This is the first story in a weeklong series about Dartmouth’s global presence.
In generations past, students traveled abroad to study language and learn about art and culture, and their travels were confined mostly to Western Europe. Not anymore. As global awareness has become an essential part of a well-rounded education, student experiences have also changed. Now, all types of learning take place in all types of settings for Dartmouth students, who study economics in Milan, biological sciences in Costa Rica, linguistics in New Zealand, and engineering in Thailand.
And, as they journey ‘round the girdled earth, Dartmouth faculty and students bring Dartmouth to the world, and then bring the world back to Hanover.
“One of our greatest aspirations for our students and our faculty is for them to be fully engaged with and knowledgeable about the problems, opportunities, and changes taking place throughout the world,” says President Carol L. Folt. “The diverse experiences Dartmouth offers for global learning and scholarship have been among the best in higher education for more than 50 years and remain so today.”
A look at Dartmouth’s global footprint provides powerful evidence of the institution’s worldwide reach: Two-thirds of undergraduates take part in foreign study and faculty and students are engaged in research on every continent. Additionally, Dartmouth faculty, who have expertise in more than half the world’s countries, each year lead dozens of language and non-language programs.
“Participating in an off-campus program offers students a window into the holistic potential of their education,” says Lynn Higgins, associate dean for international and interdisciplinary studies. “They learn to navigate in the physical world and gain insight into their place in that world.”
Christianne Hardy Wohlforth, acting director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, agrees, saying students return to Dartmouth after study abroad with a better understanding of themselves.
“They begin these experiences believing they are learning about the world, but in fact, they are learning about themselves and developing a sense of themselves in the world,” she says. “It is only by placing themselves in a different cultural context that they become truly aware of who they are, as an individual and as a product of their culture.”
Dartmouth’s programs fit well with the D-Plan, which allows more flexibility in study abroad than universities with semester schedules. And Dartmouth offers many programs in addition to Language Study Abroad (LSA) and Foreign Study Programs (FSP), such as service experiences and alternative spring break trips run by Dartmouth’s centers. Additionally, Dartmouth offers programs in 10 languages, including Chinese and Arabic.
“Educating true global citizens provides students with an awareness of what it means to be ‘the other,’ ” says Professor Lindsay Whaley, vice provost and associate provost for international initiatives. “This is part of what it is to be well educated.
“Not that long ago, the world’s centers of knowledge were limited. But the landscape of knowledge production has been internationalized,” Whaley continues. “Some of the best scholars and thinkers in the world are in Asia and Africa and China and the Middle East, and it’s important for Dartmouth to have connections to these knowledge centers. Engagement with the world means going to these places.”
The campus community and larger Dartmouth family also provide an international experience, with current students hailing from 95 countries, alumni living in 111 nations, and many faculty holding dual citizenship. In addition, alumni travel programs circle the world, with the travelers often stopping to spend time learning alongside students who are studying abroad.
“After speaking with dozens of Dartmouth students, it became clear that time spent internationally provided some of the most rewarding experiences of their lives,” says Emily Unger ’11, who spent part of this year traveling the world and photographing Dartmouth students and alumni.
Dartmouth has partnerships with universities worldwide, including affiliations with the American University of Kuwait and American University in Kosovo, and as part of the Matariki Network, a seven-school consortium founded in 2010.
“There are many universities taking shape around the world that are relatively new and are interested in forming partnerships and alliances with the best universities, including Dartmouth,” says Laurel Stavis, assistant provost for international initiatives.
These alliances result in all sorts of collaborations. The Kosovo connection led to a visit to Dartmouth in March by Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga. And this fall, Kosovo’s minister of health will be at Dartmouth to discuss ways to expand on health care initiatives under way between the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and the government of Kosovo since 1999. This fall, President Folt will travel to China to celebrate 30 years of programs with Beijing Normal University.
“Extending the global reach of the world’s greatest universities offers unprecedented opportunities for students and faculty to grapple with, and find solutions to, the grand challenges facing society,” says Interim Provost Martin Wybourne. “Whether they relate to energy, climate, security, health, or policy, these are issues that affect us all.”
International Opportunities Abound
Dartmouth offers many Language Study Abroad (LSA) and Foreign Study Programs (FSP), and there are dozens of other ways for students to gain international perspective—from alternative spring breaks to research trips to service fellowships.
“The variety of programs, and the interdisciplinary nature of these trips, are what make the opportunities for Dartmouth students truly exceptional,” says Lindsay Whaley, vice provost and associate provost for international initiatives.
Here are some of the opportunities available to undergraduates:
Alternative Spring Break Trips
The William Jewett Tucker Foundation offers 10-day service trips to international destinations to learn about and fight against poverty, racism, and homelessness. This year’s excursion goes to the Dominican Republic.
The Tucker Foundation provides funding for service fellowships abroad; recent trips sent students to teach in Peru, volunteer in health care in Bolivia, and facilitate learning in a Chilean women’s prison. The Institute of Arctic Studies, part of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, awards the Stefansson Fellowship to students who want to pursue research in Arctic communities. Additionally, Tucker and Dickey offer Lombard Public Service Fellowships, which help fund service projects around the world for recent Dartmouth graduates.
The Dickey Center, the Tucker Foundation, and the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth all send undergraduates around the world on internships to further their academic research and professional development. Through the Dartmouth Global Health Initiative, the Dickey Center sponsors internships to expose students to the environmental, economic, and societal issues of global health. Additionally, the Institute for Security, Technology, and Society partners with the Neukom Institute to sponsor internships; a recent trip took a Dartmouth student to Nepal to work as a computer technology development intern with the NGO Volunteers Initiative Nepal.
Dartmouth has partnerships with a number of universities, including American University in Kuwait, American University in Kosovo, Durham University (United Kingdom), Queen’s University (Canada), University of Otago (New Zealand), University of Tubingen (Germany), University of Western Australia, and Uppsala University (Sweden).
Students and faculty can take advantage of exchanges, research collaboration, and visiting fellowships with these institutions. In addition, the Rockefeller Center sends students to Keble College of the University of Oxford as part of the Dartmouth-Oxford Exchange Program. Dartmouth also partners with the University of the Arctic and the University of Alaska Fairbanks through the Institute of Applied Circumpolar Policy to promote education, discussion, and analysis of critical issues facing the circumpolar region. Additionally, the Student Center for Research, Writing, and Informational Technology (RWIT) has partnered with the University of Paris to help it develop a writing center.
There are many programs that bring the world—and more—to Dartmouth. For instance, Dartmouth owns a 9 percent share of the Southern African Large Telescope, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, and uses it for three weeks of remote observation a year. The digital telescope transmits video of the night sky to Dartmouth through imaging cameras. The Montgomery Endowment brings distinguished people to campus every term for residencies. In addition, the Dickey Center sponsors an annual fellowship for an established scholar who researches or writes about international issues.
— Keith Chapman