THE GLOBAL SEMESTER
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 ?eld supervisor provides interpretations and evaluations of the curricular and co-curricular experience and offers a course of study that relates his or her academic ?eld to the overall program topic of “Global Issues.”
The Global Itinerary (tentative)
Egypt Cairo 1 week
Tanzania Mwangaza 1 month
India Hyderabad, 10 days
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 meals, accommodations, and travel during break periods.
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-.
Around-the-world group ticketing includes the domestic transportation from a participant’s nearest major airport and back to the same airport. 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.
Field Supervisor: (The Field Supervisor is the St. Olaf professor who travels with the group.)
Professor Kris Thahammer is professor of political science, specializing in comparative politics, human rights, resistance to injustice and area studies. She has been teaching at St. Olaf since 1991, including teaching in the Latin American Studies program and leading peace scholars to Guatemala She developed an interest in human rights and political and economic development while traveling across Africa in her twenties and has done field research in Colombia and Argentina. She has also traveled extensively through Europe and Latin America and visited the Middle East multiple times in the past 4 years. She is passionate about the intersections of international and domestic factors that affect human rights and political and economic development. Her class will explore the ways that one's citizenship and status as an insider versus an outsider affects prospects for living with dignity and security in different contexts.
Assistant Field Supervisor: David Anderson (Kris's husband, not the President of St.Olaf) is an IT consultant for small businesses in the Northfield area. He has run his own small business for the past 16 years. A business major as an undergraduate, he is interested in understanding internet security and information accessibility in different parts of the world and how they contribute to economic opportunities. Dave has traveled in Europe and Latin America and is excited to encounter new and differing perspectives on the role of technology in different settings.
Field Participant: Anna Anderson will graduate from high school in June 2018 and will be taking a gap year to come on Global Semester. She enjoys photography and is studying Spanish. She has traveled to Europe and Latin America and has dual US-Colombian citizenship. She is eager to explore more of the world and to better understand what being a citizen of a place really means.
Courses Offered in 2018
Field Supervisor’s Course:
Political Science 254: Comparative Citizenship and Identity Across Borders
This course will compare how the states we visit, which have varied achievements in terms of political, economic and social development, address the differences within their societies that may undermine social and political stability. We will compare secular/religious, ethnic, class/economic and gender divisions within these societies and see how these divisions are addressed in each state’s institutions (e.g. the constitution and laws), mechanisms for political representation (elections and political offices) and in citizens’ perceptions and socialization experiences. Examples of some of the divisions we may explore include secular and religious divisions or ethnicity and regional differences. Counts toward major, Political Science (approval pending). GE: Multicultural Studies (MCG) (approval pending).
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 (HBS) (Approval pending).
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) (Approval pending)
Applications open November 2, 2017
Global Semester Interest Meeting February 13, 2018, 4:30-5:30 p.m., Buntrock 144
Applications due March 1, 2018
Interviews, Selection, and Notifications March 16, 2018
Orientation Retreat April 28 & 29, 2018
For further information, please contact:
2018 Field Supervisor
Holland Hall 210, email@example.com
Mary Titus, Rolvaag 404, firstname.lastname@example.org
2017 Field Supervisor
Jason Ripley, Old Main 320C, email@example.com
2016 Field Supervisor
Olaf Hall-Holt, Regents Hall of Mathematical Sciences 201 firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Program Blog:
International & Off-Campus Studies:
Tomson Hall 380, X3069, email: email@example.com