The Suzanne Fineman Cohen ’56 International Scholars Program

More Than a Study Abroad Program – Meaningful Intercultural Education


At a Glance

The Suzanne Fineman Cohen '56 International Scholars Program (ISP) is open by application to all incoming first-year students of any major seeking to broaden their perspectives through intensive academic inquiry and deeply immersive study abroad experiences.

The ISP enriches your intercultural literacy through 3 multidisciplinary seminars before you study abroad, and then a senior roundtable discussion to reflect on those experiences after you return. It provides you with a greater understanding of how your learning connects you to the global community in which you’ll live and work when you graduate.

Every ISP participant studies abroad over a full semester or academic year, because genuine immersion takes time and the real benefits of living abroad accrue over an extended period of time. Students can choose to go abroad as early as second semester of their sophomore year or as late as first semester of their senior year – and every participant receives a $3000 voucher* to offset expenses.

Because the ISP is neither a major nor a minor, but rather a special program with more rigor than the usual undergraduate requirements, we think its participants deserve special recognition for completing it. You’ll get that recognition publicly when you’re introduced as an International Scholar at Commencement, and your participation in the ISP will also be specially noted on your Goucher transcript.


Up Close

During your first year in the program, you’ll get a broad view of the modern world through a seminar called “Perspectives on the Global Condition.” It’s a series of three courses taken alongside your other classes over the fall, January, and spring terms. You can use it to fulfill your first-year “Frontiers” requirement, and your room and board for the January term are covered.

Fall: The Rise of the Atlantic World
You’ll examine three foundational and powerful movements – the Atlantic slave trade, the scientific revolution, and the Enlightenment – that helped establish the primacy of what we know as the Western World over the course of three centuries. Your inquiry will begin with a discussion of Globalization: A Very Short Introduction, which we will read over the summer as a way to jumpstart the class.

January: American Identities
Our understanding of other cultures is enriched by knowledge of our own, and what better way to know a culture than to study its dreams. The course uses literature, visual and performing art, film, historic documents, and museum exhibitions to explore what the shifting content of our national dreams reveals about our deepest aspirations and anxieties.

Spring: Postcolonial Globalism
You’ll discover that perhaps the story of the world is not so linear – that perhaps there have been efforts to resist the wholesale deconstruction of other identities, values, and realities. After reading Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction prior to the start of the course, we will use film, literature, and other materials to examine challenges to Western dominance. Cases from sub-Saharan Africa, India and its diaspora, and the Middle East will illuminate the crux of the relationship between a globalizing West and those places the West has needed for its own uses.

The International Scholars Program offers a social media platform dedicated to supporting student and faculty participation in ISP assignments and activities.

Each year of ISP, students will be required to provide contributions to the site.

  • As freshmen, they will begin a profile of themselves. They will also be asked to write short essays of 500 words on the following topics: Description of individual research project, why they chose it, and what they learned from it; reflections on the major insights gleaned from each of the three courses.

  • As sophomores students will be advised to connect to Baltimore through a curricular or co-curricular community based learning experience. They will write an essay on this experience and connect it to their ISP experience. They will also write an essay reflecting on the process of determining their study abroad program.

  • During and after their study abroad they will be required to post a reflective essay about the experience, and encouraged to use the site to share their experiences through regular journal entries and/or media uploads. As juniors, a webex meeting will also be convened, allowing them to reconnect.

  • As seniors they will share their ISP 310 essays on the site, and also write a short essay describing their future plans and how these plans are influenced by their education in ISP.

Then you’ll go abroad – equipped with a fluent appreciation of the dynamics of the global order. Drawing on all you’ve learned so far, you’ll immerse yourself in the host culture and see how your major discipline is studied and practiced on an international scale. When you return, we ask you to take some time to reflect on the experience. To help you organize your thoughts, you’ll rejoin the other International Scholars from your previous seminars to share what you’ve seen, done, and learned.

You don’t have to be an International Scholar to study abroad. But if you want to be sure you’re making the most of the experience – and getting a truly global perspective on your whole undergraduate education – the Suzanne Fineman Cohen '56 International Scholars Program is the best way to do it.

*The $3,000 voucher is in lieu of the $1,200 study abroad voucher

* Because genuine immersion takes time, we require that students study abroad over a full semester or academic year.

If you have questions about the International Scholars Program, please contact Dr. Eric Singer at 410-337-6255.