Sweet Briar College has decided to reposition the endowments associated with its study abroad program, known as Junior Year in France, and instead offer more global educational opportunities to its students.
Sweet Briar’s junior year abroad program in France is among the oldest and most venerable of such programs in the country. Its endowment has largely supported students through scholarships. In recent years, the support has gone mostly to students from colleges other than Sweet Briar, as the number of Sweet Briar students interested in the French language and culture has dwindled.
Now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to suspension of study abroad programs in France and elsewhere, Sweet Briar College is embracing more effective ways, other than the traditional study abroad programs, to expose its students to the dynamism of a global cultural experience. “Global exposure for students has been shifting from spending an entire academic year or semester in a foreign country to more rapid immersion activities, global internships and study in Europe and elsewhere,” said President Meredith Woo. Sweet Briar College has two three-week terms built into its calendar that are uniquely suited for an immersive study abroad.
To that end, the proceeds from the endowments will now be used for the benefit of Sweet Briar students taking the College’s three-week term at the residence in Auvillar, France, that is owned by the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. The three-week courses in Auvillar will be taught by Sweet Briar faculty and demonstrate the benefits of the College’s close relationship with VCCA.
In addition to the experience at Auvillar, the funds will be used for other global studies trips organized by Sweet Briar faculty during the three-week term to various parts of the world, and to support global internships that enable Sweet Briar students to have a truly immersive experience abroad.
The funds will also support programming for the “global humanities,” under the auspices of the Center for Creativity, Design and the Arts.