Off Campus Study Abroad Options

Do You Want To Study Off-Campus During Interim 2017?

Tomson Hall 380 · 507-786-3069 ·

Those who participated in these interims last year speak enthusiastically about how much they learned and experienced as individuals and as part of a small group. We encourage you to explore these options.

Education 170: Urban Schools & Communities

  • Instructor: Maurella Cunningham
  • GE Credit: MCD
  • Major Credit: Education-Human Relations Component (ED382); Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Concentration credit: Race and Ethnic Studies; Education
  • Prerequisite: None (Interest in education & providing service to urban youth expected.)

In this course, students examine how schools and communities in the Twin Cities interact to provide support and developmental opportunities for school-age children. Through lectures, readings, discussions, field trips and in-school and co-curricular placements, students gain an understanding and awareness of how race, class, ethnicity, national origin, and gender shape the complex character of urban youth and schools. Students will spend one week in orientation activities on campus and two weeks in the Twin Cities. During the time in the Twin Cities, students participate as tutors and classroom assistants during the school day and then assist in various after-school and community programs. The last week of Interim is spent back on campus discussing the experience.

French 235:  French Language and Moroccan Culture in Fes

  • Instructor:  Amine Bekhechi
  • GE credits:  Foreign Language  (FOL-F); Completes foreign language requirement; MCG  (Multicultural Studies Course)
  • Prerequisite:  Satisfactory completion of French 231 or placement in 232

Students study French language and Moroccan culture in the Imperial City of Fes.  An immersion experience that includes home stays with local French-speaking families, the course focuses on  Moroccan culture yesterday and today, emphasizing the multicultural aspects of Morocco and facilitating student interaction with the local population. Field trips to various sites in and around Fes, day-long visits to Meknès and Moulay Idriss, and a longer excursion to Marrakech and Casablanca.  Review of second-year French grammar is integrated into the reading and discussion of texts pertaining to Morocco’s history and culture and their relation to present-day Morocco.  Taught in French.

Spanish 233: Intermediate Spanish II in Ecuador

  • Instructor:  Jonathan O’Conner
  • GE Credits: Foreign Language (FOL-S); Multicultural Studies Course (MCG), Completes foreign language requirement in Spanish
  • Prerequisite: Spanish 231 with a minimum grade of B- or equivalent preparation

This course provides students with an intensive linguistic and cultural immersion experience in Ecuador. In-class activities focus on development of language skills and cross-cultural awareness. Outside of class, students improve their language proficiency and explore the cultural identity of Ecuador through a three-and-a-half-week home stay with a family in Quito; excursions and activities in and around the city of Quito; and field trips to the indigenous market of Otavalo, the Amazon region, and other areas in rural Ecuador.

Spanish 234: Intermediate Spanish II in Costa Rica

  • Instructor: Gwen Barnes-Karol
  • GE credits: Foreign Language (FOL-S); Multicultural Studies Course (MCG), Completes foreign language requirement
  • Prerequisite: Spanish 231 with a minimum grade of B- or equivalent preparation

Students explore geographic, economic, political, and ethnic dimensions of life in Costa Rica by combining intensive course work with such cross-cultural experiences as a homesty in San Jose, field work, visits to sites of cultural interest, and excursions to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.  They consolidate their language skills and continue to develop their skills for analyzing and communicating in Spanish through compositions, oral presentations, and interviews of Costa Ricans.

Applications available on line at

Choosing An Off-Campus Study Program

Where Would You Like To Study?

  • St. Olaf College has over 65 approved destinations for off-campus study. These sites cover most of the world: Europe, Asia, Africa, South/Central America, the Middle East and the United States. Each year there are also 30-35 one-month, off-campus January interims led by St. Olaf faculty to domestic and international destinations.

What Type of Program Best Fits You?

