International Initiatives

Since its founding in 1902, Simmons SLIS has trained over 600 international students from more than 80 countries. International students study at SLIS each year, and SLIS students, faculty, and staff are engaged in international activities. These include research, teaching and learning, and service. An archive of blog posts chronicling these experiences from 2006-2014 can be found on Dispatches from the Field.

Many of our international alumni have become major leaders in library and information science. Some even have been cultural pioneers, founding the first libraries and library schools in Mexico and Africa, or establishing important professional organizations. All have furthered international librarianship and been agents of change.

Past opportunities for study abroad have taken students and professors to ParisRome, and Nicaragua. In 2014, SLIS students and professors traveled to Paris for a two week Study Abroad session. Students stayed and took classes at the St. John's University Paris campus. Professor Jim Matarazzo taught LIS 414 Special Libraries and Associate Professor Gerald Benoit taught LIS 470 Visual Communication. Students explored notable cultural and information institutions in the afternoons. In 2013, St. John's University Division of Library & Information Science hosted 20 SLIS students and two SLIS professors on the St. John's University - Rome campus. Students stayed on the St. John’s - Rome campus, located in the heart of the city. There, they took LIS 470 Visual Communication taught by Associate Professor Gerald Benoit and LIS 493 Intellectual Freedom and Censorship taught by Assistant Professor Laura Saunders. The courses were bolstered by field trips to library institutions, including a tour of a UN library.

Currently, SLIS students can study abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. Since 2009, SLIS has been nurturing an exchange program with Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. Students from SLIS study abroad in Seoul while students from Yonsei visit SLIS to study on our Boston campus. Additionally, SLIS offers credit for some international travel courses at other schools.


During the 2006 IFLA conference in Seoul, Korea, Dean Emerita Michèle Cloonan and Dr. Jee Yeon Lee, formerly director of the LIS program at Yonsei University, first discussed the possibility of a partnership. Since 2008, Simmons and Yonsei have offered joint summer courses. In 2009, Simmons students went to Yonsei, and the first Yonsei students came to Boston to study at Simmons University, as part of the dual degree program between Simmons GSLIS and Yonsei-LIS. In Summer 2015, Yonsei students traveled to Simmons to take a summer course alongside Simmons students. The two universities will alternate between visiting and hosting each other every year.

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