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“We expect students to develop a broad understanding of the liberal arts while they are at Macalester.”
This sentence comes from Macalester’s Statement of Purpose and Belief. It’s a tall order, and on its face has nothing to do with off-campus study. And yet . . .
We believe that off-campus study, and especially study abroad, can fit the goals of a liberal arts education very well. Going back to their classical origin, the liberal arts were designed to free the mind and prepare the person for responsible citizenship, even leadership. Off-campus study can do this.
But let’s get back to “a broad understanding.” For this we commend to your attention an essay by Professor William Cronon of the University of Wisconsin-Madison entitled “‘Only Connect,’ the Goals of a Liberal Arts Education.” There is nothing in this essay about study abroad, and yet we believe you will quickly see the connections.