Our Global Community
Who in the world are you? It’s the ultimate question, and at Lewis & Clark, you’ll have ample opportunity to explore the answer as you meet new people, immerse yourself in new cultures, and begin developing a broader context for viewing the world—and yourself.
Lewis & Clark requires all students to demonstrate competency in a second language and to explore another culture, either by spending a semester on an overseas study program or by taking two on-campus courses focusing on the history and culture of another region of the world. Half of our students choose to fulfill the requirement overseas, and quickly learn that the Lewis & Clark programs are far more than your typical semester abroad. As one student wrote in his journal from Samburuland, Kenya, “I might as well be on Mars. Nothing I have done, or ever will do, can possibly compare to this experience.”
You will be able to choose from approximately 25 destinations in any given year, including many recently developing nations, and are likely to encounter Lewis & Clark alumni in each locale. The continuing involvement of alumni and the rich relationships our faculty have built with local people over 47 years of visits will provide you with something no standard study or tourist program can offer: an intimate, real-world encounter with a place and its people. The experience may very well change your perceptions of your own country, and of yourself, forever.
Changing the world
Our students’ international interests may be piqued at Lewis & Clark, but they don’t stop here. In the last decade, 98 of our graduates have served in the Peace Corps in 47 different countries, including:
The World in Pictures
Recently, the staff in the W.M. Keck Interactive Learning Center, our digital language lab, sponsored a World Traveler Photo Contest. Lewis & Clark students and alumni submitted more than 180 photos, many of which now adorn the lab’s walls in the Miller Center for the Humanities.
A Warm Welcome
Lewis & Clark doesn’t just send students all over the world; we also attract students from all over the world. Most of our students come from more than 500 miles away, with about 10 percent coming from another country. Learn more.
Best of Both Worlds
Alex Harsha wasn’t interested in a pre-med program at a large university, where the perspective of those she worked with would have been all science, all-the-time. “Lewis & Clark offered more opportunities to synthesize my passions for medicine and international affairs and to have one foot in both worlds,” she says.
Although focused on pre-med requirements in her first year, she gladly accepted the invitation of international affairs professor and department chair Bob Mandel to collaborate on a summer research project that studied perceptions of international threats. “The conversations we had were one of the best parts of the experience,” says Alex. “He really challenged me to think creatively.”
Her interest grew with her involvement in Lewis & Clark’s International Affairs Symposium. As the cochair in 2008, she helped set the event’s focus on human security and bring former United Nations Representative John Bolton to attend as the keynote speaker. “I was thrilled,” says Alex. “I knew he would challenge everything students think about his positions, and that’s what I was most excited about. It’s fun to hear what you want to hear, but if you’re really passionate about learning and growing, you relish the opportunity to engage with someone who thinks differently than you.”
“My Lewis & Clark overseas study in China and domestic study in Washington, D.C, seduced me to a life of working at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy,” says Steven Chan ’98. Combined with his liberal arts education and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in international relations and development economics, these two experiences prepared him well for his position as economic and trade officer with the World Trade Organization Unit at the U.S. embassy in Beijing and, most recently, as a deputy director for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C.
“The ability to think independently, creatively, and critically was invaluable as a foreign service officer. I quickly synthesized the information I collected and provided analysis to policy makers in Washington. There was no room for error. One must be able to read in between, underneath, and behind the words.”
From his time at Lewis & Clark, Steven credits his small classes, close contact with professors, opportunities to work with classmates on projects, and expertise from the staff of the Writing Center as ingredients to his success. “When I wrote reports and speeches for the ambassador, I kept advice from the Writing Center fresh in my mind.”