Washington and Lee University’s mission statement states that “graduates will be prepared for life-long learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.” To that end, study abroad opportunities are one of the many fantastic experiences students can choose to undertake during their four years in Lexington. Approximately 70% of students participate in an abroad program during their time at W&L. This experience may take place through an academic year or full term abroad, a faculty-led Spring Term abroad course, summer programs, international internships, international research opportunities or service learning.
The university’s Center for International Education (CIE) assists students in selecting an abroad program that satisfies their personal and academic goals, preparing them for living and studying in another country and reflecting on the experience upon their return to campus.
“The Center for International Education is the hub of information for students looking to study abroad. As well, it is a resource and advocate for international students on the W&L campus,” said Mark Rush, director of the Center and the Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law at W&L. “No matter where students are looking to go abroad we are excited to assist in that journey.”
Spring Term Abroad is a unique part of the W&L curriculum and experience. The month-long, five-day-a-week courses allow students to get an up-close, intensive, and personal experience of the subject matter on-site with a W&L faculty member during the Spring Term.
“W&L faculty and on-site partners work tirelessly to develop the diverse array of Spring Term Abroad courses offered each year,” said Jillian Murphy, Study Abroad Coordinator. “Past trips have included a hands-on investigation of 17th-century Dutch paintings in the Netherlands, intensive language study in Spain, China, and Japan, and even the experience of studying corporate social responsibility among local experts. Spring Term Abroad programs are eligible for financial aid funding and allow students to fully engage in an accessible, immersive experience with the support of their W&L peers and W&L faculty.”
Students of every major can study abroad. The cost to participate in a study abroad program varies, and CIE works to keep costs low for students. . The Center’s knowledgeable staff are eager to help students find an affordable option that fits their travel requirements. Students should meet with their academic advisor and the advisors in the CIE who can help them find the best program to fit their personal and educational goals.
While the global pandemic and resulting travel restrictions have made it more difficult to study abroad, W&L has continued to support opportunities through our approved programs. We welcome questions and students can schedule an online appointment with Cindy Irby to talk about programs that best meet their goals. We currently have 47 students studying abroad and look forward to many more going abroad this Spring, Summer, and Fall. For students interested in studying abroad this Fall, the deadline for applications is March 1. Read more about the application process and learn more about CIE here.
In addition to study abroad opportunities, the CIE supports over a hundred international students and scholars. According to Hunter Swanson, our International Student and Scholar adviser, “W&L is a welcoming place for international students from 45 countries. The international student population is increasing with a 40% jump in enrollment over the past five years.” In addition, W&L hosts international faculty and research scholars who enrich our community.
For more information on the Center for International Education, go to their website at go.wlu.edu/global.