Conventional wisdom holds that we live in an increasingly interdependent world. But what does this mean? It means that economic decisions made in Ireland impact Vietnam, that grass-roots ideas sprouting in India alter ways of thinking in South Africa, and that challenges faced by policymakers in São Paulo and Quito are of growing relevance to their counterparts in London and New York. It means that we all have a stake in global issues. It means, moreover, that we can no longer satisfy ourselves with an isolated existence. Americans in increasing numbers are studying foreign languages and cultures, and traveling and living overseas. We do so because we must, in recognition of the fact that globalization makes us all citizens of the world.

Most students at Hobart and William Smith Colleges have an off campus/international learning experience in the course of their studies. Whether the experience is examining environmental issues in Ecuador and Peru, studying Chinese language and culture in Beijing, or living with a French family, students at the Colleges understand the value of "breaking away" for a time to immerse themselves in another culture and to discover something about themselves and others that cannot be as easily discovered in Geneva.

Often these experiences change how we view ourselves and others, and through them we can expand our notions of who we are and what we can become. We can adopt new perspectives and appreciate another culture as we learn to identify with the people in that culture. Talking to anyone who has studied abroad about his/her experiences will confirm how powerful an off campus experience can be.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges encourage students to look for an off campus experience that is appropriate to their personal and academic interests. The Colleges provide opportunities for off campus study by sponsoring a variety of programs in different academic disciplines throughout the world. These are, above all, academic programs, and successful applicants must demonstrate how participating in a program will be an integral part of their academic experience.

This guide will provide you with the information you need in order to understand what is expected of you if you are interested in an off campus experience. Students are encouraged to visit the Center for Global Education to get more information.

Global Citizenship

An important part of Hobart and William Smith Colleges' educational philosophy is to provide students with “worlds of experience”, with the aim of encouraging you to live “lives of consequence”. In support of this philosophy, the overarching mission of all Global Education programs at HWS is to help students become global citizens. Being a responsible, effective citizen of the world demands skills and values which enable individuals to assume an active, positive role in their own community and in the larger world. Global citizens appreciate and are guided by an understanding of the relationship between actions made locally and globally and a commitment to the betterment of people's lives everywhere.

Global Citizens...

  • Understand themselves and their native culture. They recognize their own perspective as one that is grounded in their own unique history and culture and are able to represent their culture to others.
  • Have an in-depth understanding of another culture. This requires an intensive immersion into a (non-U.S.) country or region and includes coursework, language training, historical background and direct experience of this second culture, ideally through study abroad or extended service learning.
  • Cross cultures with facility and ease. They have the ability to observe, participate, adapt to new customs, and reflect upon the values of a new culture.
  • Have an understanding of the changing complexities of human culture. This makes them wary of generalizations and resistant to stereotypes and chauvinism.
  • View other cultures as representing unique responses to common human limitations—and possible inspirations for local change.
  • Have a commitment to service and action, at the local and global levels.
  • Understand the human place in the global ecosystem and how decisions made at all levels (local, regional, national and global) can affect the human/ecological relationship.
  • Understand that many of the urgent issues facing humanity transcend borders and are not played out simply between governments and diplomats, but people at a wide range of levels.
  • Maintain critical reflectivity. Global citizens are trained participant observers; they participate in communities near and far while always maintaining a critical reflective faculty.


Global Citizenship provides an imperative for the individual to become fully engaged in his/her own and/or the other culture in which he/she finds himself/herself. Global Citizens feel compelled to work towards genuine understanding among peoples and actively work across lines of class, culture and nationality to solve pressing human issues.

The Center for Global Education strives to provide students with “worlds of experience” through our study abroad programs, and we encourage students to apply these experiences to living “lives of consequence”.


As you consider your off-campus options, you might want to start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. What do I to hope to gain from an off campus experience a) academically, b) culturally, and c) personally?
  2. What considerations do I have with respect to time, foreign language ability, health, etc. that may restrict the range of Global Education options I can consider? How flexible am I in considering other options if I don't meet the criteria for my first choice program?
  3. What experience do I already have living away from home that might indicate how I would respond to being in a foreign country?
  4. How do I respond to the cultural diversity that I am already exposed to? To what extent do I make the most of opportunities before me to interact with people from other cultures? Do other people see me as open-minded, tolerant, and sensitive to others?
  5. To what extent am I willing to invest time preparing for an off campus experience (e.g.: studying the language, earning extra money to cover additional expenses, taking prerequisites, reading about the culture, completing applications, attending orientation meetings)?

These questions are posed only to get you started thinking about choosing the Global Education program that is most appropriate for you. We encourage you to seek advice from classmates who have studied off-campus, as well as family, faculty, and deans. Get as much information as you can before you make your final decision about the Global Education experience that is best for you.


