester holds the potential for great academic and personal development.
Students who have completed the Global Semester program will have improve their ability to analyze significant global issues in a comparative context; contextualize aspects of human diversity (such as race, class, gender, ethnicity, cultural or religious practices); and have the ability to reflect critically on their own identity as well as their home and campus communities.
The itinerary takes the group around the world with visits to Tunisia, Tanzania, India, China and Argentina. The academic program focuses on three main sites: Tanzania, China and Argentina. The group spends about a month in each country. These countries figure prominently in the political and cultural life of Africa, Asia and South America. In cooperation with coordinators in the three countries and in association with the staff of such institutions as the Mwangaza Partnership in Arusha, Tanzania, CET Academic Programs in Beijing, and Buenos Aires students study political, economic, religious, and cultural developments in the world. A St. Olaf faculty member serving as field supervisor provides interpretations and evaluations of the curricular and co-curricular experience and offers a course of study that relates his or her academic field to the overall program topic of “Global Issues.”
The Global Itinerary (tentative)

Tunisia/TBD                     Sidi Bou Said                   7 - 10 days
Tanzania                           Arusha                             1 month
India                                 New Delhi                        1 week
China                               Beijing                              1 month
Argentina                         Buenos Aires                   1 month
Group size is limited to a maximum of 20 students. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible.  Final selection is based on the student's strength of application, class year,  and an interview with the faculty leader and committee.

Thanks to a generous gift to the College, the cost of the Global Semester program is the same as regular St. Olaf tuition, room and board for the fall semester.  
The program covers the following: around-the-world group travel from/to the MSP airport; tuition and fees; accommodations in shared rooms in hotels, student housing or short-term apartment housing; three meals per day; participation in scheduled experiential activities.

The program does not cover all costs (i.e. passports and visa photos, personal expenses, immunizations, cell phone coverage, local transportation, snacks, additional meals, etc.) attached to studying abroad. Students should review the Global Semester budget sheet for additional details.  

A student’s regular financial aid will be applied to the cost of the program with the exception of a work-study award. 

Letter grades are recorded on the student’s transcript, but not computed in the grade point average. There is one exception: students may take the course taught by the accompanying faculty leader either graded or S/U. In this case, the graded course is figured into the GPA; if S/U, no course credit is earned if the grade earned is below C-.

Transportation to and from your home airport (if not MSP) is your responsibility, just as it would be if you were studying on-campus for the semester.  Participants must remain with the group at all times and take part in all curricular and co-curricular activities, and must travel internationally with the group in accordance with group rate regulations.

Students must have a passport in hand by May 1 that expires no sooner than July 1 following the end of the program.  IOS will collect participants' passports on May 1st and will not return them until departure.  Throughout the summer, IOS will submit the passports to various world consulates to obtain travel visas.  As such, you may not plan international travel between May and August prior to Global Semester.  Students who plan international travel during the summer should apply for a different off-campus study program that does not require multiple visas.

International students must consult with IOS and Taylor Center staff to discuss immigration and visas.


Faculty Leader: Doug Casson
Doug Casson, a professor of political science at St. Olaf since 2004, has taught courses in political theory and constitutional law, and directed the Great Conversation Program. He earned his B.A. in Classics, History, and Politics at Colorado Collage, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science at Duke University. Doug developed in an interest in big questions concerning political imagination, legitimacy, and revolution while interviewing dissidents in the former East Germany after college. He has studied and taught in Germany and led an Interim course to Britain, France, and Italy. He is fascinated by the ways in which people seek to form stable and equitable communities in the context of deep cultural, religious, and political differences. On Global, he is looking forward to the unexpected encounters and unscripted conversations that happen while traveling. 

Program Assistant: Katie Casson
Katie Casson teaches German at Northfield High School and the Concordia Language Villages. She has a bachelor's degree in German and Art History from Agnes Scott College and a master's degree in Education from the University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill. She is committed to helping students not only develop language proficiency but also cross-cultural communication skills. She leads an exchange with a high school in Germany and has extensive experience living and traveling abroad. Dedicated to nurturing courageous global citizens, Katie believes that the best way to build bridges between cultures and languages is with a large dose of humility, empathy, and humor. She is looking forward to Argentina, where she has wanted to travel since she first listened to Evita as a little girl. 

Doug and Katie will be joined by their three kids, sixteen-year-old Grace, fourteen-year-old Max, and twelve-year-old Claire. 

Courses Offered in 2020:

Political Science 247: Populism, Democracy, and Authoritarianism in a Global Context: Tanzania, China and Argentina. 
This course introduces students to debates over populism as a framework for exploring how the popular will is expressed, channelled, and constrained in diverse political contexts. Students will compare how established state institutions represent the varied interests and identities of populations and how populist movements challenge these institutions. By examining both theory and practice in a global context, students will learn to distinguish between populisms that sustain democratic government and those that nurture authoritarian rule. 
Counts toward major: Political Science 
GE: Multicultural Studies Global (MCG) & Oral Communications (ORC)
Interdisciplinary 252: Public Health in Social and Cultural Contexts in Tanzania
The course introduces students to the health care management systems in the developing world. The course forms a strong foundation for students to seek a just approach to health care systems globally following exploration of issues and discrepancies related to the delivery of public health services in Tanzania. The course offers theoretical introductions to different subjects and practical field visits to various organizations/health care facilities. GE: Studies in Natural Science (IST)
Political Science GL 248: China’s Political Economy
China has become one of the key political forces in current global affairs. In this course, students explore the forces and domains (history, economics, demographics, modernization, and industrialization) to learn how these components shape China’s political landscape. They study both internal factors such as ethnic tensions and income disparity, as well as external factors including foreign policy, human rights, and trade. Counts toward major: Political Science and Asian Studies. Counts toward concentration:  Asian studies and China studies.  GE:  Studies in Human Behavior and Society -AND- Multicultural Studies Global (HBS and MCG).

Interdisciplinary 246: Arts in Argentina: Transition and Transformation
This course examines historical and current social and political aspects of Argentina through the lens of the arts. Visual arts, literature, music, and public memorials express both political disputes and cultural clashes. The course is organized in four units that provide a chronological study of Argentinian history and how it is perceived through the arts, literature and music. In addition to assigned readings, faculty and students utilize other relevant materials that include documentaries, films, and field trips to historical and cultural places and museums and art galleries.
GE:  Artistic and Literary Studies (ALS-A).
Important dates:
Applications open                                              November 13, 2019                                       
Global Semester Interest Meeting                     December 4, 2019: 4 - 5 pm in Viking Theater
Application Meeting                                           February 10, 2020: 5 - 6 pm in Viking Theater
Interviews, Selection, and Notifications             February 13, 2020 - March 4, 2020
Orientation                                                         April 14, 2020 (5-8 pm) and April 15, 2020 (4-7 pm)
For further information, please contact:
Program Director
Jason Ripley, Old Main 320C

2020 Faculty Leader
Doug Casson, Holland Hall 604

2019 Faculty Leader
Elizabeth Leer, Tomson Hall 290C

Current Program Blog:
International & Off-Campus Studies:
Tomson Hall 380, X3069, email:


Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Academic Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2019-2020 02/28/2019
03/21/2019 09/01/2019 12/17/2019
Fall 2020-2021 02/13/2020
03/04/2020 TBA TBA

Indicates that deadline has passed

This program is currently not accepting applications.