Study Abroad as a Global Cultural Studies Major

As a Global Cultural Studies major, you are encouraged to incorporate an off-campus program into your studies.

Chairs in front of an old building

Why study abroad?

Students of all majors benefit from studying abroad, but a Global Cultural Studies major is especially well suited to such an experience because it will help you to:

  • gain comparative and cross-cultural perspectives on a new culture
  • immerse yourself deeply in another culture through participant-observation
  • enhance your intercultural communication and improve language skills
  • broaden your world view and deepen your understanding of yourself
  • examine your values and beliefs in new ways
  • prepare for life after college by becoming a globally engaged citizen

How will study abroad count toward my major? Will it take me longer to graduate?

Global Cultural Studies credit: General Guidelines

Given that study abroad experiences match so well with the main goals of global cultural studies (e.g. participant-observation, language learning, immersion), the Global Cultural Studies Department is highly supportive of our majors and minors who go on study abroad, and we try to give credit accordingly.

Most often, we count relevant study abroad courses as one or two "Global Cultural Studies electives."  These study abroad classes do not have to replicate elective courses offered at Willamette; in fact, an advantage to studying abroad is getting to take courses not offered at WU. 

As long as the courses are centrally focused on another culture (even if the term "global cultural studies" is not in the course title), there's a good chance we will give it elective credit.

How to get credit

The short answer is that you need to ask your Global Cultural Studies major advisor to approve the credits. (If you're a Global Cultural Studies minor, talk with any Global Cultural Studies professor that you already have had a class with.) You can either do this before, during or after your study abroad experience.  Obviously, it's ideal to make this arrangement before you go abroad, so you know in advance what will count for Global Cultural Studies credit, but that's not always possible, so you also have the options of asking your advisor for credit by email while you are abroad or even after returning.

Here's what you need to give your advisor: a) the course title (as listed in the catalog of the other college), b) the course number, and c) a short course description (copy and paste, hard copy, or web link).  If you have a syllabus with a longer course description and list of readings (not always possible), include that as well.  In addition to this information, tell your advisor how many total Global Cultural Studies elective credits you'd like to get.

In most cases, your advisor can tell you which classes count for Global Cultural Studies elective credit, especially if you're going on one of the more frequently used WU study-abroad programs. If there are any questions, though, the advisor will ask the rest of the Global Cultural Studies faculty to make a collective decision. Once you have this response, from your advisor or the full Department faculty, you can rest assured that we'll honor that agreement.

After you return from study abroad and all of your credits show up on your Degree Audit, please ask your advisor to email the Registrar and let them know which courses (specify by the course number appearing on the degree audit) should count for Global Cultural Studies elective credit; that process just takes a few days in most cases and then you'll have the elective credit appear in the right place on your Degree Audit.

When should I study abroad?

Programs are offered during the summer, fall or spring semester or for a full academic year.

We encourage our majors to study abroad whenever possible; please talk with your advisor to make sure you have chosen a time for study abroad that still allows you to finish the required core courses in the major and any remaining general education requirements.

Summer programs are open to students at all levels, unless otherwise noted.

Can I afford to study abroad?

Yes! Willamette-sponsored semester programs are comparable in cost to being on campus for a semester and most forms of financial aid can be applied. See the OIE website for more details about program costs and additional expenses to consider.

Scholarships for study abroad are available and can be found on the OIE website. It is critical to begin to research scholarships early, even before you apply for study abroad.

How should I choose a program?

Explore! Just as you spent time researching colleges before deciding on Willamette, you will want to spend time investigating programs abroad to ensure a good fit.

  • Research class offerings to know whether there are classes that meet your academic needs.
  • Consider your personal goals for the experience and seek out programs that will help you to meet them.
  • Investigate which programs offer support services you may need during your time there.
  • Meet with an OIE advisor and your major advisor!

Programs of interest for Global Cultural Studies majors

Willamette offers a broad range of programs featuring diverse locations, languages and structures and Global Cultural Studies supports them all.  Most programs are open to all majors and you are encouraged to explore a wide range of possibilities. We always recommend that you try to find a program that matches with your language skills and, if possible, has a home-stay component, since these allow you to get deeply immersed in the culture. 

Here are some popular, sample programs to consider as you begin your search, but be sure to consult the OIE website for a full list of available programs.

Resources for study abroad:

Office of International Education

Visit the Office of International Education’s website to learn more about program options, scholarships how to apply and more.

study abroad

Going abroad necessitates pushing yourself. The first time I bought my own groceries at the local market and the first time I bought my own morning pastry and tea in Arabic changed my world.  My conception of who I could talk to and where I could go expanded when I exercised my independence in that way.

Julia DiSimone, ’18, Morocco

Willamette University

Global Cultural Studies

900 State Street
Salem OR 97301 U.S.A.

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