Global Learning at Washington & Lee

Washington and Lee is committed to ensuring that "graduates will be prepared for life-long learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society." By global, we mean of or related to substantial interactions across cultural or national borders or substantial comparisons between cultures or nations. Global learning is the acquisition of the skills and knowledge needed to understand those interactions or comparisons.  

The goals of Global Learning at W&L are to ensure that students will:  

  • Develop an increased understanding of cultural differences, global issues, processes, trends, and systems; 
  • Cultivate globally diverse cultural frames of reference and alternate perspectives to think critically, solve problems, or interpret issues and situations; 
  • Express an understanding of how a field of study is viewed and practiced in different cultural contexts; 
  • Demonstrate improved language competency where global learning is done abroad and/or the language is not the student's native language.  

Global Learning Opportunities at W&L  

The university promotes numerous opportunities for students to engage in global learning on and off-campus.  

Engagement with International Students, Faculty and Visitors.  W&L "brings the world to campus" through the admission of degree-seeking international students, non-degree visiting international students and the employment of visiting and tenure-track professors and instructors at all of the schools of study.  In addition, numerous visiting international research and short-term scholars are welcomed each year to share their areas of expertise and global perspectives. The university maintains the Casa Hispanica and the Global Service House for students who wish to engage in international discourse in their residence. Having a diverse global representation on campus that permeates not only the classroom experiences of the students but also the extracurricular activities of the student body enriches the global learning opportunities for students, faculty and staff.  

Global Learning (GL) courses. Students are encouraged to take several global learning courses throughout their time at W&L.  Numerous courses touch upon global issues and topics.  Beginning in the 2016-17 academic year, courses identified in the catalog with the "GL" designation will address at least one of the global learning outcomes noted above.  

Study Abroad.  The university encourages students to take advantage of the many study abroad opportunities around the world.  Studying abroad offers our students a chance to live, work, and study in a new environment where they may more fully develop their foreign language skills and inter-cultural understanding.  Studying abroad brings about new levels of personal growth in response to the experiences of another culture that challenges the student's world views.  For information on how to apply to study abroad, visit the Center for International Education website here.  Students who study abroad are required to reflect thoughtfully on changes in their intercultural understanding in response to experiences that challenge their world views by enrolling in INTR 298 while abroad.  

Spring Term Abroad.  Spring Term Abroad is a special part of the Washington and Lee curriculum and experience. These courses allow student to travel with their classmates to get an up-close, intensive, and personal experience of the subject matter on-site with a W&L faculty member during the four-week spring term. More information on Spring Term Abroad is located here.  

Global Experiences 

W&L also offers a host of internship and research opportunities to gain additional experience abroad.  These include:  

  • Shepherd Poverty Program Internships 
  • Center for International Education Programs for Research and Internships 
  • Career Services Opportunities 
  • Johnson Scholarships 
  • London Internship Program 
  • Cape Town Summer Internship Program

Completing the Global Learning Experience:  Campus Globalization

Washington and Lee celebrates outstanding attainments in global education through the Certificate of International Immersion Program. The Certificate recognizes not only time spent abroad, but also efforts to enrich the campus by sharing one's experience abroad with fellow students, faculty and the community.  To receive the Certificate, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA and submit a portfolio documenting the following:

  • Cumulative time studying abroad.  In order to qualify for a Certificate of International Immersion, the student's cumulative time abroad should amount to more than a single 13-week term.  This may include time spent abroad in substantive independent research, internships, additional travel and study abroad trips, or other non-course activities outside of the student's home country. 
  • At least 12 credits of coursework transferred to Washington and Lee University as a result of experience(s) abroad after matriculation at W&L.  This includes coursework in the language of the host country (not the student's native language), when appropriate. 
  • Development of appreciation of cultural differences; 
  • Sustained engagement with people of the host country outside of study or internship activity; 
  • How the recipients used their time abroad to enrich or contribute to the W&L community through engagement with the university's international community, a presentation, or a "capstone" activity upon return to campus. 

Approved, International Education Committee, Winter, 2017.