Hands-On Learning in Religious Studies

Religious studies education goes beyond the confines of campus.

Here, we know that lessons learned in religious studies courses need to be practically applied both for career training as well as civic involvement, and so getting out into the community is crucial for intellectual and character growth. Students also enjoy opportunities to study abroad, where they can expand and apply their studies in exciting, real-world environments.

Students interested in traveling abroad through the Office of International Programs can have $2,000 of the trip paid for through the Global Poet Scholarship. To learn more about studying abroad, contact the Office of International Programs.

Temples and a forest in Bagan.Studying Abroad in Asia

In the heart of Myanmar, students stood in awe of the ancient city of Bagan, an unforgettable sight of more than 2,000 Buddhist monuments towering over a sea of green plains. The adventure was just one part of a class' recent journeyed across the Asian country, where they explored rural, sacred spaces, monasteries, and enormous temples, with a question in mind: where do environmental ethics intersect with religion?

Led by C. Milo Connick Chair of Religious Studies Jason Carbine, the Poets traveled alongside biology students to work together to create a fuller picture of the country, combining their science and humanities studies to see how everything is interconnected. Along the way, they observed the ways nature is represented in religious sites and interviewed people about the relationship between religion and environmentalism.

The short-term study abroad experience was part of a JanTerm course, a two-week, professor-led trip between the fall and spring semester. Students who have traveled to Myanmar bring their observations, interviews, and photographs back to Whittier to study further, and they have the option of presenting their findings at the annual presentation day for undergraduate research.

Many students were able to travel at a sizable discount, as well. The Global Poet Scholarship provides everyone with $2,000 to study abroad through the Office of International Programs.

Religious studies major Madison WellsPrepare for Your Future

Over the summer, Madison Wells studied Urdu, the official language of Pakistan, through the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s SALSI program (South Asia Summer Language Institute). The intensive program was four hours of class with six to eight hours of homework every night. Whittier had prepared her for success in SASLI’s rigorous training. Madison's professors in the religious studies department, including Jake Carbine and Rosemary Carbine, hold their students to a high standard.

“They expect you to be on top of your work, ask questions, and speak up when you don’t understand something,” Madison said. “And thankfully because of them and their classes, I was able to go in such an intensive course.”

Before she started learning the language, she was a complete beginner. By the end of the program, she was at a "beginner high." Knowing Urdu is beneficial to her because she's now able to talk to people from South Asia, where she would like to continue her studies as a graduate student, about Hinduism and Islam.

Internships

Whittier's location in Southern California, close to Los Angeles and Orange County, gives students internship opportunities that will help them gain crucial business training and experience valuable for their post-Whittier lives.

Industries ranging from entertainment to finance, aerospace to bioengineering, and more all call Southern California home. Merrill Lynch and First Heritage BankSony Pictures and New Line CinemaEMI Music Publishing, the J. Paul Getty MuseumA.B.S. Designs by Allen Schwartz, Southern California Edison, and Valvoline are just some of the places that our students have interned. Whittier students often travel further afield as they gain invaluable work experience, whether interning at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., the United Nations in Geneva, or the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.

Civic involvement is immensely important at Whittier College as well. Our Center for Engagement with Communities brings together faculty, students, and staff from all sectors of the College to partner with non-profit organizations and local government in Whittier and the neighboring communities.

Learn more about internships at the Weingart Center For Career And Professional Development. To locate volunteer opportunities in and around Whittier College, please visit the Center for Engagement with Communities.

Fellowships

Each year, Whittier students compete for and win scholarship and fellowship awards that help them attain financial support to actualize their college and post-college plans – whether those plans involve graduate school, international research, public service, or other career aspirations.

Whittier graduates have earned Rhodes Scholarships, Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowships, and several have become Fulbright awardees.

The Fellowships office is committed to helping student launch their search for internal, national, and international fellowships that meet their intellectual, professional, and personal goals. To find fellowships that match your interests, visit the fellowships website.