Beyond the Classroom

The Junior Year International Experience and the Senior Capstone Course

Students who major in International Studies will be required to complete a Junior Year International Experience, as well as a Senior Capstone Course.

Junior Year International Experience

The International Experience is a unique language immersion experience which provide students with the opportunity to increase their knowledge of the foreign signed and written languages and to establish networking relationships with international communities. Two options are open to the student to fulfill this requirement:
1. Study Abroad in France, Germany or Spain
2. International Internship (IST 300) through the International Deaf Partnerships program.

Study Abroad

Study Abroad programs include the following:
a. German Sign Language (DGS) program in Hamburg
b. French Sign Language (LSF) program in Paris
c. Spanish Sign Language (LSE) program in Madrid

Each study abroad (FLC 200 French Studies, FLC 210 Spanish Studies, or FLC 215 German Studies) course is 5 credits. A small portion of the academic work takes place on campus through one hour per week of classroom instruction, which provides an orientation to the foreign culture; the bulk of the teaching/learning takes place while the students are abroad. Formal classroom-based instruction while abroad requires three hours per day for four weeks. Afternoons and some weekends are devoted to co-curricular instruction in the form of drama workshops in the target sign language (LSE program only), service activities and interaction with the local deaf community, and visits to other cities and places of cultural, historic, or artistic interest, many with guided tours in the target sign language.

International Deaf Partnerships (IDP)

International Deaf Partnerships (IDP) is an academic undergraduate program that fosters self-empowerment and solidarity with deaf communities in Latin America and Francophone Africa through student internships and service projects on behalf of Latin American and African deaf organizations. Due to its emphasis on global understanding, written and signed foreign language proficiency, cross-cultural sensitivity, social responsibility and leadership in action, IDP enhances student preparedness for today's world of work. 

Students take IST 300, a 4-credit course, during the summer of their junior year.  They are required to work for a minimum of 150 hours, and fulfill the duties outlined in a learning contract developed with their on-site supervisor, their sponsoring organization and their faculty sponsor.  Placements are made based on the student's concentration area and career objectives. The international internship gives students the opportunity to do fieldwork within their concentration area, addressing real issues and using foreign sign and written language and cross-cultural skills in real situations as well as applying information and methodology from the variety of disciplines that contribute to the major.

Senior Capstone Course

International Studies majors must also complete a Senior Capstone Course (IST 400: Senior Seminar in International Studies). This 3-credit course requires students to integrate the skills and knowledge developed in their major courses.  The thematic focus of the course will vary, depending upon the areas of expertise of the team of instructors drawn from the departments involved.  Discussions will be interdisciplinary with an international perspective.  A substantial research component of the course will enable students to produce a written product consisting of an appropriate literature survey, research proposal and research thesis, as well as a 15-minute signed summary and discussion of findings. This research project will give students the opportunity to conduct independent research within the student's concentration area, synthesizing and integrating information and methodology from more than one of the disciplines that are part of the major.

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