Global studies major fits well with others

Melissa Fose

Melissa Fose

Global studies is one of the newer majors offered at SDSU. Out of over 11,000 students on campus, only 60 are global studies majors. They may know something that the rest of us do not.

Program coordinator Nels Grandholm said the major is designed to teach students about two key concepts: intercultural competence and global citizenship.

Intercultural competence means that students will learn to relate and respect cultures across the globe. Grandholm said that people from different cultures do the same things, but in different ways according to tradition.

When a person embraces his or her global citizenship, he or she is taking into account what solution would be the best for everyone living on Earth. Good global citizens look at the big picture instead of what would work best for themselves.

Sophomore global studies, Spanish and pre-mortuary science major Kaylee Mundwiler compares global citizenship to a version of the common game “Connect the Dots.”

“A global citizen needs to connect the dots, but the dots keep changing,” she said.

Many global studies majors have more than one major and a couple of minors. Suzanne Roth, a junior global studies, microbiology and pre-med major, describes this flexibility as one of the best features of the major.

“One has the opportunity to pursue double majors or a variety of minors, depending on where your interests lie,” said Roth.

The Sioux Falls native is pursuing minors in French, political science, biology and chemistry.

“Any number of [majors] can fit in with the global studies major,” said Roth.

The global studies major involves up to 37 credit hours of free electives in order to build a major within students’ interests.

One exciting feature of global studies is the requirement for a cross-cultural experience. Students who dream of studying abroad will be able to include this experience within their major.

The cross-cultural experience can involve a full-time study abroad program for one semester, an internship or volunteer service-learning project for one semester, a modern language immersion program or a study abroad seminar or travel program with orientation before and after the trip.

“SDSU does a great job at making the shorter trips as good as they can be ? to really get a student integrated into the culture in the short time they have there,” said Roth.

After going to West Africa with Grandholm, Roth was compelled to add global studies to her college education.

She believes that global studies students have a distinct advantage over others entering the workforce.

Global studies majors develop a “much broader world view; regardless of what you chose to do, your future employers are going to look at this,” said Roth. “Intercultural experiences are critical.”

“As a global studies major, one doesn’t fall into the trap of ending up in a job you don’t enjoy,” said Roth.

Mundwiler hopes to join the Peace Corps. Trifon Theodosopoulos, a freshman from Brookings, wants to combine his global studies and history double major into a job working overseas in Europe.

“My ultimate goal is to be surgeon general of the United States or something along those lines ? so I can emphasize the global studies part as well as my medical interest,” Roth said.

Approximately five students have graduated with a global studies degree since its start in the summer of 2004. They have taken a variety of career paths, from heading to graduate school to joining the Peace Corps.

Grandholm hopes to add two courses to the global studies program in the future. One course would involve reading novels throughout the semester, each focusing on a different culture. In the other course, students would learn about global governments, such as the International Criminal Court.

Many of the global studies majors have a “very broad interest in the world,” according to Grandholm,.”All are searching for meaning in the world.”

For more information on the global studies program, log on to

#1.882556:2700656578.jpg:globalstudies_JN.jpg:The Global Studies Program at SDSU encourages students to study abroad in countries around the world through several opportunities that SDSU offers. This poster, found in the NFA, illustrates the several study abroad programs offered in the summer of 2008.: