Mission & Learning Outcomes

Principia Study Abroad and Field Programs

Study Abroad & Field Program Mission

“To promote the development of interculturally competent, outward-looking, inspired learners through international and domestic off-campus study programs.”

Principia’s Study Abroad program is anchored in our Institutional vision statement which proclaims, “Through transformative opportunities, a challenging curriculum, and character education based on the teachings of Christian Science, we examine, test, and strengthen our faith while developing the skills and understanding requisite for excellence. As global, outward-looking, inspired learners, we serve and better the world.”  This statement supports the study abroad program’s emphasis on cultivating an international perspective and developing intercultural competence and multicultural professional development. Our programming also intentionally supports the Institution’s aim to “Nurture Success Beyond Principia”. Building on these foundational elements, study abroad and field programs are designed and approved with the following in mind: intercultural competence, multicultural professional development, global citizenship, spirituality, character education, and contextual learning.   

Program Learning Outcomes

Demonstrate Intercultural Competence

Students who participate in a study abroad or field program should exhibit intercultural competence characterized by understanding, appreciating, and respecting another culture.  Sensitivity to the cultural context will develop as students 1) learn about another culture, 2) make reflective comparisons with their own culture, 3) develop an ability to navigate within the new culture and 4) return with a desire to enrich their own culture.   In this process, students will break down stereotypes, become more open-minded, and develop intercultural communication skills and perspectives.

Demonstrate Multicultural Professional Development

Students who participate in a study abroad or field program will be able to articulate ideas and exhibit behaviors that cultivate teamwork, critical thought, and communication skills needed to function in a diverse workforce and global community. Students will be able to demonstrate techniques and utilize tools to appropriately articulate and leverage their study abroad experience in a professional context, for the benefit of professional pursuits.

In addition to the Departmental Learning Outcomes, the Study Abroad and Field Programs focus on four program components, which should be intentionally acknowledged and integrated into each program. These program components are not assessed.

Integrated Program Components

Global Citizenship
Students who participate in a study abroad or field program should gain a better understanding of the global context as 1) exhibited in a broader worldview, an awareness of world conditions, and global trends; 2) knowledge of global interdependence and their place in it; and 3) an understanding of how they and their own society might be viewed from other vantage points.

Students will develop global citizenship in understanding of their individual relationship and responsibility to something bigger than him/herself, whether that is the program group of students and staff, the local host country, and/or the world.

Spiritual Focus
Students who participate in a study abroad or field program should experience opportunities for spiritual engagement, characterized by applying a productive spiritual practice to issues that arise on the program and throughout the study abroad experience. Spiritual engagement opportunities should be accessible to all faith practices. Students should also recognize their role as global citizens and strive to actively and humbly engage with local and global communities to bring love and healing.

Character Development
Students who participate in a study abroad or field program should experience opportunity for character growth by developing confidence and self-reliance; tolerance for ambiguity and growth in appreciation of diversity; independence and flexibility; self-knowledge, reflection, and a re-evaluation of personal views; compassion, empathy, humility, moral courage, and the ability to support and nurture the needs of a group.

Contextual Learning
Students who participate in a study abroad or field program should develop an ability to learn and study outside of the traditional classroom setting. This contextual learning includes field studies, primary research, internships, and experiential learning. It should also include sufficient opportunities to reflect, process, and make connections between experiences. Students also engage in contextual learning by studying the local host country through an interdisciplinary lens—geography, language, religion, social issues, politics, economics, literature, etc.