The following guidelines apply to students at Hobart and William Smith Colleges who wish to study off campus, either on programs sponsored by the Colleges or those sponsored by another institution.


    Sophomores, juniors and seniors in good academic and social standing, although some programs require junior status or higher. No student may be accepted for participation in an off-campus study program while on academic or social probation.


    Program participation is a privilege to be earned through solid academic achievement, demonstration of maturity, and strong motivation for program participation.  Matriculation at the Colleges, in and of itself, does not guarantee the “right” to study off-campus.  Students who wish to participate in a Global Education program sponsored by the Colleges must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. (However, note that some programs have a higher minimum GPA.) In cases where a program attracts more applicants than available places, even students meeting the GPA requirements might not be selected. Students who wish to join another institution's program or study independently at a foreign institution will be expected to have established a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better and be at junior or senior year standing by the beginning of the proposed program (NOTE: Approval to participate in these non-HWS programs is highly competitive, see #5 below.) All students must be in good academic and social standing in their college to be eligible for off-campus study. Some programs have prerequisites that must be fulfilled prior to participation. Students must be on campus the semester before their program starts in order to meet the pre-requisites and attend all mandatory meetings (except under extraordinary circumstances, which you must discuss in advance with the CGE).


    Admissions decisions are made jointly by the faculty director(s) of the program (if applicable) and the staff of the Center for Global Education in consultation with the Deans' Offices. For affiliated programs, the final decision rests with the program administrator. Students are encouraged to speak with CGE staff or faculty directors prior to applying to learn more about program criteria. Students may appeal admission decisions by submitting a written letter within one week of the date of the decision letter. The appeal letter must be submitted to Dr. Thomas D'Agostino, Associate Dean for Global Education and will be reviewed by the Provost and Dean of Faculty.


    Students participating in HWS off-campus programs are required to take a standard HWS course load (4.0 credits), except in cases where the host institution has a different requirement. Students will not be permitted to exceed a standard course load of 4.0 HWS credits except in extraordinary cases as determined by a student's dean's office, academic advisor, and the Center for Global Education.


    Students participating in CGE programs retain financial aid on the same basis as previously awarded (with the exception of work study) as determined by merit and/or demonstrable financial need. The Financial Aid Office should be consulted to determine the exact details of aid to be awarded.  Tuition and associated fees are charged at the same rate as on the HWS campus, plus an administrative fee of $550.  Room and board charges may vary. Consult the informational brochures or the program descriptions on the CGE web page for further details: CGE web page.


    If a student withdraws from an off-campus program, their $350 deposit will be forfeited. In addition, students may be responsible for additional expenses beyond the $350 if they withdraw from the program while it's in progress or less than 90 days before the program arrival date. Specifically, students will be held accountable for any expenditures made on their behalf that the CGE is unable to recoup, such as housing or hotel deposits, tuition payments to other schools, excursion deposits, contracts for coursework or internships arranged specifically on their behalf, etc.

    A student participating in an HWS or non-HWS off-campus program who withdraws from that program after arrival at the program site may not return to campus to take classes that semester except under extraordinary circumstances, as determined by the student's dean's office, the Center for Global Education and the Vice President for Student Affairs.


    Receiving approval to transfer credit from a non-HWS program to fulfill HWS degree requirements is highly competitive. A limited number of places on these programs will be approved annually. These places are reserved for students whose academic needs/degree requirements cannot be met by any HWS off-campus program.  Merely preferring another location is not a sound academic reason for petitioning for credit for a non-HWS program. Some non-HWS programs are ineligible for consideration of transfer credit (for example, the Semester-at-Sea and NOLS programs). Therefore, a student who wishes to participate in a program sponsored by another institution should check first with the CGE to ensure that the program is accredited and that credit transfer is allowed. The student should present his/her case in writing as follows:

    1. The student submits an application stating a strong academic justification for the program, a supporting recommendation from his/her advisor attesting to the lack of fit of HWS' own off-campus programs and endorsing the non-HWS program, and a full description of the program he/she wants to apply for to the Center for Global Education no later than Friday, October 4, 2013 for Fall 2014 and full year 2014-15 programs and no later than Monday, March 3, 2014 for Spring 2015 programs. Green Non-HWS Program Application forms are available from the CGE.

    2. The student's application is reviewed by the Committee on Global Education and a representative of both Deans' offices.

    3. If an application is accepted, the student goes to the appropriate departmental chair to request preliminary approval of courses, providing evidence of the substance of each course (course description, syllabus, reading list).  Upon return the student must submit an official transcript. As with all transfer credit, a course in which a grade below C is earned will not be accepted. Departments will decide if and how many credits from a non-HWS program may count toward the major/minor.

