Unique cultural education program marks 10th anniversary at William Woods University

“Woods Around The World” has exposed more than 400 WWU travelers to world cultures and historic journeys, on all seven continents, since 2008


If there is one university that can promise its students “the World,” it is William Woods University (WWU).

2018 marks the 10-year anniversary of a WWU short-term study abroad program that is unique in higher education. “Woods Around The World” is a cultural education program with a service component that has allowed more than 400 William Woods travelers to venture to the far corners of the earth to experience other world cultures. Since 2008, Woods Around The World has literally put William Woods University “on the map,” taking students to all seven of the world’s continents and to a wide array of countries around the globe, including Cuba, Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and Argentina, as well as destinations in Europe, the Middle East and South America. The latest Woods Around The World trip, to India, just returned on March 9.

WATW Italy

“At William Woods, we view education as a journey of discovery, and that the best journeys are fed by a curiosity in the world around us,” said Travis Tamerius, Chaplain and Director of the Center for Ethics and Global Studies at William Woods University. “Woods Around The World is a unique approach to education that takes the student beyond the classroom and the textbook and into the real world of another culture – out of a classroom of walls and into the classroom of the world.”

WATW South Dakota

Woods Around The World began as a global studies class that culminates in a week spent in the nation or culture that the class is studying. The first such trip was to Peru in 2008, and the program has grown to include trips to every continent in the past decade. And the program doesn’t limit the trips to exotic locations; historic journeys have included a 2009 trip throughout the American South to educate students about the Civil Rights Movement; a 2010 excursion to Eastern Europe designed to deepen visitors’ understanding of the Holocaust, and five trips to perform service at a Native American reservation in South Dakota.


“Our destinations make this program more unique than standard study abroad programs at other universities,” said Tamerius. “How many college students get the opportunity to travel to some of the most inaccessible locations on the planet, like Cuba or Antarctica?”

“Woods Around The World is one of the best examples of how we are dedicated to the education of the student both inside and outside the classroom during their time here at William Woods,” said Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett, president of William Woods University. “During the past decade, this remarkable program has met its goal of getting students interested in a story other than their own, which is a hallmark of global travel and experiencing foreign cultures.”

And while students learn about and prepare to see a fascinating part of the world as part of Woods Around The World, they also give back to their local communities.


A service-based scholarship program called Project 123 was established five years ago to make it easier for students to afford the travel. Under Project 123, students complete 123 hours of community service in return for a substantial financial stipend to participate. Created with the generous help of university donors, Project 123 has allowed William Woods students to serve their communities by performing thousands hours of community service, through activities such as caring for animals in shelters; conducting river cleanups; serving in soup kitchens; mentoring the young, and aiding the mentally and physically challenged, among other activities.

Learn more about the Woods Around the World program