The Department of Philosophy is strongly committed to keep overseas study a live option for our majors. Minors are also welcome to take courses in philosophy abroad and count them toward their minor requirements. In addition to the contributions that overseas study can make to meeting the overall goals of a liberal arts education, it provides a wonderful opportunity for our students to expand the philosophy curriculum by availing themselves of the offerings at other colleges and universities. In recent years our majors have studied in over 20 different countries on six different continents engaging with an equally diverse array of philosophical traditions. In cases where student’s language skills are suitable, we encourage taking philosophy courses in a foreign language. This is an especially good option for students thinking of graduate study in philosophy.
Our majors and minors have participated in a wide range of off-campus study programs, including in Australia, France, Japan, England and Jordan.
For information on eligibility, dates and deadlines, and programs to choose from, please consult the Off-Campus Study Office’s website here. Statements of intent to study off-campus are due mid-November. Most application deadlines for actual programs are in mid-February.
Getting Credit towards the Major/Minor
Requesting approval for a course taken off-campus to fulfill a requirement for the philosophy major or minor is easy. Students need to write their advisor a semi-formal email that asks for approval. The letter should include a description of the course and, if possible, a syllabus. The Department considers the course and request in light of comparable electives and major requirements at Colby. (Ancient, Modern, Values, Diversity, M&E, etc.).
Nick Cunkelman: Oxford, England
“For the spring of 2010, I traveled to Olde England to read Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) amongst the spires and walled courtyards of Oxford on one of IFSA-Butler’s study abroad programs. As a visiting student I could essentially create my own classes—a.k.a. tutorials, one-on-one sessions with your tutor—and thus might’ve had more fun inventing subjects (for example: “Existentialism and Current Issues,” “American and British Politics in Comparative Perspective”) than I did tackling their reading lists and writing their essays. Still, Oxford’s home to loads of interesting people in addition to its tutors and students, some of whom may very well be your tutor (I had a writer for The Guardian one term), and with visiting diplomats, environmentalists, theologians, etc. coming to give their two pence on _______(issue), the city’s basically one big brain that never shuts off. Wisely, to escape this metro-cognition, my program had orientation in London—which has to be one of the coolest cities in the world—as well as several other trips during the spring to Bath, back to London, etc. My college, St. Catherine’s—essentially the smaller community where you eat, live, play sports—also had its own bar (for the cheapest pints), drama scene, concerts, dart board, and the most relaxed full-time students in the Uni. And don’t miss the Alternative Tuck Shop. Cheers!”
Nicole Murakami: University of Westminster, England
“During my junior spring (2010), I was lucky enough to study abroad in London at the University of Westminster. Unfortunately I was unable to take any philosophy classes, but the experience allowed me to grapple and think about philosophical issues and themes I had learned at Colby in a different academic setting. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity I was granted to study and live in the heart of a bustling international city. In addition to being a student, I was also able to get a part-time job at a boutique and really integrate myself into the city. Furthermore, studying abroad in London allowed me to travel reasonably across Europe to other cities and fully experience other cultures. It sounds cliché, but I truly did learn a dramatic amount about myself in my semester abroad and I would recommend every student to try and go abroad. I was once hesitant too, but it was a proper good time!”