Students are transformed by the Wittenberg experience – one that goes with them wherever they go, on campus and beyond.
Believing that students can only truly learn of the world if they immerse themselves in the world, Wittenberg offers a vibrant study-abroad program reflective of its commitment to global citizenship.
“Spending a year, semester, or even summer in a foreign country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Chad Kresser. “Students from almost every major at Wittenberg can and do study abroad.”
From short-term semester and summer programs to full-year options, Wittenberg’s study-abroad program has allowed students to learn on safari in Kenya, traverse China’s Silk Road or follow Martin Luther’s footsteps in Wittenberg, Germany. With more than 40 options for study, the possibilities are only as limited as one’s imagination.
The Wittenberg Way
Whether it’s across the Pacific or smack dab in central Europe, summer and short-term options continue to be popular among more than half the students who choose to study abroad each year.
For summer study, faculty members with expertise in the country’s culture, economy, language, politics or history often will lead the three- to six-week excursions, making the experience uniquely tied to the daily classroom experience on campus in terms of personal interaction between students and faculty.
One study-abroad option that uniquely ties the university to its Lutheran heritage is the Wittenberg in Wittenberg, Germany program. As part of the semester-long program, which is open to all majors, students intern with the city of Wittenberg in areas that align with their own personal and professional interests.
It is the most accessible study-abroad program at Wittenberg as the cost to participate equals the cost of a semester at Wittenberg in Ohio, the program also doesn't require any prior German language study.
Music major Matt Nelson ’14, for example, interned with a store that makes musical instruments in Wittenberg, Germany. Evan Roberts ’14 managed to get an article printed in Mitteldeutsche Zeitung during his internship with the city’s paper. Others have interned with the Center for Global Ethics, the Reformation Museum, the city’s government, and an event promotions organization.
“It is very distinctive that we have programs that take American students and put them in a real world, international internship,” said Timothy Bennett, associate professor of languages, and program director. “The city also serves as a lab for understanding the changes taking place in Europe.”
Having such a full immersion in the city quickly transforms students as well.
“Studying in Wittenberg, Germany was an unforgettable experience,” said Kelsey Swindler. “Every day was hard work. Ordering lunch, reading the train schedule, navigating city streets, asking directions, making hostel reservations, chatting with neighbors--every conversation was an opportunity, a means of flexing the language muscle we had all worked so hard to develop in our years at Witt.
“When I came home I missed that, the sense of accomplishment after successfully navigating the S-Bahn or making small talk with a shopkeeper. I missed the challenge, and the excitement, of experiencing everything in a different language. There is so much you never experience in your own language--the logic and fluidity of foreign syntax, the hilarity of non-native expressions, the subtle humor and personality of a language. Wittenberg made this experience possible for me, and for so many language students. I am incredibly grateful for a department and a university that recognizes the incomparable benefit of language study in a foreign country. I know I will go back to Germany. I have to--I miss it too much.”
On The Silk Road
Both a metaphor for the historic exchanges of religions, arts, material goods, ideas and peoples of China, India, Persia, Mongolia and the rest of the “West,” as well as the actual locations where such exchanges took place, the Silk Road study-abroad option also provides a unique opportunity for students to learn by doing.
Through assigned readings, class lectures and discussions, visits to cultural and historic sites, interactions with Chinese students, artisans and families, explorations of cities and villages, experiential learning activities, and independent explorations, students will gain an understanding of China, their own culture and themselves.
Nearing the 15-year anniversary of its founding, the university’s biannual Russian immersion program brings Wittenberg to the world and the world to Wittenberg. As part of the summer program, students pursue individual research projects on urban affairs, under the direction of Wittenberg Professors George Hudson and Olga Medvedkov, and then return home to finish their work, turning in a paper by the end of the summer. The papers are then presented at a professional geography conference in the fall. At past conferences, our students have always won prizes (first prize or second, or both) in the student paper competitions.
Latin America Immersion
Coordinated by Assistant Professor of Languages Fernando A. Blanco, the Latin American experience has also become popular with students. Based in Santiago, Chile, the study-abroad option also seeks to immerse students in culture and a new understanding of themselves.
“My favorite part of the trip was living in a new culture, while practicing my Spanish,” said Elizabeth Doll ’15. “I became a lot more confident with my speech and toward the end of the trip, I felt like I had truly made a change in my lifestyle.
“While there are aspects of my life here that I missed while in Santiago, I learned so much and had an incredible experience,” she added. “I'm also very glad I went on my first study abroad the summer before my sophomore year because I have so much time left at Wittenberg to explore other countries and study abroad programs.”
Through such international experiences, students clearly do more than broaden their horizons. They become proficient in foreign languages, gain a deeper understanding of other cultures, and learn to be global citizens.
For more information on all Wittenberg’s study abroad programs, visit the Study Abroad page.