In countless ways, a Trinity education is an international one. We learn about other cultures through our peers, our coursework, and our studies in foreign countries. A global outlook is one of the many tools we take with us as we join the ranks of Tiger alumni. Through these pages, discover the Trinity programs, experiences, and people who continue to share their international education with the world.
Go abroad with us.
Faculty-led study abroad allows students to learn directly from a Trinity professor while immersed in a new environment. Students earn academic credit with a corresponding letter grade.
Each program is designed so that all tours, excursions, and destination visits reinforce concepts from the coursework. Programs will each have separate applications and their own timelines and procedures for notifying students about their acceptance. Some programs have rolling admission while others have firm, set deadlines. For certain faculty-led programs, students will enroll in a course prior to departure, while others will only attend a few pre-departure meetings.
Being an American overseas for nearly 22 years has diversified my friendships, influenced my worldview, and enriched my teaching. I think everyone should live at least temporarily as a foreigner to complete their education!
Become a Madrileño
The oldest faculty-led study abroad program takes students to Madrid, Spain’s capital city. Summer 2015 marked the 10th anniversary of the Madrid Summer Program, where students spend six weeks interning at a Spanish company and taking a course taught by Trinity faculty. Only Spanish is spoken during the internship and complementary course. Course topics include the European Union, the Spanish economy, the Spanish financial crisis, and Spanish history, art, and culture.
Bladimir Ruiz, associate professor of Spanish, has guided the program as director since 2009. Ruiz calls the program a unique opportunity for all Trinity students who desire to develop their professional expertise in a foreign country using a second language.
“For me, the whole idea has been to make this program a Trinity program,” Ruiz says. “It is not just a modern languages program or a business program, but a Trinity program designed to serve any student majoring in any field.”
Aside from the internship and course components, students also participate in cultural activities, from plays, tapas crawls, and the ballet to movies, wine tastings, and the famed Madrid nightlife. All students live with host families, pre-screened by Trinity. Students regularly call the Madrid Summer Program a transformative, confidence-building adventure.
To experience life outside the capital city, the Madrid Summer Program takes weekend trips to Toledo, Segovia, and El Escorial.
High on a hill above the plains of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo is known for its medieval Jewish, Arab, and Christian monuments. It is also the former home of the artist El Greco.
Northwest of Madrid, Segovia claims the Alcázar of Segovia, a Gothic cathedral, and one of the best preserved Roman aqueducts on the Iberian Peninsula.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, El Escorial is a historical royal residence of the King of Spain. It contains both a royal monastery and La Granjilla de La Fresneda, a hunting lodge and park.
Tigers also have the option to pursue experiential learning opportunities while studying abroad. Similar to the Madrid Summer Program, Trinity students have the ability to gain valuable work experience through the Shanghai Summer Program.
China’s Financial Hub
Entering its fifth year, the Shanghai Summer Program enrolls students in a two-week course on contemporary China before they begin one-month internships with businesses in Shanghai. A partnership with Jiao Tong University brings Trinity and Chinese students together in the same classroom.
Dante Suarez, professor of finance, has taught with the Shanghai Summer Program on a course titled Comparative Views of Modern China. The course challenges Trinity students to compare their preconceived ideas of China with the reality of their surroundings. “This program allows students to study the culture, economics, and politics of China within the context of the country,” Suarez says. “This program is the best educational experience I have been a part of.”
In addition to their internships, students travel with Trinity faculty to Beijing and Hangzhou. Students regularly call the program one of the most impactful experiences of their academic careers and say it transformed their understanding of the relationship between the U.S. and China. Students also engage in cultural activities like museum visits, Tai Chi classes, calligraphy lessons, and demonstrations in traditional Chinese medicine.
Heading east, students may also find experiential learning opportunities in Beijing (left; photo by Ingrid Harb '16) and Hong Kong (right; photo by Avantika Krishna t15).
I didn’t know what to expect when I got to Shanghai, and, in a way, I had no expectations set — not because I didn’t want to be disappointed if I had set them too high, but because I wanted to clear my mind when I left Texas and be absolutely open to everything Shanghai threw at me. I never could have imagined a better experience. I was able to adapt to this new city with a clear mind and open arms.
Taste of Shanghai
Join more than 24 million Shanghai residents and eat like a local with these three delicious Shanghai street foods.
Savor XIAO LONG BAO, or soup dumplings, filled with ground pork, a dash of ginger, and soaked in a rich pork stock soup. The dumpling skins are transparent, yet strong enough to lock in the hearty and fragrant soup flavors.
Located at the cross of the Yangtze River Delta and the Yellow Sea, Shanghai is famous for its eel dishes. SHANSI LENG MIAN, or eel noodles, combines fine wheat noodles served cold with vinegar, sesame sauce, and hot eel cooked in ginger and soy.
Do not miss GUO TIE, or fried pork dumplings, that are filled with pork, ginger, Shaoxing wine, garlic, sesame oil, and salt. Guo tie are eaten with miniature chopsticks from small, rectangular Styrofoam trays.
Nicaragua and Dominica
Through service-oriented study abroad, Trinity students tap into their altruistic roots. Topics like health care, education, and the environment know no geographical boundaries. Students are able to apply their academic interests to two faculty-led study abroad programs that take place during Spring Break each year.
