Illustration of a walking globe emitting clouds
Illustration by The Project Twins

Twelve students will travel to Paris in January 2024 as the inaugural cohort of the college’s new Global Scholars program. 

Magnús Bernhardsson and Aparna Kapadia, the program’s co-directors, selected the group from a pool of 68 students who submitted applications in March—“a remarkable number that represents about 12 percent of the first-year class,” says Bernhardsson, the Brown Professor of History. “It suggests that there’s a lot of interest and demand for this type of experiential learning, despite the stringent academic requirements to participate in the program.”

Among the requirements are an introductory course on global perspectives, four to five foreign language classes and an independent study on a topic selected with a program faculty advisor. Under the umbrella of Williams’ longstanding Global Studies program, this new academic initiative—an outcome of the college’s Strategic Plan—takes an interdisciplinary approach to exploring important global trends and issues.

Students begin participating in the multi-year program at the start of their second year and are expected to continue until they graduate. Throughout, they will receive regular mentorship and will have access to funds for research, internships and intensive language programs.

“As Global Scholars, students will gain deeper and more nuanced perspectives on not just themselves and their areas of study but also the rich complexities and interconnectedness of our ever-changing world,” says Kapadia, associate professor of history. “Learning to be—and, ultimately, becoming—a global citizen adds value to a liberal arts education that can’t be understated.”