History of the iCharleston Program

iCharleston is a unique and innovative first-year international bridge program that encourages future College of Charleston first-year students to grow as individuals, develop an affinity for the College of Charleston, and actively engage in a high-impact educational experience within a supportive community emphasizing global citizenry through a holistic academic experience abroad. Started in 2014 with a small cohort of students (24 total), iCharleston provides enrollment opportunities to talented candidates interested in beginning their college career abroad. iCharleston partners with supportive institutions that offer excellent academic and programmatic offerings:

  • KELOWNA - University of British Columbia Okanagan (Top 35 ranked academic institution worldwide) 
  • LONDON & DUBLIN - Foundation for International Education (London-based organization offering first year programs since 1998; some of the 50 + current partners include American University, Drexel, Elon, Purdue, Northeastern, Winthrop)
  • ROME - American University of Rome (hosting students since 1969)

2015 saw an immense growth in the program to 62 students at all three locations. And, in 2016 another increase in program population occurred with iCharleston providing 78 students the opportunity to study abroad their first semester. A fourth site in Rome was added in fall 2019. As the program has grown on campus iCharleston alumni at various stages of their academic career are completing internships, being actively involved on campus through clubs and organizations, and have continued their study abroad plans through summer programs and semester length opportunities.  Now entering it's seventh year the iCharleston program is well established and nationally recognized as a strong international first year program.

iCharleston students return to campus after one semester and immediately transition successfully into the spring semester, living on campus and enrolling in classes like any other second semester freshman. Students are more comfortable with the challenges of post-secondary education through time abroad, make lifelong friends who matriculate with them into College of Charleston, and note they have a maturity from their first semester experience that increases their success on campus.

iCharleston Goals:

  • Ability to enroll and retain a cohort of capable students.
  • International exposure and relationship building through strong academic partnerships.
  • Gets more students thinking about going abroad as an education option.
  • Involve current faculty and administration in academic transition for participants.
  • Enhance all students’ classroom learning at the College of Charleston by injecting students into our learning environments with unique first semester experiences.