Go beyond the typical undergraduate experience and explore, learn and work professionally in the international world.

To help meet the challenge of an increasingly global society, Connecticut College launched the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts (CISLA) in 1989.

The CISLA Mission: To create global citizens who are culturally sensitive, politically and socially motivated and intellectually engaged. As one of the interdisciplinary academic centers, CISLA offers Connecticut College students the opportunity to prepare for the international world of today and tomorrow.

The following three questions form the theoretical framework of the CISLA experience:

  • What are the origins and dynamics of contemporary society?
  • What is the relevance of the past in understanding the present and the possibilities of the future?
  • What are the material, spiritual and ethical challenges of modernity?

The CISLA Experience: Year by Year

First-Years are encouraged to learn about CISLA and come to a variety of information sessions scheduled throughout the year. Students interested in applying to CISLA should be studying a language during their first year at Conn College. 

Sophomores formally apply to our Center and are admitted to CISLA during the fall of their sophomore year. Once named CISLA scholars, they begin their CISLA journey in the spring semester with a gateway course designed exclusively for CISLA students, "Perspectives on Modern Global Society."

Juniors continue to work towards reaching a certain level of oral proficiency in a world language, take courses on the origins and dynamics of contemporary society, complete critical professional skills workshops and focus on one region of the world and its culture.

The summer after the junior year, senior CISLA scholars complete a funded summer internship in their country of focus, using their languages of study, in fields related to their proposed senior research subjects.

Here are just a few examples of exciting internships that CISLA helped make a reality:

  • Study law and civil society in Russia
  • Explore the politics of medicine in China
  • Organize classes on health and nutrition for women in Venezuela
  • Work on an ad campaign for the Catholic Church in an agency in Italy
  • Participate in a campaign for the eradication of the guinea worm in Niger
  • Measure the environmental effects of pollution in Martinique

Seniors complete a Senior Seminar and integrative research project that explores an international issue related to the student's major field, internship experience, and world language and culture studied.

Requirements for the CISLA Certificate

  • Certification of world language oral proficiency by ACTFL (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages)
  • Completion of all CISLA-required courses and workshops
  • Completion of the 8-12 week international internship
  • Completion of a Senior Integrative Project directed by a faculty member with a grade of B+ or higher