    4. A student on a non-HWS program will pay an administrative fee of $550 billed directly by the Business Office after he/she submits a transcript and requests a credit transfer. Students will pay all other fees directly to the non-HWS program. Note that HWS-based aid cannot be applied to such programs. State and Federal aid is transferable, however.


Applicants must complete all of these steps:

  1. Attend a general information session, offered once a semester, usually in September and February.
  2. Attend a "Which program for me?" meeting with Amy Teel in the CGE, to ensure that you are choosing programs that are a good fit for you and are not overlooking some good backup options. Call the CGE for the dates and times of these meetings and sign up for one time slot (315) 781-3307
  3. Pick up a Programs Passport, an application form and program brochures, which can be obtained from the Center for Global Education.
  4. Read the Programs Passport and brochures carefully then complete the application, write a strong essay to go with it (following the essay guidelines on the form) and get your application form signed by your academic advisor. (If your advisor is on leave, you may ask the department/program chair to sign the application.)

A student seeking permission to participate in an off-campus program sponsored by another institution (non-HWS program) is required to complete the “Application for Approval to Participate in Another Institution's Off-Campus Program” (green form) which can also be obtained from the CGE office. Transfer credit will not be awarded for students who have not completed this process and received written approval in advance.

Application forms and program brochures are available on the CGE web page.

Fall 2014 (or full year) HWS programs and fall 2014 (or full year) non-HWS programs Friday, October 4, 2013
Spring 2015 HWS or non-HWS programs Monday, March 3, 2014

IMPORTANT: Applications are due by 5 p.m. on the dates listed above. Applications received after 5 p.m. will be automatically waitlisted. See the next section for information about the waitlists.

Return all application materials to: THE CENTER FOR GLOBAL EDUCATION, Third Floor, Trinity Hall


Upon submission of all required application materials, your candidacy will be reviewed by the appropriate faculty and the Center for Global Education. Due to the selective nature of the programs and the limited number of spaces available in any one program, it is not possible to accept all applicants. Therefore some applicants will be placed on a waitlist.

We strongly recommend that students apply for more than one program. All programs are competitive and there is no way to predict how many applications we will get for a particular program in a given semester. Students who apply to only one site are very likely to be disappointed and will be left with no backup options if they are not accepted to their first-choice program. Note that separate applications and essays are required if you are applying to more than one program.

Accepted students are given a date by which they are required to place a $350.00 non-refundable deposit with the Business Office and hand in an acceptance form to the Center for Global Education to secure their place in a program. If you do not confirm your participation by the stated date and there is a waitlist, you will forfeit your place. Students who have been accepted to participate in an HWS Global Education program must contact the Registrar's Office to register for classes during normal HWS registration for the semester you will be abroad. This is very important!

If you have been placed on a waitlist, you do not need to take further action. If/when a place opens you will be contacted by the staff of the Center for Global Education. Many students who are initially waitlisted do receive an acceptance offer, but this cannot be guaranteed. Note that students who are on a waitlist must fulfill all program prerequisites in order to be accepted into a program if space becomes available. This means, for example, that if you are waitlisted on a program that has a language or other pre-requisite, you MUST register for this course in order to be offered a place on the program if one becomes available.


Priority will be given to applicants on the basis of academic achievement (i.e. GPA), quality of study abroad essay, the “fit” of the student to the program curriculum, and class standing. Factors that might impact an admission decision include social/disciplinary record and previous participation in an off-campus study program. Students on academic or social probation are ineligible for off-campus study. Students who have already participated in an off-campus study program will typically be placed on the wait list until slots become available. If you have any questions with respect to the application process, please contact the staff of the Center for Global Education.

Application Essay Tips

Your essay is a very important part of your application. We encourage you to start writing early, so that you'll have enough time to rewrite and revise. Be sure to read the essay question carefully and respond specifically to each part of the question. Although you are welcome to include examples of your previous personal experiences or describe why a particular program is your "ideal," the most successful applicants describe a strong academic motivation for the program(s) of interest. Be sure to include information about how the particular program will help strengthen your major or minor or otherwise support your long-term academic or career goals. If writing is not your strong point, we encourage you to take your essay to the Center for Teaching and Learning for assistance.

Remember - the best essays interest your readers, express something unique about you, demonstrate knowledge about the country and program, and fully address the essay questions!



Students who wish to study abroad during Fall 2014 must submit their applications by Friday, October 4, 2013 and those who wish to study abroad in Spring 2015 must submit their applications by Monday, March 3, 2014.
Applications are due by 5 p.m. on the date listed above.
Applications received after 5 p.m. will be automatically waitlisted.
Return all application materials to:

Center for Global Education
Trinity Hall, Third Floor