“Global Perspective” – The term comes up again and again when St. Olaf students and faculty talk about the lessons they have learned while studying on international and domestic off-campus programs.
They’re talking about the kind of exciting insights that come when Hindu caste systems, Scandinavian cinema, or Greek architecture come to life before their eyes; when their biology or physics laboratory moves to a rain forest, a desert, or a glacier; or, when everyday and utterly familiar things like eating breakfast or taking a bath are put into thought-provoking new contexts.
More than three-fourths of all St. Olaf students participate in off-campus programs, many of them led by St. Olaf faculty members. As a matter of fact, more than 65 percent of every graduating class have studied internationally, in places as diverse as Aberdeen, Chiang Mai, Harare, and Medan. About 25 percent have particpated in domestic programs- ranging from Interim courses on desert ecology to consortial programs in urban education, the contemporary art scene, and northwoods environmental literature.
Obviously, a number of students find off-campus study so valuable that they participate in two or three programs during their St. Olaf careers. Of equal importance is the fact that faculty members find these programs extremely rewarding- both for their students and for themselves. Thas is why, in the almost 40 years that St. Olaf has been sponsoring them, the college’s field supervised programs (Term in the Middle East, Term in Asia, Global Semester, and more recently, Environmental Science in Australia and the Term in Germany) have been led by 47 different professors, and 130 faculty members have led more than 300 off-campus Interim courses.
Each off-campus offering has a program adviser. Program advisers are St. Olaf faculty members who are particularly well qualified to offer academic advice on specific programs.