International Study Options

International Studies at COA is guided by an urgent and compelling sense of the need to work as intelligently, effectively, and wisely as we can to bring about a world of dramatically greater justice, peace, cultural flourishing and right relationship to our beloved blue-green planet. As a community, we help you prepare for jobs that do not yet exist in a world that has not yet arrived.” –Professor Gray Cox


College of the Atlantic offers a number of opportunities to study abroad. The goal of the International Studies Program is to extend our human ecology  curriculum into international and intercultural settings. We encourage interdisciplinary and collaborative teaching and learning in a variety of field settings including Mexico, Guatemala, and France. There are also many  opportunities to conduct international internships, independent studies, and self-designed residencies. 


These ten-week, student-designed projects earn a full trimester of credit and allow for advanced, in-depth, independent studies that augment and synthesize conventional coursework. While students are not required to travel off-campus, many do conduct their study in countries other than the United States. The residency option offers the opportunity to design a personalized, advanced, and relevant form of international study. 


A graduation requirement, each student completes at least one ten-week internship that may be completed abroad. The COA internship is a practical exercise in applying academics to the world of work. The internship relates to the student's career goals, academic program or personal interests, and enables students to outline the relevance of work to their interpretation of human ecology. 


The Senior Project stands as the culmination of this interdisciplinary experience. Final projects are as individual as the students who create them. Students may utilize this opportunity to conduct work internationally. Some combine their internship with their senior project to allow for a more extensive project. 


Although international and interdisciplinary learning is an integrated thread in almost every course at COA, specific courses incorporate international study components. For example, a course on conservation ecology might spend two weeks in Costa Rica, while an agriculture and food class might travel to Germany and the United Kingdom.


COA’s International Environmental Diplomacy program seeks to empower a group of students to mobilize for global sustainable development. Integrating thought and action at both local and global levels, it incorporates interdisciplinary courses, independent work, language learning, internships, residencies, and advanced senior projects. Through the International Environmental Diplomacy initiative, students have traveled to global summits, conferences, and conventions in Johannesburg, South Africa; Bangalore, India; Curitiba, Brazil; Nairobi, Kenya; Istanbul, Turkey; Copenhagen, Denmark; Lima, Peru; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to name a few.


COA seeks to provide every student the opportunity to hone and deepen existing language skills, provide every student the opportunity to learn a new language, and to support academic work in students’ native languages. At COA students can take courses in Spanish, French, Japanese or classical Chinese. Students interested in additional languages often conduct independent studies with tutors either locally or abroad. Many also utilize campus access to innovative language learning software. 


Explore additional study abroad programs through our consortium agreement with the Eco League. The six colleges belonging to this consortium are committed to cultivating environmentally-conscious learning. Some students find may their study niche in independent programs or programs through other colleges. Our students have taken part in semester-long studies abroad through organizations such as the School for International Training, and Antioch Education Abroad.