International studies

International studies

Majoring in international studies provides a springboard to careers in a variety of fields. Graduates have gone on to become language workshop coordinators, bilingual customer service representatives and graduate students in international communication. The major allows you to study other cultures in depth.

International studies is an interdisciplinary major which develops international understanding of historical and contemporary world issues through basic coursework in international issues, a focus on a particular world region, proficiency in a foreign language and study abroad. The program seeks to encourage cross-cultural sensitivity and emphasizes the interrelatedness of cultural, linguistic, political, social, economic, environmental and aesthetic issues in a particular region of the world. Students choose to pursue the West European, Latin American, East Asian or African studies track of the major and are assigned to an area studies director to plan their programs.

The Real World


Successful Careers

  • English teacher and translator, Idiomas Milagros, Leon, Spain
  • Family development specialist, Hispanic Educational Resources, Des Moines
  • Program director, Reading Is Fundamental, Austin, Texas
  • Graduate student in Latin American studies, University of New Mexico
  • U.S. Embassy employee, Beijing and Chongqing
  • English First representative, Urumuchi, China
  • Ambassador to Niger, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.


International studies students may be interested in joining Central's Culture Club and Coalition for Multicultural Campus (CMCC). No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group or organization for you. Learn how you can get involved with groups and organizations on campus. 

Jordan Saddoris

Jordan Saddoris

"I travel to Africa two to three times a year with a non-profit."

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Graduate Placement

Majors go on to graduate school in a number of fields, studying language, culture, government, education and more. 


International studies students also gain experience through internships that prepare them for future employment or entrance into graduate school.

Courses & Faculty

Within the international studies major, each track offers an array of courses designed to grow cultural understanding. Courses are available across disciplines such as anthropology, history, politics, literature, art, business and linguistics.

Learn more about international studies in the course catalog.

International studies photo
Meet the faculty:
  • Allison Krogstad, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Spanish, interest areas include Latin American studies, indigenous studies, Latin American literature, colonial studies, creative writing and service learning
  • Chia Ning, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of History, interest areas include Chinese and East Asian history, with publications specializing in the Qing imperial administration to non-Chinese regions in Inner Asia (Manchuria, Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Tibet), China's frontier history, women in China's frontier relationships, China's minority nationalities and Asian-American studies in relation to Asian studies
  • Jim Zaffiro, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, interest areas include international relations, African studies and global sustainability

Sample Schedule

First year
  • Language courses
  • Core courses and electives
Sophomore year
  • Language courses
  • Core courses and/or electives
  • Study abroad
Junior year
  • Focus-area courses
  • Study abroad
  • Core courses and/or electives
Senior year
  • Focus-area courses
  • Senior language seminar
  • Core courses and/or electives

The Central Difference

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to study abroad with Central College to enhance their development as global citizens. Academic opportunities and internship programs also are available in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.


The Weller Center for Business and International Studies houses faculty offices and classrooms for the economics, accounting, business management and modern language departments. The $3.9-million building was completed in 1999 and includes state-of-the-art technologies and a very energy efficient design, including solar panels on the roof. There is a 24-hour computer lab on the main floor and eight high-tech classrooms, two of which contain student computers.

Central College has an interactive computer language lab, which can be used by classes and individual students to supplement traditional methods of language learning located in the Weller Center. This lab has 26 student computer stations and a teacher station, with which teachers can organize a variety of conversational activities such as telephone, conference groups and written chat groups. The system allows for use of both digital and analog sound recordings for student listening activities and recording the voices of multiple students at one time.

Learn More

Want to find out more about international studies at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs. Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.