PHC’s new Global Studies and Service (GSS) program will offer students a semester of learning and service abroad. The program, which was announced by Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Mitchell in an all-student email last Wednesday, currently includes five different locations – Rome, Italy; Seoul, South Korea; Dunedin, New Zealand; Paris, France; and Prague, Czech Republic. “[The GSS program] is a great addition to our educational offerings and a striking enhancement to our IPP track,” Mitchell said in his email.
Rodney Showalter, PHC’s Registrar and the Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning, began developing the program about six months ago. He chose International Studies Abroad (ISA) as PHC’s potential partner organization. “When we learned PHC students could enroll in internationally acclaimed institutions, receive 24/7 support before, during, and after their studies, and could also join a Christian community and participate in cross-cultural missions, ISA’s Veritas program emerged as the front-runner,” Showalter said. He asked sophomore Marius Du Plessis to conduct further research.
Du Plessis compiled a list of ISA partner universities that might be a good fit for PHC. The most important factors Du Plessis considered were the universities’ academic quality and whether or not they were a part of ISA’s Veritas (Christian) branch. In the end, seven universities stood out: American University of Rome, Korea University (Seoul), University of Otago (Dunedin), Catholic University of Paris, American Business School of Paris, Charles University (Prague), and Prague University of Economics & Business. Each university is pre-approved to offer credit for various majors. Specific information can be found here. As of 2020, the semester abroad is a degree requirement for IPP students.
Students will take 12 credits of major elective courses at one of the GSS destinations
and are encouraged to participate in GSS during the first semester of their senior year. “This new opportunity is very important to me, and I am really excited that it has become a reality for PHC,” Du Plessis said. “Since I was born in South Africa, I understand how important exposure to different cultures is – not only to your maturity and growth as an individual, but also as a winsome communicator for Christ.”
The program is projected to expand to additional universities and locations in
the future. “The list of five locations currently available to PHC students are just the beginning of PHC’s study abroad program,” Du Plessis said. “As Mr. Showalter said, ‘It is merely the end of the beginning’… I am very excited to see the ways in which it will expand and grow in the years to come.”
Interested students should learn more by visiting the GSS webpage, reading the program guide, and discussing the program with their academic advisor.
Patrick Henry College challenges the unacceptable status quo in higher education by combining the academic strength and commitment to biblical principles that elite institutions have lost; a commitment to high academic rigor, fidelity to the spirit of the American founding, and an unwavering biblical worldview.
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