Smith and International Education

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at a conference in Madrid, Spain on Smith’s role in Spanish women’s educational development between 1900-1936.  Smith College, along with other women’s colleges primarily in the North, supported the work of the International Institute for Girls in Spain now known as the International Institute, beginning in the early 1890s.  Smith provided funds to the organization for salaries, scholarships, and operational costs.  Many faculty members went to teach there during their sabbatical year.  In some cases, they were instrumental in establishing laboratories for young Spanish women to recieve hands-on scientific training.  Alumnae often came to Madrid to work for the Institute. 

As part of my talk I mentioned that Smith has a long tradition of supporting international education.  Smith graduates have founded or supported a number of women’s colleges and schools throughout the world, including Kobe College in Japan; Ginling College in China; the American School in Constantinople, Turkey, and the Florentine School for Girls in Italy, in addition to the International Institute for Girls in Spain.  The College has carried out a global sense of mission for a long time by supporting these schools, the Junior Year Abroad program, and scholarships designed to bring foreign students to Smith to continue their education.  Current initiatives of the College such as the Women’s Education Worldwide, and the success of many Smith women to recieve Fulbright scholarships is a testament to the interest and success of Smith in the world.

For further information about international education at Smith within the records of the Smith College Archives see:


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