On a field trip to Nicaragua, students visit with people organizing grassroots projects addressing the causes of environmental degradation, human illness, and death. This case study complements an international studies course titled International Issues in Health and the Environment.
Students also have the option to participate in an alternative spring break trip to The Commonwealth of Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean. Students spend the week volunteering at a school for children with special needs and will apply coursework about international development and childhood education.
It is hard to believe that more than five years have passed since I traveled with Trinity to Dominica as a part of Alternative Spring Break. In Dominica, our group volunteered at the Alpha Centre, a facility for children with mental disabilities. I still remember how excited they were as they welcomed us with handshakes and high fives.
In addition to the jaw-dropping natural beauty of the island, I also remember meeting Dominica’s Prime Minister. When I asked him what he considered to be the strongest attribute of his people, he responded with, “Our resilience.” He explained that Dominicans do their best with what they have, both in times of economic security and insecurity. I was impressed with his eloquence and sincerity, and I thought his spirit reflected the brightness and genuine nature of the Dominicans we met throughout the trip.
Volunteering in Dominica as a member of the Trinity Alternative Spring Break team is an experience that I will always treasure.
—Paige Patrick '14
My volunteer internship in Nicaragua in 2013 greatly increased my appreciation for the value of education. Working with underprivileged children in underfunded schools made me even more appreciative of how fortunate I am to have had access to such quality education throughout my life. Living abroad has introduced me to a variety of different lifestyles and has inspired me to pursue a life of adventure and discovery.
Modern Medical Relief
Trinity students provide modern medical care to underprivileged families through the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC). Each year, the Trinity FIMRC chapter travels to Nicaragua to volunteer and learn about global health.
Julian Burgos ’17 serves as president of FIMRC and is responsible for organizing the annual trip to Nicaragua. He learned about the organization during the Trinity student involvement fair, held during new student orientation. Burgos, a biology major from Guadalajara, Mexico, has interned and volunteered with FIMRC in Limón, Nicaragua, and Huancayo, Peru.
Burgos says both trips have reaffirmed his desire to become a doctor and underscore the importance of practical experience.
“You learn things that cannot be found in books,” Burgos says. “You see things on experiences like these that nobody can explain to you. You have to be there to witness it.”
Over winter break in 2013, Burgos worked in the impoverished village of Limón, testing patients’ glucose levels and their vitals, observing a pediatrician at work, giving presentations about high blood pressure, meeting with local healers, and more. Burgos said this trip focused on preventive care and opened his eyes to the effects of infrastructure on medical care.
As president of Trinity’s FIMRC chapter, he is also responsible for recruiting new members and setting fundraising goals. In the past, funding for the trip has come from the MAS program.
Burgos says the most important requirement for an FIMRC trip is a strong interest in global health or public health. And while it is not necessary, Burgos says the ability to speak the local language enhances the overall experience.
In the future, Burgos plans to open his own sustainable clinic in a small village or town, most likely in Central or South America. He says helping is something that comes from the heart and that being able to simultaneously aid and learn is what made those experiences unique.
“These experiences make you value your health, all the things you have, and how you live,” Burgos says. “You learn so much by helping others and that is what I have valued the most.”
Traditional study abroad at Trinity pairs each student with a program or foreign institution that is compatible with their academic, personal, and professional goals.
With the Office of Study Abroad, students research programs and identify courses that complement their Trinity degree. Every Trinity student receives individual attention when it comes to selecting their study abroad destination and what program best fits their specific needs. More than 45 percent of students study abroad before graduation, whether in a summer term, a semester, or a full year abroad.
Historically, the most popular destinations for Trinity students include:
- New Zealand
- People's Republic of China
- South Africa
- The United Kingdom
Oh, the Places We'll Go!
Lake Marian, New Zealand
photo by Amanda Eng ’14
Parque Nacional Laguna del Laja, Central Chile
photo by Megan Stewart ’15
photo by Oluwamayowa Akindele ’15
photo by Beatrice Roman ’15
I can now drink a proper whisky (try Auchentoshan if you are looking for a nice lowland whisky without too much peat), cook a full Scottish breakfast (haggis and all), dance confidently at a ceilidh, understand the phrase “Awa’ an bile yer heid” and use it competently, rock a kilt, throw a bit of banter, and glow like a vampire from my perpetual lack of vitamin D. Scotland is a fierce place with a fierce people, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences here for the world.
Study Abroad Essentials
Although almost everyone’s phone doubles as a camera these days, study abroad is a great excuse to invest in a nice point-and-shoot camera to document your travels.
Miles of cobblestone streets, sidewalks, or dirt roads await you, so a pair of comfortable walking shoes is an absolute must.
Study abroad alumni will tell you that time flies and your experience will be over faster than you know it. Bring a journal to record meals, memories, and thoughts that you will undoubtedly treasure years down the road.
Planes, particularly the budget airline variety you’ll likely be patronizing, tend to charge for those checked bags. Pack a backpack for weekend travels and use it as a carry-on.
It is a small gesture, but take a souvenir from your home state to give to your host family or future roomies as a token of thanks. Many study abroad veterans have formed lifelong bonds with their host families and roommates.