Colby-Sawyer created Global Beginnings, in partnership with Customized Educational Programs Abroad and American Institute for Foreign Study, to offer more of its students than ever before the opportunity to study abroad and see the worldand themselvesfrom a new perspective.
Just 175 students have studied away from campus in the last 18 years, in large part because students weren't able to apply their financial aid to the venture.
One of the breakthroughs with Global Beginnings is that it costs exactly the same as a semester at Colby-Sawyer and students can apply their financial aid, Vice President and Dean of Faculty Deborah Taylor notes.
Fall semester of the first year is the most flexible time in students' schedules, and bringing them back to campus in the spring helps balance enrollment by filling spots created by mid-year graduations and transfers.
Faculty and staff across campus united to work through the countless details that arose in putting the program together. In true Colby-Sawyer fashion, everyone just rolled up their sleeves and did it, says Vice President Taylor.
Global Beginnings is expected to continue on an ongoing basis, though destinations may change. We certainly have a dream and are thinking about the infrastructure we need to manage this moving forward, particularly as we plan for Global Beginnings to be only one piece of a larger picture of international study, says Vice President Taylor.
Meeting on Campus
The Global Beginnings students, representing six countries and eight states, arrived on the Colby-Sawyer campus August 18 for two weeks of orientation. The time was hectic. They met the Colby-Sawyer professors and residential staff members who would accompany each group, and they started language, writing and Pathways courses. There were also together with gossamer bonds that only strengthened over the course of semester.
Wang Yu Jia from China recalls the group doing homework at Colby Farm together, listening to student David Hart play his guitar, and swimming in a lake at midnight.
Together, the students tackled sessions of Rosetta Stone language instruction, tried to demystify Blackboard, and took cooking classes to prepare for a college experience that did not include a dining hall.