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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Arusha, Tanzania; Beijing, China; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cairo, Egypt; Delhi, India; Paris, France
  • 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, 2019

The Global Semester is a fall-semester academic program which gives students insight into cultures around the world. Through the combination of careful course structuring and direct cultural exposure, the semester provides a remarkable experience of academic merit and personal development.
Students who have completed the Global Semester program will have the 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 one’s own identity.
The itinerary takes the group around the world with visits to Egypt, 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. To gain understanding of their national pulse by living among their aspiring young people is, in itself a worthwhile reason for participation. However, a direct academic involvement through lectures, discussion, readings, and exams deepens each student’s understanding of prevailing issues and provides a learning experience readily evaluated against St. Olaf’s standards of academic measurement.
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 the Council for International and Educational Exchange in 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)

Egypt                                Cairo                                1 week
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 an applicant’s scholastic standing, aptitude for the type of program involved, class year, faculty recommendations, and an interview.
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 on regularly scheduled jet aircraft in economy class; tuition and fees; accommodations en route in standard hotels in shared rooms; in student dormitories or similar establishments in the principal university centers; three meals per day; participation in scheduled sight-seeing programs according to itinerary.
The program does not cover additional meals, transportation, passport costs and snacks - please see budget sheet for more extensive details. 
A student’s regular financial aid will be applied to the cost of the program with the exception of a work-study award.  (Note – students may be able to work additional hours in Interim and spring to make up lost fall hours).
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 ?eld supervisor either graded or S/U. In this case, the graded course is ?gured into the GPA; if S/U, no course credit is earned if the grade earned is below C-.
Global Semester participants will depart from the MSP airport and return to the MSP airport. 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 August.  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.
Faculty Leader: 

Elizabeth Leer, Associate Professor and Chair of the Education Department, has been teaching at St. Olaf since 2004. Her previous experience as a public school teacher led to her research interest in how to infuse multicultural education (especially multicultural literature) effectively into largely homogeneous environments, and her experience in the teacher education program at St. Olaf has led to her interest in preparing culturally competent teachers who can meet the needs of all of their students. She teaches general pedagogy and English education methods courses and has led the interim course “Multicultural Education in Hawaii” on three occasions. She also serves as the Director of Student Teaching abroad and has traveled to India numerous times to supervise St. Olaf student teachers. On Global Semester she is excited to explore educational opportunity and quality in three countries located on three different continents. 

Joel Leer is the principal of Northfield High School, a 9-12 high school that serves 1300 students from Northfield and the surrounding area. He taught English at the middle and high school levels for nine years before moving into educational administration, where he has served for 17 years. Joel has a bachelor’s degree in English from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, a master’s degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, and is currently completing his doctorate in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development at the University of Minnesota. He’s very much looking forward to exploring social and educational systems while abroad.  

Isaac Leer will be in 9th grade at Northfield High School, where his dad will oversee his every move upon their return from traveling abroad fall semester. Isaac is 14 years old and passionate about stage acting. He has had the opportunity to act professionally at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, and numerous other theaters throughout the Northeast and Midwest on the Broadway National Tour of Elf during the 2018 holiday season. He also enjoys jamming on the piano and stand-up bass. He’s pretty well-traveled for a kid, but on Global he is looking forward to broadening his humble mid-western culinary horizons.  

Silas Leer is 10 years old and will be in 5th grade at Greenvale Park Elementary School in Northfield. Silas enjoys acting, too, and played the part of Mini-Grinch and Tommy Who in the holiday production of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas at the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis. Silas also loves soccer, playing piano, reading, and watching movies whenever his parents don't say no. Silas never misses an opportunity to explore his neighborhood and the numerous social opportunities that exist there, so doing the same on a global scale appeals to him greatly. He's looking forward to making friends on "the other side of the world."  

Courses Offered in 2019:

Education 255:  Education in Global Contexts: Tanzania, China and Argentina
What does it mean to receive a quality education?  How do race, ethnicity, language, religion, gender, geography, and/or socioeconomic status impact the quality of education students receive?  Through readings, guest lectures, and school visits, students explore who has (and does not have) access to quality education in each location of study in the Global Semester program and how theories of learning and/or educational policies shape education outcomes.
Counts toward concentration:  Educational Studies
GE: 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 14, 2018
Global Semester Interest Meeting                      February 12, 2019, 5-6 p.m., Viking Theater
Applications due                                                  February 28, 2019
Interviews, Selection, and Notifications               March 21, 2019
Orientation Retreat                                              April 26 & 27, 2019
For further information, please contact:
Program Director
Olaf Hall-Holt, Regents Hall of Mathematical Sciences 210,

2019 Faculty Leader
Elizabeth Leer, Tomson Hall 290C

2018 Faculty Leader
Kris Thalhammer
Holland Hall 210,
2017 Faculty Leader
Jason Ripley, Old Main 320C,
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

Indicates that deadline has passed

This program is currently not accepting applications.