Experiential Programs

Experiential education is an important element of the K-Plan, with on-campus and off-campus opportunities in both domestic and international settings. Study abroad, study away through domestic programs, civic engagement, student research, internships and externships, career treks, and student activities and athletics are key curricular components of the K-Plan, and are supported by a variety of administrative departments on campus.

First-Year Experience

Kalamazoo College prides itself in its strong First-Year Experience (FYE) Program, which weaves together hands-on involvement, experiential learning, and mentorship within the context of a rigorous academic life. Key components of the program include Advising, First-Year Forums, First-Year Seminar, Peer Leaders, Residential Life, and Summer Common Reading.  With these pillars, the FYE helps K students to:

  • achieve academic success
  • identify and pursue passions
  • connect with Kalamazoo College and the greater Kalamazoo communities
  • construct complete intercultural understandings
  • develop a purpose-filled and balanced life

If you have any questions about FYE, please feel free to contact the Senior Associate Dean of Students 269.337.7209.

Center for Career and Professional Development

The mission of the Center for Career & Professional Development (CCPD) is to educate and empower Kalamazoo College students and alumni to discover their talents, build their professional networks, and apply their learning to meaningful lives after K. They serve the K community as the preeminent source for career discernment, preparation, and talent development.

To support students in their career development, the CCPD offers support for externships and internships in the summer months, and recruiting events, networking opportunities, and a variety of workshops in classes and at student organization meetings, and on- and off-campus events during the academic year. The CCPD’s staff also offers services including individual coaching appointments, peer advising, career assessment tools, résumé and cover letter critiques, and practice interviews.

Center for International Programs

Every study abroad program at Kalamazoo College is unique, but each offers challenging course work in an education system whose values and methods reflect those of the local culture, opportunities for integrative cultural experiences, and structured opportunities for using the local language(s) both in and out of the classroom. As the academic, language, and other specific qualifications differ from program to program, it is imperative that students carefully read the program descriptions and Study Abroad Policies and Procedures, available from the Center for International Programs (CIP).

Civic Engagement and Service-Learning

During their careers at K, about two thirds of all Kalamazoo College students are actively engaged in the greater Kalamazoo area through community-based courses, student-led co-curricular initiatives, and summer Community Based Internships. Through the nationally recognized Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement (CCE), established in 2001, and working in long-term, reciprocal partnerships, students are involved in public problem-solving and collaborative efforts to build a more equitable community. This takes place in over 20 different courses each year, and in ongoing programs that paid student Civic Engagement Scholars (CESs) lead and coordinate. Each week, about 200 K students work at community sites, through courses, volunteer activities, and through community federal work study –in fact, because of the many opportunities to work with public schools, the CCE is the largest student employer on campus! In the summer, the CCE offers six-week, fully-funded Community Based Internships in Kalamazoo with many of our partner organizations.

Our programs address issues such as health and educational equity, immigrant rights, prison reform, arts for social change, food justice, sustainability, and neighborhood and City of Kalamazoo development. With over 40 community organizations and grass-roots groups, students serve as scholar activists who conduct research and outreach; develop community gardens; make films; register voters; advocate for policy change; work with Kalamazoo Public School students; create health education materials; create stories, ceramics, visual arts, and poetry with community members; influence environmental practices; and more. We emphasize building long-term relationships that are transformational for individuals and communities; we respect and promote both student agency and community voice. All students involved with CCE programs, within courses or in student-led programs, engage in structured reflection in order to make critical connections between service and learning, theory and practice, the global and the local, and to integrate these experiences into their individualized “K Plans.” All of our programs foster civic, academic, and personal growth within a social justice framework, and offer plentiful opportunities for student leadership and collaboration with communities.

Domestic Study Away Programs

Kalamazoo College students who meet appropriate qualifications are eligible to apply for participation in a fine arts internship program in New York City, a fall quarter seminar at the Newberry Library in Chicago, a fall internship program based in Philadelphia or Washington D.C., or be part of a research project at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Students interested in study away programs should consult with the Center for International Programs.