Many colleges facilitate study abroad opportunities, and some colleges have unique programs that allow you to immerse yourself in a new culture.

Heading off to college means experiencing new ideas, people, and experiences. While there’s plenty to learn and explore on campus, colleges make it easy to explore farther afield too. Study abroad programs allow you to go to a different country, learning as you partake in a new culture and environment. There are plenty of traditional semester-long study-abroad programs, but increasingly, colleges are offering—and sometimes even requiring—new ways for students to travel internationally.

Some schools, including Goucher College, Susquehanna University, and Soka University of America, have gone so far as to require all undergraduates to study abroad, while other schools have chosen to make it an integral part of select majors and courses. Below are five schools that offer unique programs and courses that encourage expanding your horizons outside the classroom.

1. University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota

The University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management requires all business majors to spend time abroad through its International Experience program. While this can be accomplished through traditional study-abroad programs, it can also be done through research, volunteer work, internships, or even a gap year. Additionally, there are semester-long on-campus courses that are accompanied by a required two-week trip in May or June after the academic year has ended.

2. Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Each semester Dickinson College offers one Global Mosaic class, which supplements an on-campus course with several weeks of fieldwork and cultural submersion. For example,  Leadership in Crisis Mosaic is a four-part course touching on leadership, geology, and ecology, culminating in a one-week field research trip to Iceland. Previous courses brought students to Nepal, Japan, Italy, and Brazil. The objective of these trips is to expose Dickinson students to a range of thought and experience so they can bring that broader perspective when they go on to work with diverse communities on local, national, and international levels.

3. George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

If you want travel to be a significant part of your undergraduate experience, you should consider George Washington University. It offers a Global Bachelor’s Program that requires students to spend at least two semesters abroad. As sophomores, students travel to Belfast, Ireland, or Shanghai, China. Upperclassmen are required to spend an additional semester abroad or complete an international internship during the summer. There is only one required course that must be taken at the school’s D.C. campus during senior year—leaving lots of opportunity for travel. The Global Bachelor’s Program is open to students in the Columbian College of the Arts & Sciences, Elliott School of International Affairs, and the School of Business, but they must apply to the program during the spring semester of their freshman year.

4. Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas

Students in the University Honors Program at Southern Methodist University can choose from semester-long courses each spring that are supplemented with travel to a related destination over spring break. While the offerings change each year, classes for the spring-summer 2022 semester included a history course in Rome and Paris and a five-week summer term at University College in Oxford, England. These trips offer an immersive learning experience and the opportunity to broaden a student’s perspective.

5. Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota

Based on the premise that travel is a path to intellectual and cultural engagement, Macalester College’s Anthropology Department requires its students to complete a “study away” experience  in the United States or in another country. Each student’s experience must be grounded in independent research or fieldwork, and participants are given the option of designing their own off-campus experience or selecting from an approved program in countries like South Africa, Senegal, Bolivia, Peru, China, Mongolia, or Nepal.

These five schools are a tiny subset of the vast opportunities available to students to incorporate travel into their college experience. If travel is a priority for you, look for schools that promote it by making it a core part of their curriculum—whether for a single class or woven throughout your college experience.

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