The expectation in Bowdoin's off-campus study program is that all participating students will make a connection between their studies at Bowdoin and their studies away from Bowdoin, in a way that enriches their progress toward the degree and their education in general. Study away should be far more than a break from Bowdoin. Planning in advance is essential, so that you can take appropriate courses in language, methodology, historical and political background, etc., at Bowdoin as preparation. It is recommended that you do some coursework in the language of the destination country before departure, if it is taught at Bowdoin. Generally it is expected that at least one of the proposed off-campus study courses be acceptable for credit toward the major or a coherent area in which the student has demonstrated previous interest at Bowdoin.
While studying away, many students discover new avenues of research that lead to an independent study or honors project in the senior year; or they can simply apply their new skills and share their experience in regular Bowdoin coursework. Many students report, in fact, that the difficulties of reentry are mitigated by their being able to apply their new level of understanding in their work at Bowdoin. If you are thinking of doing an independent study or honors work upon return to Bowdoin, remember to talk to possible advisors and lay some of the groundwork before departure.
Off-campus study experience may also strengthen applications for graduate schools and scholarships. You are strongly recommended to investigate all these possibilities, but as with independent studies, you should discuss them with your advisors and campus contacts before departure; without previous planning you will find it very hard to make all the necessary plans and meet deadlines at the beginning of your senior year. Students interested in the health professions should consult Seth Ramus, Director of Health Professions Advising.
Seniors can apply for numerous national scholarships/fellowships that support graduate study and research-based travel experiences (e.g., Fulbright, Gates Cambridge, Churchill, Keasbey, Madison, Marshall, Mitchell, Mellon, National Science Foundation, Rhodes, Rotary, Soros, St. Andrews, Truman, and Watson). Consult with your advisor and the Office of Student Fellowships and Research before you leave to learn how your OCS experience can enhance the viability of your candidacy for these prestigious scholarships/fellowships. For example, you can learn about the educational system of the country where you are studying, establish an area of research, and make connections with academics who might write a recommendation for you.
A visit to the Career Planning Center before you leave will help you learn about and plan for internships and career options. Funded Summer Internships such as the Thomas A. McKinley ’06 Grant, the Robert S. Goodfriend Preston Public Interest Career Fund, and Nikuradse-Matthews have February deadlines and will support a summer project of your design. The CPC has a Career Advisory Network (BCAN) of over 1,400 volunteer alumni, both in the US and abroad, who are willing to be contacts for career and internship information.