Off-Campus Study at Colby

Why Study Abroad?
In recent years, about 50% of Colby’s junior class studies abroad (not including JanPlan).  If you decide to study abroad, deciding which program and country is just as important as deciding when to go and for how long.  Study abroad can be an excellent complement to your Colby academic career and it is important to find the best program for you.  Most students return from study abroad with a new sense of self, a focus on their academic pursuits, and an appreciation of the different culture, language, and learning environment they were a part of while abroad.  Some students decide a semester or year is not appropriate for them during their undergraduate years and opt to pursue a summer or JanPlan experience.  Refer to the Application Process page for more on how to apply.

Students should ask themselves these important questions:
  • What do I want to accomplish abroad (e.g. continue with a foreign language, conduct research, experience a new culture)?  
  • What regions of the world interest me?  (city ? or rural?)
  • What type of program fits my interests and needs (e.g. large university or small, center-based program with other American students)? 
There are, of course, many more questions to ask before choosing a program.
 
Colby and Off-Campus Study

The opportunity to study in another country is an integral part of the educational philosophy of Colby College. The Precepts adopted by the faculty in 1989 state that a Colby education should encourage students “to become acquainted with other cultures by learning a foreign language and by living and studying in another country or by closely examining a culture other than one’s own.”

Consistent with these principles, Colby’s philosophy of off-campus study is as follows:

  • The off-campus study experience should be part of the student’s overall academic plan developed by the student and the student’s advisor, and should enhance the student’s program of study during the year(s) following return to Colby.
  • Study abroad should provide a cultural experience substantially different from the student’s own.
  • Study abroad should provide, when appropriate, a linguistic experience that involves a language different from one’s own.
  • Financial aid should be applicable to Colby programs, and portable to other approved programs.


The Off-Campus Study Office is responsible for making sure that Colby’s programs abroad, as well as other programs approved by the college, conform to these principles. The college has a vested interest in the quality of all off-campus study programs for which it grants Colby credit. This interest centers on the academic part of the program, but extends as well to the extra-curricular and cultural part of the program, inasmuch as the knowledge of a culture other than one’s own is achieved both in and out of the classroom. All Colby-approved study programs abroad must, therefore, meet the following standards:

  • They must provide an educational experience which is consistent in quality with the educational experience at Colby, and which can reinforce, complement, and broaden a student’s educational program at Colby.
  • They must contain a substantial academic component of high quality.
  • Study abroad programs must provide a cultural experience and, when appropriate, a linguistic experience that are consistent with the goals stated above. To promote cultural integration, at least a full semester must normally be spent in a single host country.