A group of Trinity students and faculty pose for a photo near the Great Wall of China during a summer program in Shanghai.
Learning that Trinity students have studied abroad in more than 45 countries on 6 continents may not actually come as a surprise: Since the University’s founding, Trinity has placed an emphasis on international education. As early as the 1890s, Trinity faculty had studied ‘abroad’ at the University of Chicago (3 weeks by ship to Europe and back wasn’t yet in the budget). Then, in 1901, President Jesse Anderson was the first faculty member to take his leave across the pond. Before his installation as president, Anderson traveled to Europe, visiting universities and libraries to learn about innovative teaching methods, curricular reform, and campus social environments. Upon his return, he praised the benefits of broadening perspectives through international education. The 1913 Course of Study Bulletin even cites faculty member Sarah L. Nicholas as having studied music abroad in Vienna and Paris.
The rest, as they say, is history: Fast forward half a century, and by 1953 the University was offering at least two study abroad programs to Europe. Additionally, Trinity was among the first universities to place graduates in Crossroads Africa, the international aid program preceding the Peace Corps. By the early 1980s, Trinity had established several relationships with universities in different countries. This included a partnership forged in 1961—and one still maintained today—with the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (also known as Tec) in Mexico.
From the cities of China to the countrysides of Canada, and from the northern tip of Russia to the southern tip of Argentina, Tigers have set foot in nearly every corner of the globe with one common mission: Learn—and learn from—the cultures and experiences of those who are shaping the world around us. With director Nancy Ericksen at the helm for more than three decades, Trinity’s study abroad program became more and more robust, offering students the opportunity to study abroad in all disciplines (yes, even engineering science!) and in many different languages and countries. Participation increased from 38 students in 1981-82 to 200 students by 1999-2000. Today, more than 35 percent of the student body studies abroad in at least one of Trinity’s approved courses or programs.
“I was able to experience firsthand the fantastic and bloodless November Revolution of 1989 because I studied abroad in the German Democratic Republic—or, more commonly, East Germany—during the '89-'90 academic year.” – Lee Koch ’92, Trinitonian, Feb 8, 1991
Program offerings have both increased and diversified to ensure the maximum number of students are able to take advantage of time abroad while at Trinity. Faculty-led study abroad, the newest of these programs, allows students and faculty to explore social and cultural issues relevant to their majors or areas of interest. Recent faculty-led study abroad trips have included courses on sport in London, environmental ecology in Costa Rica, and history and culture in Cuba.
Additionally, University programs EAST (East Asian Studies at Trinity) and MAS (Mexico, the Americas, and Spain) have connected students with studies, courses, and internships. Summer internships in Shanghai through EAST allow students to gain hands-on experience in an international business setting; summer- and semester-long internships in Madrid through MAS place students in family-owned businesses, international banks, and many companies in between.