  • There are five main types of programs. It is important to determine what type of experience best fits you and your desire for study independently or in a group.
  • St. Olaf Faculty Led Programs: Mediterranean Semester, Global Semester and Environmental Science in Australia are 4-5 month programs led by St. Olaf faculty. Students live and study as a group and are taught by local faculty for all but one course, which is taught by the St. Olaf Field Supervisor.  January Interim programs are one-month programs taught by St. Olaf faculty in both domestic and abroad locations.
  • Exchange Programs: St. Olaf has exchange agreements with universities in Germany, China, Japan, Scotland, Norway and South Korea.  Students from universities abroad study at St. Olaf and St. Olaf students most often study abroad in the language of the country.
  • Direct Enrollment: Programs in England, Scotland, Ireland, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Norway, New Zealand and Australia allow students to enroll as regular students of these universities for a semester or year. Students live either on campus or in apartments near campus, cook their own meals and take exams alongside university students.
  • Consortial Programs: St. Olaf belongs to the ACM (Associated Colleges of the Midwest), HECUA (Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs), CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) and numerous smaller consortiums. Colleges form together to offer programs in destinations which might not have enough interest on individual campuses. Students usually have classes with the group of students from the consortial schools, are usually taught by on-site faculty and often have the option of a family stay. ACM offers programs in: Florence, London/Florence, Japan, Chicago, Tanzania, Botswana, Costa Rica, Oak Ridge (Tennessee) and India. HECUA has programs in Norway, Mpls/St. Paul, Northern Ireland and Ecuador. CIEE offers programs in Russia, France, Ghana, Chile, Senegal, South Africa and Spain. IES offers programs in Paris, Vienna, Argentina and Milan.  Other consortial programs are: Programs in France, Washington Semester, Budapest Math Semester, Oregon Extension, Center for Global Education Programs in Namibia and Central America, Social Work in Mexico and Denmark International Study.
  • St. Olaf Programs: A few programs are St. Olaf organized, but not led by St. Olaf faculty. These are: Term in China; Biology in South India and Student Teaching in India. Students are alone or in a group of 4-10, integrated into the culture.

Do You Want To Study Where You Speak the Language?

  • It is important for language majors to study in a culture where they can be immersed in the language. St. Olaf offers programs for student majoring in: Russian, Norwegian, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, and French. Students who are at a higher level, but not majoring in the language can also study in these languages.

When Is It Best For You To Study Off-Campus?

  • The most common time to study off-campus is during the junior year. However, it is also common to study off-campus during the first semester of senior year. Sometimes students will participate during Semester II of the sophomore year.
  • First year students may only study off-campus on language programs during interim which are the 4th semester courses for French and Spanish or on the Education interim in the Twin Cities.  These are designed for first-year students.
  • Many students have their first off-campus experience during their sophomore or junior year on a January interim and then elect to spend the following semester or year studying off-campus.

Which Is Better? A Semester, Year, Or An Interim?

  • Students share that the longer you live in a culture the more you understand the people and the society. Many St. Olaf programs allow students to study for a full year. There are also semester and semester/interim programs. The shortest time is the January interim. It is highly encouraged to spend as much time on the off-campus program as possible.
  • The year/semester programs average in cost from $2,000-5,000 (which includes room and board) over studying on campus for a 4-9 month experience off-campus. The January interims cost $2,800-7,000 for one-month study program off-campus.

What Credits Can You Bring Back From Off-Campus?

  • St. Olaf students who study off-campus stay on track for graduation. You may bring back both GE (General Education) credits and major credits from off-campus programs. These credits do not count in your GPA unless they are taught by St. Olaf faculty, but the grade will show on the transcript.
  • Each program has different allowances for GE credit. The field supervised and some of the consortial programs have pre-determined GE credits, while the direct enroll and exchange programs allow you to take a variety of courses. The most commonly taken GE courses off-campus are: ALS-A, ALS-L, HWC, HBS, MCG, MCD.  Credits that are advisable to finish on campus are: IST, AQR, SED, EIN, WRI, BTS-T, SPM and ORC.
  • Major credit is determined by each individual department chair. Most departments will allow one or sometimes two major credits to transfer from off-campus programs for the major.

When Should You Apply?

  • If you want to study off-campus during January of your first year (see options listed above) you need to fill out an application in September.  Please contact the Office of International and Off-Campus Studies in Tomson 380 to find out about the application process.
  •  Application deadline for the 2016-17 semester and year programs (both Semester I and II) is approximately March 1, 2016.   On-line applications will be available beginning in November, 2015. There will be an Off-Campus Study Open House in the Black and Gold Ballroom in Buntrock Commons in early November.
  • Application process for the 2017 January interims (your sophomore year) will begin in April 2016, at the Off-Campus Interim Open House in the Black and Gold Ballroom in Buntrock Commons. The first deadline for interim selection is in late April, 2016.  Applications will be accepted on a rolling admission after that date until October, 2016.

If You Have Questions

  • International and Off-Campus Studies is located in Tomson Hall 380. Staff of International and Off-Campus Studies is available to answer your questions. Helene MacCallum is Coordinator of Advising and Student Activities ( or 507-786-3871) and can assist you with choosing a program to suit your academic needs.
  • Each approved program has a faculty program adviser. This faculty member is a valuable resource about each individual program and is listed in the front of the brochure.
  • St. Olaf College encourages you to study off-campus on a domestic or international academic program for a semester, year or interim. We look forward to assisting you to study and learn with the world as your campus.